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Scream Over Halloween Animation With These Classics

Halloween brings up old, rose-tinted memories of trick or treating, caramel apples and costume parades at school. Once you get all those social things out of the way, it should also bring up memories of the incredible animated movies we have all been rewatching every Halloween since childhood. Here are some of our favorites:

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

linusgreatpumpkin via splitsider

Missing trick-or-treating is about the worst thing that can happen to you as a kid, so the fact that Linus voluntarily gives it up in order to wait for the Great Pumpkin in a pumpkin patch was a little confusing for die-hard Halloweeners. You probably grew up watching Charlie Brown get rocks instead of candy and wondering how exactly Linus always managed to toss that blanket with such precision when he needed it to perform miracles. Don’t worry, you can still catch the classic Halloween special on ABC sometime before the holiday.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

169 via Behind the Voice Actors

Whether you watch this movie before Halloween or Christmas, it’s always fun to take a romp through the imagination of Tim Burton. The stop motion animated film tells the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, and his misadventures in pursuit of something new and exciting. Who doesn’t love Sally’s quiet brilliance? Who doesn’t love the puckish sense of humor of Lock, Shock and Barrel? I’ve already watched it twice this October and fully expect to watch it again soon.

Coraline (2009)

coraline-main via Den of Geek

This gorgeous stop motion film is based on the 2003 novel by one of our favorite writers, Neil Gaiman. While it may not scream Halloween to you, the black cat, button eyes, and fun house of terrors that are all exist in an 11 year old girl’s world are terrifying enough for me to put it on my October viewing list. I can’t imagine not being terrified of Other Mother – before or after her true nature is revealed – and finding the ghost children is enough to set me shaking. Lovers of the book will find a great adaptation here.

Beetlejuice (1988)

beetlejuice via HuffPo

Live action and animation combine for a horror comedy that left a lasting impression on this child of the 1980s. There’s a waiting line in Hell. You can try scaring away a tenant but it doesn’t always work. Exorcisms are serious business. And of course, ghosts and the living can sometimes live in harmony. While this film may be more “live action” than what you consider appropriate for an “animated” list, we can’t overlook the incredible modern art that comes to life: the sand worm, the miniature town, and the monsters. It’s just too perfect and ghostly not to include. Plus, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Catherine O’Hara all together? Yes. Immediately.

Frankenweenie (2012)

Frankenweenie-main via PopMythology

What boy wouldn’t want to bring his pet dog back to life after a tragic hit and run? Young Victor’s inspiration comes from the classroom in this parody of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and the monster, in this case, is Victor’s beloved dog. In a comedy of errors, one friend after another finds out about his successful reanimation and insists on being taught to raise the dead leading to an ever escalating menagerie of undead animals in the small town. Watch and see if you can point out all the Frankenstein parallels.

Paranorman (2012)

paranorman via TeachHub

One of the newest of the bunch is actually my favorite. Another stop motion film from our pals at Laika House, Paranorman tells the story of Norman, a boy who can see the dead. It falls to him to rescue the townspeople from wandering zombies and a vengeful little witch on Halloween night as she comes back to life to exact revenge for her unfair murder during the historic witch trails. There’s a fun friend for Norman, and obnoxious older sister, and more than enough townspeople – living and dead – to keep you entertained. If you haven’t watched it, go out and find it right now! Hint: It’s on Netflix.

Honorable Mention:The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror

Treehouse-of-Horror via Nerdreactor

Every year the geniuses behind The Simpsons create a Halloween episode. The inspirations have ranged from classic horror films to classic novels and beyond. Each is unique. Some feature zombies, some feature murder, all feature mayhem. Try and catch a few in reruns this October.

What are some of your favorite animated Halloween flicks? Let us know in the comments below.

Images: Focus Features, CBS, Buena Vista Pictures, Warner Bros., Disney, Fox

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  1. Mad Matt says:

    Will Vinton’s Claymation Comedy Of Horrorsit’s on youtube

  2. You know, Halloween isn’t a celebration of Tim Burton movies, you could feature more than 2 or 3 movies by other people and not fill the article with a steaming pile of Burton!

  3. Stanz says:

    Wow this list while it has some really well done modern Halloween films, really skips many older classics. Also I would say Beatlejuice, unless it concerns the animated show, has really no right to be on a list, It’s Animation but It’s Used for Special Effects purposes rather than animation purposes. A Better List would Be…1. The Real Ghostbusters: The Halloween Door or the entire series plus Extreme Ghostbusters for that matter2. The Halloween Tree3. Mad Monster Party4 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow5. Any Scooby-Doo animated film or show6. Halloween is Grinch Night7. Loony Tunes: The Duxorcist8. any Casper cartoons9. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters10. A Pinky and the Brain Halloween
    also here is a list of plenty more

  4. Wolf-man says:

    Considering 3 of these movies were released less than five years ago, I would hardly call these classics. 

  5. Bernanrd Pierce says:

    What about Hocus Pocus?? I know around my house there is no Halloween without watching that.

    • Rachael Berkey says:

      I went back and forth about it because it’s one of my favorites too! But in the end I decided robot-cat wasn’t enough to qualify as animation. 🙁

  6. How do you leave out The Halloween Tree? Leonard Nimoy is the voice of the antagonist and Ray Bradbury himself narrates the story he wrote.  It is absolutely incredible. 

  7. Oscar says:

    The Halloween Tree was always creepy when I was a kid. Not sure what year it came out though.

  8. Connor says:

    What about Ernest Scared Stupid, the scariest movie I ever watched as a kid. That ruined me for months.

    • Rachael Berkey says:

      I was just going for animated stuff. Beetlejuice barely made it on but I thought the claymation was so good it could count. 🙂

  9. Kelly M says:

    It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown was on ABC last night.

  10. Matt B. says:

    No love for Dan Harmon’s “Monster House”? This list is invalid 

  11. Tim C. says:

    How could you forget “Mad Monster Party”?  If it weren’t for that film, NBC, Coraline, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie would not exist….

    • Rachael Berkey says:

      Sorry I don’t think I’ve ever seen that one! I will have to track it down though!

      • Tim C. says:

        Great film!  Done by Rankin?Bass, the makers of “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”.  Voiced by Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller.  Big slice of campy Halloween fun!