It’s that time of year again when the days are shorter, nights are darker, and there’s a chill in the air. Oh, and it’s also Halloween time. As you prepare for the spookiest and kookiest of all holidays, you are probably trying to find as many ways to spend your evenings and weekends as you prepare your costume, decorations, and decide which candy you will leave out for all those trick-or-treaters. Well, you’ll be glad to learn that there are dozens upon dozens of Halloween movies on HBO Max that range from mildly scary to those that make you lock your doors, check the windows, and maybe even sleep with a bat (or Bible) under your pillow.
Below is a collection of some of the best options to choose from, whether you are looking for terrifying horror movies or Halloween episodes of classic TV shows that call HBO Max home right now…
Not So Scary Options
Okay, so you want to watch something to get you in the Halloween mood but your kids are still awake, or you have a low threshold for thrills and chills. Well, fear not, you easily scared ghoul, as there are currently plenty of not so scary options on HBO Max. With multiple kid-friendly horror movies and Halloween-themed episodes of classic shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Friends, and other sitcoms from the streaming service’s vast library, there’s plenty to choose from this year…
The Witches (1990)
The 1990 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s dark fantasy novel, The Witches follows Luke Eveshim (Jasen Fisher) as he spends a summer at an English hotel, which also happens to be the location of a meeting of witches who want one thing and one thing only: to make waste of all the world’s children. Led by the diabolical Eva Ernst (Anjelica Huston), the gaggle of witches prey on Luke and other kids who cross their path, resulting in a fantastical cat-and-mouse game with impressive special effects and puppetry from Jim Henson Productions.
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005)
The 2005 stop-motion animation film Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (co-directed by Burton and Mike Johnson) tells the story of Victor Van Dort, a 19th Century pianist who is about to marry the love of his life, Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson) when he is dragged into the underworld by the evocative and mysterious Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), a.k.a., the Corpse Bride. If Victor is to get back to the woman he loves and prevent misfortune from falling upon her, he must find a way to escape the dark and twisted Land of the Dead.
Friends - ‘The One With The Halloween Party’ (2001)
The first and only “Halloween” episode of Friends didn’t come until the show’s eighth season, back in November 2001, but the wait was more than worth it. Titled “The One with the Halloween Party,” the episode is set during Monica and Chandler’s costume party where, among other things, Phoebe, who is dressed as Supergirl, meets and falls for her twin sister’s fiancé, Eric (Sean Penn).
The Big Bang Theory - ‘The Middle-Earth Paradigm’ (2007)
No time was wasted on The Big Bang Theory before the CBS sitcom entered the realm of Halloween with the Season 1 episode “The Middle-Earth Paradigm.” This episode has some of the show’s most iconic moments, including Penny and Leonard’s first kiss, following a confrontation with Penny’s ex-boyfriend Kurt (Brian Wade). The episode also features the hilarious “Flash” moment in which everyone dresses up as the same DC Comics hero.
The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air - ‘Hex And The Single Guy’ (1993)
The Halloween episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air enters the realm of the supernatural after the Banks family attends a séance where Will makes light of the situation and upsets the medium. What follows is a series of unfortunate events for the entire Banks family, because of the powerful hex put on the show’s lead.
Just about every comedy series has a Halloween episode, but The Middle has a total of eight special episodes with the Heck family getting into all sorts of misadventures, all of which can be be found below.
Stream The Middle "Halloween" on HBO Max.
Stream The Middle "Halloween II" on HBO Max.
Stream The Middle "Halloween III: The Driving" on HBO Max.
Stream The Middle "Halloween IV: The Ghost Story" on HBO Max.
Stream The Middle "Halloween V: The Hanging" on HBO Max.
Stream The Middle "Halloween VI: Tick Tock Death" on HBO Max.
Stream The Middle "Halloween VII: The Heckoning" on HBO Max.
Stream The Middle "Halloween VIII: Orson Murder Mystery" on HBO Max.
