"Every movie is scary if you're neurotic enough." -- ancient proverb

Warning: if you don't share the sentiments above, this list might not be for you.

Here be my favorite spooky/Halloweeny media that I absolutely recommend!

The Uninvited (1944)

Directed by: Lewis Allen
Starring: Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Gail Russell
Rating: 4/5

A brother and sister move into an old seaside house that has been abandoned for many years on the Cornwellian coast only to soon discover that it is haunted by the ghost of the mother of their neighbor’s granddaughter, with whom the brother has fallen in love.

I've been engaged in The Uninvited propaganda for years now and shall continue to do so. If you like ghost stories and gothic novels, I really recommend you check it out! The atmosphere is incredible, the visuals are fantastic, the actors do a great job (and my beloved underrated baby Ruth Hussey is in it!). Also, there's very much a Rebecca vibe to it in more ways than one. You'll know what I'm talking about :) The one downside was that the romance between Ray Milland and Gail Russell was mildly uncomfortable since she's so much younger than him, but it was easy to filter out.

The Innocents (1961)

Directed by: Jack Clayton
Starring: Deborah Kerr, Martin Stephens, Pamela Franklin
Rating: 5/5

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted. Based on "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James (or, rather, its 1950 Broadway adaptation).

One of my favorite movies EVER! If you watch one single movie out of this list, let it be this one. It's very unsettling and creepy without relying on jumpscares, and the cinematography is gorgeous. Fun fact, the main character was young in the source material, but Deborah Kerr was fourty at the time - which, in my opinion, only made the film better. Miss Kerr, the queen of portraying repressed sensuality, was born to play this role (can you tell I'm a massive fan of hers lmao). And Guillermo del Toro loves this film as well, and that man has Taste.

Nosferatu (1922)

Directed by: F. W. Murnau
Starring: Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder
Rating: 4.5/5

Vampire Count Orlok is interested in a new residence and in his real estate agent’s young wife. F. W. Murnau’s unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”

It's been a while since I watched the whole thing so I don't know how well it holds up on a rewatch, but I realized I loved silent horror after watching this film. Not only was it very progressive for its time, I was genuinely interested in the story, even if it dragged a bit at times, and a lot of the imagery is still scary, even in 2023. I can't imagine how the audience felt in 1922... I mean, look at Max Schreck as the Count! Dude's terrifying.

The Black Cat (1934)

Directed by: Edgar G. Ulmer
Starring: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi
Rating: 2.5/5

After a road accident in Hungary, the American honeymooners Joan and Peter and the enigmatic Dr. Werdegast find refuge in the house of the famed architect Hjalmar Poelzig, who shares a dark past with the doctor.

If it isn't already clear from the summary: this actually has nothing to do with the Poe short story, lol. Not my favorite movie, as evidenced by the rating above, but it DELIVERS in terms of gothic atmosphere and I love the Vibe it gives off, so I simply couldn't leave it out! It's the first movie to star both Karloff and Lugosi and it has everything a Pre-Code horror needs, like satanism, necrophilia, etc. It's pretty goofy and really short, so you don't even need much of an attention span to watch it. Also, Boris Karloff's ass gets a lot of screentime!

Strait-Jacket (1964)

Directed by: William Castle
Starring: Joan Crawford, Diane Baker, Leif Erickson
Rating: 3.5/5

After a twenty-year stay at an asylum for a double murder, a mother returns to her estranged daughter where suspicions arise about her behavior.

I watched this a while ago (I'm certainly due for a rewatch), but I remember really enjoying this movie - which surprised me because I thought it was supposed to be bad and went in with zero expectations. Well, if it was bad, it was a very enjoyable kind of bad! It turned out to be a delightfully campy hagsploitation film, and Joan Crawford was great, as always.

The Spiral Staircase (1946)

Directed by: Robert Siodmak
Starring: Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore
Rating: 3.5/5

On a stormy night, the mute servant to an ailing matriarch is stalked by a serial killer.

Honestly, this is just a great autumn watch in general, not necessarily October/Halloween. The atmosphere is rather creepy and gothic (just look at that shot of the main character with a candle on the titular staircase! Peak gothic heroine), the entire movie takes place in a single dark and stormy night in an isolated mansion - these things just scream autumnal to me. In general, it's kinda part horror, part noir, especially visually. Speaking of visuals, the cinematography and editing are super creative for its time, so the movie's never boring. Elsa Lanchester is also in this, and she's HILARIOUS!

All movie descriptions are taken from Letterboxd.

to be continued...


