For some Halloween aficionados, October 31 requires a fair amount of preparation. There are bags of candy to be gathered, jack-o'-lanterns to be carved, costumes to be assembled, and trick-or-treating routes to plan. For others, though, All Hallows' Eve is the perfect night to stay in and watch some spooky movies. As Sheriff Brackett portentously says to a young Laurie Strode in 1978’s aptly titled Halloween, “It’s Halloween. Everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”
That’s not to say all Halloween movies are scary; after all, people don’t tend to cover their eyes or hide behind the sofa when watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. A night with Freddy Krueger, on the other hand, is an altogether different experience.
Here are 10 quotes from a wide range of classic movies that are perfect to watch during the Halloween season, from the family-friendly to the thoroughly fear-inducing.
You’ve heard of the fury of a woman scorned, haven’t you? … Well, that’s nothing compared to the fury of a woman who has been cheated out of tricks-or-treats.Linus Van Pelt (Christopher Shea) in “It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” 1966
The Peanuts Halloween special, first broadcast on October 27, 1966, became an immediate hit and set the trend for Halloween specials to come. Its popularity has never waned — it aired on broadcast television every year from its debut until 2020, when it became an Apple TV+ exclusive.
From that fateful day when stinking bits of slime first crawled from the sea and shouted to the cold stars, “I am man,” our greatest dread has always been the knowledge of our mortality.Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) in “Young Frankenstein,” 1974
Directed by comedy legend Mel Brooks, Young Frankenstein stars Gene Wilder as a descendant of Mary Shelley's original Dr. Victor Frankenstein. An unswervingly silly spoof jam-packed with quotable lines, it’s frequently ranked among the funniest movies ever made.
Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now, you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.Dr. Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasence) in “Halloween,” 1978
John Carpenter's original Halloween introduced us to Michael Myers, one of the greatest antagonists in horror movie history, as well as Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), one of the blueprints for the slasher genre’s “final girl” archetype.
Whatever you do … don't fall asleep.Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) in “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” 1984
Wes Craven’s supernatural slasher gave us the iconic Freddy Krueger, an undead former child killer with the ability to target his victims through their dreams. As terrifying now as it was in the ’80s, it brilliantly explores the blurred lines between real life and the imaginary.
As a duly designated representative of the city, county, and state of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension.Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) in “Ghostbusters,” 1984
The original Ghostbusters was a commercial and critical success upon its release, becoming a cultural phenomenon and, at the time, the highest-grossing comedy movie ever made. We ain’t ’fraid of no ghost!
Oh, look. Another glorious morning. Makes me sick!Winifred Sanderson (Bette Midler) in “Hocus Pocus,” 1993
Despite a lukewarm reception upon its release, Hocus Pocus has since become a Halloween staple and somewhat of a cult classic, due in large part to the villainous comedic antics of Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the movie’s witchy adversaries.
I'm just like any modern woman trying to have it all: loving husband, a family. It's just, I wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade.Morticia Addams (Anjelica Huston) in “Addams Family Values,” 1993
Featuring largely the same cast as 1991’s The Addams Family, the faster-paced, darker, funnier, and altogether “ookier” Addams Family Values is widely considered superior to its already-great predecessor.
All ghosts have unfinished business. That's why they don't cross over.Kat Harvey (Christina Ricci) in “Casper,” 1995
Casper made cinematic history as the first film to feature a fully CGI character in the lead role. It also cemented Christina Ricci’s status as a Halloween screen queen: The actress had previously appeared as Wednesday in The Addams Family and Addams Family Values and would later star alongside Johnny Depp in Sleepy Hollow.
Villainy wears many masks, none so dangerous as the mask of virtue.Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) in “Sleepy Hollow,” 1999
Tim Burton was unquestionably the right pick to direct the big-screen adaptation of Washington Irving’s 1820 short Gothic horror story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Combining Burton’s trademark rich, twisted visuals and ample weirdness from Depp, the movie was perfectly poised to become a Halloween classic.
I've spent so long in the darkness, I'd almost forgotten how beautiful the moonlight is.Emily the Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham Carter) in “Corpse Bride,” 2005
If any director could be crowned the king of Halloween, Tim Burton would certainly have a strong claim. Alongside co-director Mike Johnson, Burton created yet another ghostly world inhabited by creepy, colorful characters with his stop-motion animated fantasy Corpse Bride. What many people don’t know is that the movie is based on a 16th-century Jewish folktale called “The Finger,” in which a man accidentally marries the ghost of a deceased bride.
Featured image credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd/ Alamy Stock Photo