Feeling a little more adventurous this Halloween and want to have some scary (but not absolutely terrifying) streaming options? Well, look no further, because we have a trio of great options for those seeking movies and shows that will increase your pulse but won’t have you hiding behind a blanket, pillow, or bowl of candy.
Trick ‘R Treat (2007)
Michael Dougherty’s 2007 horror anthology film Trick ‘r Treat contains four intertwined stories exploring why it’s best to not mess with certain Halloween traditions. With fun and frightening scenarios, excellent writing (Dougherty also penned the script), and an all-star cast that includes Anna Paquin, Leslie Bibb, Brian Cox, and Dylan Baker, there’s a little something for just about everyone here.
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
What would an October movie marathon be without one of the most iconic horror movies of all time? Wes Craven’s groundbreaking 1984 supernatural slasher, A Nightmare on Elm Street, follows a group of teenagers as they are hunted down one by one by Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), the evil spirit of a serial killer who was burned alive by a group of vengeful parents years earlier.
The Outsider (2020)
The 2020 HBO series The Outsider, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, follows detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) as he tries to make sense of an out-of-nowhere murder of a young boy by the local baseball coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), after he discovers an evil force is behind the senseless crime and others like it.
Lock Your Doors Scary Options
Okay, these are the heavy-hitters of the bunch, the movies that will have you sleeping with a light on. Each of these horror staples are probably best viewed after the kids go to bed because you wouldn’t want your three-year-old to develop asthma after seeing Pennywise for the first time (not like that has happened to anyone).
The 1982 horror classic Poltergeist centers on the Freelings family as their house becomes the playground for a group of ghosts. Things start off innocently enough, but when the playful nature of the spirits becomes much more sinister (and dangerous), the family is forced to call on outside help to rid their seemingly normal home of the evil energy that has taken up residence within it.
The Invisible Man (2020)
The 2020 reboot of the horror classic, The Invisible Man, centers on Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) as she is tormented by her ex-boyfriend, Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), after he fakes his suicide and makes himself invisible. The games start off as more of a nuisance but quickly turn into something much more intense, setting off a showdown between the two former lovers.
One of the most terrifying horror movies of the past few years, It follows the Losers’ Club, a group seven outcasts, as they come together, let go of their fears, and come face-to-face with the personification of pure evil: Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), an ancient malignant force that has returned to the town of Derry, Maine, following a 27-year absence.
Classic Horror Movies To Check Out
One of the best things about HBO Max is the vast collection of great movies in the Turner Classic Movies hub, a section of the streaming service that doesn’t get enough recognition. Within that collection you will find a ton of great horror movies going back to the early days of moving pictures. Here are three movies from that library to check out this Halloween.
The Blob (1958)
The 1958 horror classic The Blob is one of those movies you see referenced literally anywhere and everywhere, so why not check it out properly this Halloween season? The movie follows a group of teenagers, led by Steve McQueen, as they try to warn and protect their parents and the adults in their small Pennsylvania town of a gelatinous blob that destroys everything it touches.
The Mummy (1959)
Before Brendan Fraser was fighting off an ancient Egyptian priest in the 1999 pulp action flick The Mummy, Peter Cushing was doing the same in the 1959 horror classic of the same name. When a team of archeologists unknowingly unleash a cursed mummy (Christopher Lee), they become the vengeful figure’s victims after desecrating his burial site.
Night of the Living Dead (1959)
George A. Romero’s landmark horror film Night of the Living Dead remains not only one of the best zombie movies of all time, but also a must-watch for any and all horror hounds out there. When a group of strangers take shelter from an army of the undead in a farmhouse, they soon learn the monsters inside the house are just as deadly as those trying to break down its walls.
Well, that should be more than enough to hold you over through the remainder of the Halloween season and beyond, this year. But, if you are looking for more thrills and chills, check out our list of crazy behind the scenes secrets from classic horror movies, and all of the upcoming horror movies coming your way in the near future.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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