A Halloween Night

Editted: After Hobgoblin’s much welcomed addition below, I needed to edit this one for accuracy.

I have an unwritten rule about Halloween viewing. Okay, now that I’m writing it down for you, I guess that makes it a written rule. In any case, here it is: Halloween viewing should be Halloween-oriented. You shouldn’t just watch any scary movie or show, like Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street. Those movies and shows can be watched at any time of the year. In fact, I think they’re better in the summer (or in the case of Friday the 13th, better on Friday the 13th). No, at Halloween you should watch movies and shows that specifically reference Halloween or have Halloween elements in them, movies and shows like Trick R Treat, A Disney Halloween, and It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Oddly enough, the most Halloween-oriented movie there, John Carpenter’s Halloween, breaks this rule. As the movie progresses, we see that the folks in Haddonfield are watching three movies that fateful 1978 Halloween night (note: Annie mentions that there would be a “six hour” horror movie marathon, which in TV time with commercials would be three movieso). Those movies are The Thing From Another World and Forbidden Planet (as we see in the original) and Night of the Living Dead (as we see in Halloween 2, which takes place on the same night).

As you probably noticed, none of these movies are Halloween-oriented. The first two aren’t even horror films but rather sci-fi, and Forbidden Planet is more thrilling than scary.

Now on one hand, this fills me with disgust as it violates my Halloween viewing rule. I can almost understand NOTLD, but why would you waste Halloween watching sci-fi movies? However, it also gives us an interesting opportunity. If we owned these three movies (as I do), and if we wanted to do something unusual this October 31st, we could have a “Halloween” night. On this night we would watch not Halloween movies nor even Halloween movies but the movies the folks from Haddonfield watched on Halloween. We could start with The Thing From Another World, then move to Forbidden Planet, and close with Night of the Living Dead. In that way, we’d be replicating the night Michael came home. At least we’d be replicating the TV part of it anyway. And if you threw in a jack o’latern, some popcorn, and two kids who keep seeing something outside, it might be the scariest Halloween night of all.


Doug is a child of the 80s who was raised in Ohio and is now living the life of oblivion in the bay area of California.

Latest posts by Doug (see all)

Never Miss an Episode

Stay up-to-date on the latest from the Retroist Podcast. Sign up and receive email notifications when there's a new episode of the Retroist Podcast or when we launch new podcasts.
* indicates required

8 thoughts on “A Halloween Night

  1. That’s it! That’s the third I thought I had seen. I just watched them back to back, so when I searched for “what movies did they watch in Halloween”, Halloween 2 naturally wasn’t included, even though I thought I saw a third. So that’s the third, that makes the six hours (TV time with commercials), and that should be the final movie in the marathon.

    Also, love Hobgoblin. Best Spidey villian ever.

  2. plcary says:

    Good point Doug. I always watch all of the Halloween movies except the Rob Zombie ones, Trick R Treat has quickly become a favorite and I also watch a ton of Halloween cartoons and tv specials. October is a full month!

  3. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Great choices for Halloween marathon-movie watching.

    Though I’d be peeking out my window constantly, in fear of masked knife-wielding stalkers who were coming home.

  4. TheSixMillionDollarJedi says:

    Wasn’t Halloween the first theatrical film to be about the holiday? I thought some of the makers of the movie have said that in documentaries. I can’t remember. There really wasn’t much to choose from for the characters to watch in the context of the movie.

    I think the holiday gets features more in TV episodes rather than theatrical films.

    Monster House is also set at Halloween. It’s not retro yet but I like that movie.

    There is a new one coming out Oct. 26 titled Fun Size and it looks stupid. It’s a babysitting-gone-wrong movie set during Halloween.

  5. Yeah, that’s certainly true about the dearth of Halloween material at that time. Still, there was Disney’s Sleepy Hollow and the Great Pumpkin.

    Just saw a poster for Fun Size when I went to PA4 tonight. Think I’ll pass, though the Halloweenishness is attractive.

  6. Great idea for a Halloween night marathon! For me it’s usually Halloween followed by Two and Three on the 31st. One year I changed it up and watched Four and Five. Another year I watched The Wicker Man (original), along with Halloween III and George A. Romero’s Season of the Witch.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.