Yes, Scoob gets his own section! :D I find that most iterations of Scooby-Doo are great for October and Halloween. Despite this being a children's cartoon, there are plenty of episodes and movies that are quite spooky and creepy, and the bite-sized episodes are a good choice for when you want to get in a spooky mood but don’t have enough time or attention span for something longer.

I've got my own recommendations (frankly, I’m dying to share my expertise lmao), but that wouldn’t be enough for such a long franchise, so in addition I compiled a list of episodes that other Scooby fans found particularly scary. And I dedicated a section to Halloween-themed Scooby stuff too!

My Personal Selection

These are the episodes and movies I love to rewatch on Halloween, though only one of them is actually Halloween-themed.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

👽 Foul Play in Funland (1x08)
🎃 A Night of Fright is No Delight (1x16) - this one is probably my favorite Scooby episode ever; well, classic Scooby anyway. I had it on VHS when I was young and rewatched it constantly despite being really creeped out. The dog-shaped coffin waiting for Scooby in the basement was especially creepy to me.
👽 Haunted House Hang-Up (2x05)

The Scooby-Doo Show

🎃 Vampire Bats and Scaredy Cats (2x02)

Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated

👽 The Creeping Creatures (1x02) - oooh, I really love this one! It's set in a creepy hotel in a creepy town with creepy Southern Gothic vibes, but what I especially love about it is how the color palette and the animation style compliment each other and match the plot.
🎃 Escape from Mystery Manor (1x17) - the scene at the beginning takes place on Halloween, but it's not nearly enough for the episode to be considered Halloween-themed. It's a great episode, though, and many fans consider it to be one of the scariest episodes in SDMI.
👽 A Haunting in Crystal Cove (1x23)
🎃 Night Terrors (2x10)

Be Cool, Scooby-Doo

👽 Where There’s A Will, There’s A Wraith (1x13)
🎃 Into the Mouth of Madcap (1x24)
👽 Doo Not Disturb (2x12)

Animated movies

🎃 Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island - a universally beloved classic, a staple of many childhoods, THE movie that became the catalyst for the Scooby-Doo renaissance of early 2000s! Of course it's on my rec list!
👽 Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost - even though I like Zombie Island a teeeeny-tiny bit more, this one takes the cake for me as a Halloween movie because it takes place in autumn and the background art is simply incredible.
🎃 Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King

All Halloween-themed episodes and movies

Click on Shaggy and Scooby to discover
even MORE spooky episodes!


  • The Headless Horseman of Halloween (The Scooby-Doo Show 1x05)
  • To Switch a Witch (The Scooby-Doo Show 3x04)
  • A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle (The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries 2x08)
  • Ghost Who's Coming to Dinner (A Pup Named Scooby-Doo 1x10)
  • A Scooby-Doo Halloween (What's New, Scooby-Doo? 2x06)
  • Halloween (Be Cool, Scooby-Doo 2x07)

specials and movies

  • Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin King
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Spooky Scarecrow
  • Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery
  • Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!
  • Trick or Treat, Scooby-Doo!

Sourced by me from various posts on r/ScoobyDoo.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
  • 1x02 "A Clue for Scooby-Doo"
  • 1x04 "Mine Your Own Business"
  • 1x06 "What the Hex Going On"
  • 1x09 "Backstage Rage"
  • 1x10 "Bedlam in the Big Top"
  • 1x15 "Spooky Space Kook"
  • 2x04 "Jeepers it’s the Creeper"
  • 2x07 "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Werewolf"
The Scooby-Doo Show
  • 1x01 "High Rise Hair Raiser"
  • 1x07 "The Harum-Scarum Sanitarium"
  • 1x13 "Scooby-Doo, Where's the Crew?"
  • 2x04 "The Chiller Diller Movie Thriller"
  • 2x08 "Creepy Heap from the Deep"
  • 3x02 "A Creepy Tangle in the Bermuda Triangle"
  • 3x04 "To Switch a Witch"
  • 3x05 "The Tar Monster"
  • 3x07 "The Creepy Case of Old Iron Face"
  • 3x13 "A Menace in Venice"
What's New, Scooby-Doo?
  • 2x02 "Mummy Scares Best"
  • 2x08 "San Franpsycho"
  • 3x01 "Fright House of a Lighthouse"
  • 3x06 "Farmed & Dangerous"
  • 3x12 "Gold Paw"
Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated
  • 1x03 "The Secret of the Ghost Rig"
  • 1x06 "The Legend of Alice May"
  • 1x26 "All Fear the Freak"
  • 2x15 "Theater of Doom"