I know it’s still early September, but Halloween’s definitely already in the air. For those of you itching to get into the holiday spirit, here is a curated collection of audio (mostly music, with some sound effects) and video to enjoy while you stay home to serve the trick-or-treaters!
“This is Haunted Halloween” is a very special collection of Halloween party music and spooky sound effects. My pal Jason and put this together a few years back with the intention of creating a near-definitive selection of tracks for dance and spooky ambience. Some tracks, including our special “Skerrymix,” are unique mixes engineered by Jason. Perfect for your Halloween night haunt or relaxation at home in the dark, This is Haunted Halloween delivers your favorite spooky aural memories!
Disc One is packed with a selection of macabre party hits, from a new extended mix of Michael Jacksonâ€™s â€œThrillerâ€ to Sheb Wooleyâ€™s campy â€œThe Purple People Eater.â€ Disc Two follows with pieces reflecting the darker side of Halloween. Here, spooky film themes, ghoulish classical favorites, and other grisly tunes mix it up with creepy sound effects perfect for a stormy night.
Produced by Jason Pittman and Kali Pappas, this collection offers new presentations of old classics alongside several fun surprises. But beware â€” this is not your average Halloween mix tape. Listen and share!
If you’re looking for some fun things to watch, here’s a collection of noncontroversial Halloween favorites. The title link will take you to the film’s product listing at our Amazon Astore. Subsequent links will take you to an online version of the source literature and/or a purchase link for the source literature at our Amazon Astore.
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, featuring Disney’s animated version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. 1949. Fun for all!
- Beetlejuice, the 1988 comedy starring Michael Keaton. Fun for all. Little kids might get creeped or grossed out.
- Bell Book and Candle, the best witch/beatnik/Christmas/romantic movie ever! it stars two of my absolute favorites, the beautiful and talented Kim Novak and the equally lovely and talented James Stewart.
- The Cat and the Canary, a silly 1927 silent movie with an enjoyable mystery plot and a great spooky house setting. There’s also a later version starring Bob Hope.
- Corpse Bride, Tim Burton’s thoughtful animated classic, starring Helena Bonham-Carter.
- Dracula, the 1931 classic starring Bela Lugosi. Fun for everyone.
- Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the beautiful 1992 adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
- Ed Wood, the 1994 biopic about everybody’s favorite bad sci-fi filmmaker, starring Johnny Depp. Also, don’t miss Plan 9 From Outer Space, the real Ed Wood’s most famous movie.
- Fantasia, the 1940 musical compilation film from Walt Disney. The “Night on Bald Mountain” sequence is beautiful and frightening.
- Frankenstein, the 1930s Universal classic adapted from Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly’s gothic novel. Starring Boris Karloff as Dr. Frankenstein’s “monster,” this one’s fun for everyone. The story is retold to hilarious effect in Mel Brooks’ 1975 comedy classic Young Frankenstein, starring Gene Wilder and Madeline Kahn.
- Fright Night, the 1985 film about a boy and a washed up TV personality who discover and destroy a vampire and his cronies. Geared towards young adults. Scary for young children.
- Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, everyone’s favorite ghost-chasing frolics from the 1980s. Good for the whole family, for the most part.
- The Halloween Tree, the 1993 cartoon version of Ray Bradbury’s best novel!
- Buy the book: The Halloween Tree
- The Haunted Mansion, Disney’s 2003 comedy film based on the theme park attraction.
- The Haunting, the 1962 adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. This is probably the creepiest film I’ve ever seen. There’s no gore. There are no “ghosts.” It’s all you and some seriously unsettling camera angles. The “breathing door” gag from Disneyland’s Haunted Mansionwas inspired by a scene in this film.
- Buy the book: The Haunting of Hill House
- Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler. Recommended by Steve F. of FL: “A very fun movie that I think captures the ‘feel’ of Halloween and, at the same time, is not bloody or has ‘adult’ language in it. A nice addition to one’s Halloween video library.”
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The classic TV special from 1966, inspired by the Charles Shulz “Peanuts” comic strip. Great for everyone!
- Lonesome Ghosts, the 1937 classic cartoon short from Disney. Great for everyone!
- The Nightmare Before Christmas. Tim Burton’s animated classic, perfect for all.
- Practical Magic is pretty much Bell Book and Candle meets Sense and Sensibility, and that’s why I like it! It stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as sister witches who struggle through life and loves.
- Rebecca, the 1940 Hitchcock mystery classic based on the Daphne DuMaurier novel. Younger kids might find it boring. Some adult themes.
- Buy the book: Rebecca
- Stephen King’s Rose Red. Silly and fun, but not for young kids. Originally aired on TV as a miniseries. Loosely based on the story of Sarah Winchester.
- Skeleton Dance, the early Disney Silly Symphony animated by Ub Iwerks with music by Carl Stalling. Great for everyone!
- Trick or Treat, the 1952 Disney short starring Donald Duck, his nephews, and Witch Hazel. Great for everyone!
- Vertigo is my favorite Alfred Hitchcock film! Like Bell Book and Candle, this spooky psychological thriller stars Kim Novak and James Stewart.
Those who like an old-fashioned gothic novel or otherwise spooky story should check out these old favorites, some of which are listed above with their film adaptations. The title link will take you to an internet edition of the story, and the “buy the book” link will take you to a copy of the book at our Amazon Astore.
- Dracula, by Bram Stoker (buy the book)
- Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (buy the book)
- The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury (buy the book)
- The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson (buy the book)
- Hell House, by Richard Matheson (buy the book) – Is it haunted or is it all in your head? Beloved cross-genre writer Matheson was inspired by Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House to write this creepy thriller.
- The Hellbound Heart, by Clive Barker (buy the book) – The movie Hellraiser was based on this.
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving (buy the book)
- Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen (buy the book) – Austen plays upon 18th century gothic novels in this one.
- The Mysteries of Udolpho, by Ann Radcliffe (buy the book) – Typical 18th century gothic fiction which inspired Northanger Abbey‘s novel-loving heroine, Catherine Morland.
- Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier (buy the book)
- Rose Madder, by Stephen King (buy the book)
- The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James (buy the book) – Are the ghosts real, or is it all in her head?