My Favorite Movies to Watch in October

Scary movies are some of my absolute favorites. Every time a new horror movie comes out--no matter how horrible the reviews for it are--Danny and I rent it and watch it. And sometimes, we buy them--even when they're not super great. Sometimes that's the allure, right? That it's so bad, it's good. 

However, every October, I make sure to watch the classics--my absolute favorites. These are them. 

1. Halloweentown

I don't care what anyone says--this is a classic. It's so good! I still identify with Marnie: she is pretty much every girl in the mid- to late-1990s, right? The aesthetic of this movie is perfect childhood nostalgia: the clothes, the colors, the dialogue. It's just so October. 

2. Coraline

This is one of those movies that Danny often says isn't an "October movie"--but I disagree. Coraline is a horror film--it just happens to be for kids. And to be perfectly honest, it is really scary. It's one of those movies that I would not let Forrest watch until he's a certain age! I love the look and feel of this movie as well--it's a very beautiful movie for being animated! 

3. Trick or Treat

If you want a good classic-yet-creative horror film to watch, this is the one. Really. It's so good. When I first watched it with Danny years ago, I was sure I would hate it--but I get excited to watch it every Halloween. This is the one movie I make myself wait to watch until Halloween day: it's the perfect Halloween movie. 

4. Hocus Pocus

Is there a more perfect Halloween movie than Hocus Pocus? I've loved this movie since I was a little kid and for good reason. Bettle Middler is the perfect witch. This movie is the perfect not-too-scary movie for kids on Halloween. Plus, it's fun to sympathize with the parents now that I'm older. 

5. the Saw Series

Yes, Danny and I own all 7 Saw movies. Yes, they get really bad the further into the series we watch. But they're also really good. They are gory, overly complicated, and hilarious at times--but I still find myself jumping at the scares, even after tons of watches. 

6. the Nightmare Before Christmas

Could I get through this list without mentioning the Nightmare Before Christmas? No. Goodness, no. I really thought I would--I told myself to try--but after listing 5, I knew one was missing. It's this one! This is the classic emo kid October and holiday season movie. Who doesn't love singing along to the opening sequence? 

What are your favorite movies to watch in October--spooky or not? 

Happy Halloween

Homemade chocolate cupcakes with homemade salted caramel cream cheese frosting, topped with sugar skulls and harvest nonpareils. 

Homemade chocolate cupcakes with homemade salted caramel cream cheese frosting, topped with sugar skulls and harvest nonpareils. 

I love Halloween. I always have. 

The first Halloween I remember is hazy: I remember dressing as Minnie Mouse, tiny red-and-white polka dot bow adorned ears on a headband that hurt my head (as all headbands do). I was maybe 4, but not much older. I remember being in a car, looking out the window into the dark, and feeling that particular Autumn magic: the feeling of dustiness, of being able to stay up later than usual, the cold of early nights, how oppressively dark it seemed after an entire Summer. The approaching Winter seems closer than ever on Halloween. 

My next Halloween memory is my friend Noelle's birthday party, held at Lone Pine Farm, a Eugene, OR tradition most known for its haunted corn maze. It was Noelle's 7th (or maybe 8th) birthday. We always celebrated our birthdays in tandem: me on October 20, her on November 4. It was a novelty to have birthdays so close together, when so many in our class were March or June babies. I don't remember much of the birthday party. But I remember my mother carrying me out of the pumpkin patch. It was dark out -- maybe twilight, but I remember it dark -- and I held the child "swag bag" I'd received: a green and black flat plastic bag printed with a witch's image, warty nose and gnarled teeth, but smiling and cartoonish, full of cheap goodies and candy. 

As I got older, Halloween got more complicated (as all things do), but it always retained that magical feeling of coziness and changing seasons. It was constant. Every year, October 31 and Halloween came no matter what else was going on in my life, no matter where I was or what job I was working. Halloween was a easily measurable space of time, a period of 24 hours where I felt like the world was different. 

I've always been a big fan of a specific and easily identifiable aesthetic. The set designs of movies I saw when I was a kid impacted me greatly -- especially Hocus Pocus, with the dusty Sanderson Sister cottage covered in spider webs, lighters pushed into the wall, wrought iron ornaments and old hardwood floors -- but also steampunk-y elements, like the design of Tarzan's Treehouse in Disneyland. (I only recently, when visiting Disneyland with my husband, realized the influence of this little-spoken-of treehouse on my appreciation of steampunk, old typewriters, futuristic and yet retro lamps, and mahogany desks.) I've always wanted to live, or even just visit, a haunted Victorian mansion. Most of all, however, I've always referred to my design taste as ink-stained, retro, and Halloween-y. 

There is a coziness in what is old: dusty book covers, desks covered in years of fingerprints built up into a grime, typewriters with keys missing their letters from use, flickering candles in windows. There is something magical and mysterious about it, something beautiful and yet decrepit in the combination of dark colors (black, brown, burgundy) and warm (gold, yellow, orange, bronze). 

I love Halloween. I love the movies, the colors, the sets, the pumpkins, the lights, everything. It's the day where it's ok to be a kid again (and always), the day where the veil between living and dead is thin. It's a day to celebrate, to drink, to look back, to eat as much candy as possible, to appreciate the world we live in (full of rust-colored leaves and vibrant orange pumpkins), to remain thankful that we are here and nowhere else.