Trick 'R Treat: 11 Thoughts I Had Rewatching The Halloween-Set Anthology Movie

Quinn Lord in Trick 'r Treat
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Everyone has Halloween traditions that they uphold year after year, whether they are common — such as carving jack-o-lanterns — or more personal — such as watching Trick ‘r Treat. The latter is one of my own personal traditions because I consider writer and director Michael Dougherty’s 2007 cult favorite to be one of the greatest horror movies ever made for how it celebrates the importance of upholding these traditions in ways both spooky and hilarious. Just in time for Halloween, I revisited this Pulp Fiction-style horror anthology classic for what might be the fifth or sixth time (I honestly lost count) and thought I would treat you with what went on in my head.

Sam's lollipop from Trick 'r Treat

(Image credit: Legendary Pictures)

Sam Has The Greatest Murder Weapon In Horror Movie History

Leatherface may stand out among the other iconic horror movie slashers with his chainsaw, but none have a tool of choice nearly as unique as the partially eaten, jack-o-lantern shaped lollipop that Sam (Quinn Lord) uses on Leslie Bibb’s character, Emma, for taking down her Halloween decorations too early. Of course, I do not necessarily think of the young, half-human, half-pumpkin hybrid as the real villain of Trick ‘r Treat (we’ll get to him next), but a heroic (or anti-heroic, at least) mascot for the holiday out to protect all that it stands for, which is why I own my replica of his iconic prop.

Dylan Baker in Trick 'r Treat

(Image credit: Legendary)

Wilkins’ Speech About Dwindling Enthusiasm For Halloween Really Hits Home For Me

The real villain of Trick ‘r Treat is, undoubtedly, Steven Wilkins (Dylan Baker), but there is one moment I almost found myself empathizing with the demented school principal when he talks about how “nowadays, no one really cares” about most Halloween traditions and how they were started out of respect for the dead. It reminds me of how I saw far fewer trick-or-treaters roaming the streets and Halloween decorations put up in my own neighborhood the older I got, which was really disappointing to see. Perhaps that is part of why a movie that celebrates the holiday as strongly as this is so important to me.

Brett Kelly and Dylan Baker in Trick 'r Treat

(Image credit: Legendary)

This Movie Also Works As Kind Of A Dark Halloween Safety PSA

Any fan of Trick ‘r Treat knows the movie offers as much of a spooky, fun time as it does some very valuable lessons about Halloween — such as “always check your candy,” which Wilkins only reminds Charlie (Brett Kelly from Bad Santa -- another comedy classic revolving around a certain holiday) about after the poor kid realizes (through some grisly projectile regurgitation) that this adult gave him a poisoned candy bar. There is also another moment when a woman attacked by Wilkins (disguised as a vampire) has her calls for help ignored because people assume it is a trick. It kind of makes me want to be more mindful next time I see someone acting stranger on Halloween in case it is more than an act.

Dylan Baker wields a knife behind an unsuspecting Connor Levins in Trick 'r Treat.

(Image credit: Warner Bros/Legendary)

Wait, Did Wilkins Kill His Wife?

You could argue that the death of this single father’s unseen wife is what drove him into a homicidal rage in the first place, but from the way he mocks his son, Billy (Connor Christopher Levins), for wishing his mom was still alive, it sounds to me like he already wanted her out of the picture. Not to mention, we also discover that the younger Wilkins has a bit of a dark side, too, which could be a naturally inherited character trait.

Brian Cox in Trick 'r Treat

(Image credit: Legendary)

There Are So Many Great Jack-O-Lantern Design Ideas In This Movie

It is such a heartwarming sight to see how much effort is put into the decor in Trick ‘r Treat, especially in the jack-o-lantern designs, of which there are a so many to take inspiration from — many of which can be seen in the front of yards of Rhonda (Samm Todd) and, later, Mr. Kreeg (Brian Cox). I have actually carved a few inspired by the film myself — one based on the flaming pumpkin Sam plants in Kreeg’s house and another based on Sam himself.

A kid in a Dracula mask sits on the school bus in Trick 'r Treat.

(Image credit: Warner Bros/Legendary)

There Are Also So Many Great Halloween Costume Ideas On Display Here

Sam has also become a pretty popular costume over the years, but he is not the only one. In fact, I have noticed in my many annual trips to Halloween stores that Trick ‘r Treat’s iconography has turned many familiar and simple costume ideas — such as a vampire mask with the bottom mouth cut out or a brown bunny mask — into something so recognizable and sought after, which I find quite touching.

Samm Todd in Trick 'r Treat

(Image credit: Legendary)

Rhonda Is The Most Underrated Character

It actually was not until this re-watch when I realized that Rhonda is my favorite Trick ‘r Treat character outside of Sam and I think it is time her importance to the film is fully recognized. From her exceptional pumpkin carving skills to her long-winded history lesson about the origins of Halloween (which she even refers to by its original name of “Samhain”), she is the only other person in the movie who shows a true passion for the holiday and devotion to upholding its traditions.

Anna Paquin looks snarky as she costume shops with her friends in Trick 'r Treat.

(Image credit: Warner Bros/Legendary)

I Love How The Werewolf Twist Is Given Away In Plain Sight So Many Times

Probably the scariest and most memorable moment in Trick ‘r Treat is when you find out that Laurie (Academy Award winner Anna Paquin), her sister Danielle (Lauren Lee Smith) and their friends Janet (Moneca Delain) and Maria (Rochelle Aytes) are werewolves — a reveal that is actually given away multiple times throughout the film. In fact, the characters hint at it in their first scene when as they refer to their potential dates as “fresh meat” or later when Danielle describes Laurie as the “runt of the litter” when they were younger. The subtly in the dialogue is so brilliantly on point.

Anna Paquin in Trick 'r Treat

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Trick ‘R Treat Has The Best Use Of A Eurythmics Cover By Marilyn Manson Ever

There may not be any other examples of a Eurythmics cover by Marilyn Manson, but you have to admit that the grungy 1995 rendition of the 1983 new wave hit contributes to one of the best musical moments in horror movie history in how perfectly it accompanies the werewolf transformation scene. That version of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” has since become a favorite of mine and a welcome addition to my personally curated Halloween playlist, “Rocktober.”

Brian Cox in Trick ‘r Treat

(Image credit: Legendary)

This Is Brian Cox’s Most Underrated Performance

I have heard plenty of admiration for Brian Cox for his dual Emmy-nominated role as Logan Roy on HBO’s Succession and for originating Hannibal Lecter on screen in 1986’s Manhunter, but because I have never seen either of those, Mr. Kreeg in Trick ‘r Treat remains my favorite performance of his. The Scottish veteran is so hilariously boisterous and almost charmingly crotchety as a curmudgeon who learns a lesson in respecting Halloween from Sam. 

Scene from Trick 'r Treat

(Image credit: Legendary)

This Is Truly The Ultimate Halloween Movie

I could go -- and think I already have gone -- on and on here about how much I appreciate this love letter to my favorite holiday, which is why it is my favorite film set on Halloween. Now, I still consider John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher classic, Halloween, to be the best in that category, but it does not capture the essence of the season nearly as well as Trick ‘r Treat does with its childlike whimsy, tongue-in-cheek use of the macabre, and even a dose of sexiness. Even with how dark this R-rated scary movie can get, it still has the power to make me feel like a young trick-or-treater all over again.

I was excited to see that, after 15 years, the originally straight-to-video Trick ‘r Treat was finally receiving a theatrical release at some theaters for Halloween 2022, but also could not help but wonder about the status of the long, long-awaited sequel. Well, according to recent comments by Michael Dougherty, he and Legendary are working on Trick ‘r Treat 2 as we speak, meaning that the legacy of the cult favorite could end up lasting beyond the first one after all. Here is to hoping that this treat is no trick this time.

Jason Wiese
SEO Team Writer

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.