16 Best Halloween Movies From the ’90s
The ’90s were an excellent decade for Halloween movies. From kid-friendly classics like “Hocus Pocus” to films that redefined the horror genre like “Scream,” the ’90s had the best Halloween movies. The proof is in the enduring nature of almost every film on this list. The Sanderson sisters, Jack Skellington, and Ghostface are all synonymous with Halloween now. These movies are as much a part of the spooky holiday season as candy corn and costume planning, and as an added bonus, they’ll all take you right back to the ’90s, when the fashion choices were daring and every October the streets were dotted with orange, jack-o’-lantern-faced garbage bags filled with leaves.
In fact, these ’90s Halloween movies were so good that we’re still talking about them today. For example, “Hocus Pocus” is not only getting a third movie following its sequel’s success, but the classic film has also been featured in Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween Schedule. Meanwhile, Netflix released an uber-popular Addams Family series based on Wednesday in November 2022, starring Jenna Ortega and directed by Tim Burton, with a second season already on the way.
So go ahead, light a black flame candle and summon up some scares. These Halloween movies from the ’90s will certainly get you ready for spooky season.
– Additional reporting by Kalyn Womack and Njera Perkins
"Edward Scissorhands" (1990)
Tim Burton’s reign as the king of Halloween truly began in the ’80s with “Beetlejuice,” but he kept the hits coming in the ’90s, beginning with “Edward Scissorhands.” The story of Edward, a young man assembled in a laboratory whose creator dies before he’s complete, is the perfect blend of Gothic strangeness and heart. The movie isn’t scary, but it gives us major Halloween feelings thanks to Burton’s trademark touches of dark whimsy and the presence of scary-movie favorite Winona Ryder. Burton’s movie is a fairy tale for Halloween-lovers and anyone who has ever wished “Frankenstein” had a happier ending.
"The Addams Family" (1991)
Huston’s role as Morticia Addams wins her back some Halloween goodwill, because Morticia is too fabulous to truly scare anyone. In fact, both “The Addams Family” and its sequel “Addams Family Values” (1993) remain pure Halloween goodness, because the holiday is a lifestyle for Morticia’s brood. The franchise has it all: Christina Ricci becoming an icon for goth kids everywhere as Wednesday, Morticia and Gomez being couple goals, and lots of family bonding over a mutual love for creepiness. Their haunted house is one that any ’90s Halloween-lover would happily volunteer to stay in for a night.
"Hocus Pocus" (1993)
Believe it or not, “Hocus Pocus” wasn’t a box office hit. Maybe moviegoers were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of Halloween movies released in 1993? Whatever the reason, the Sanderson sisters got the last laugh. “Hocus Pocus” might just be the ultimate Halloween movie now. Watching Max, Dani, Allison, and 17th-century teenage heartthrob turned cat Thackery Binx save Salem from the fabulous Sanderson sisters is an annual tradition that never gets old.
"The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993)
Forget the endless debates over whether or not “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie, because it’s obviously both. The Pumpkin King’s identity crisis makes for a delightfully macabre viewing experience that’s complemented by the elegant stop-motion animation. But what truly makes this film one of the decade’s all-time greats is how thoroughly it has permeated the pop culture landscape. Jack Skellington and Sally are icons now, ensuring that a visit to Halloween Town will remain an October tradition for years to come.
After wowing us as Wednesday Addams, Ricci starred in the sweet and ever-so-slightly spooky film “Casper.” Ricci’s Kat moves into a haunted house that is already occupied by Casper, the most adorable ghost in the world. Their friendship anchors the movie, and it also led to quite a few people crushing on Casper in his human form, as played by Devon Sawa, thanks to their romantic dance at the end.
"The Craft" (1996)
“We are the weirdos, mister.” With that line, “The Craft” became an instant favorite with teens everywhere. The movie’s modern-day witches are scary as hell when they want to be, but they’re also relatable. They taught us about using our power for good, what can happen if you don’t stand by your friends, and that “light as a feather, stiff as a board” is the best sleepover game ever. And for those reasons, we will forever be grateful to the ultimate ’90s coven.
"The Frighteners" (1996)
“The Frighteners” doesn’t get enough credit for being a legitimately scary horror comedy. Directed by Peter Jackson and starring Michael J. Fox, the movie follows a former architect named Frank who gains the ability to see and communicate with the dead after a car accident. He tends to use his powers for his own gain by befriending ghosts and convincing them to haunt people so he can charge the unsuspecting homeowners for an exorcism. The appearance of a mass murderer turned ghost forces Frank to step up and use his powers to do some good for a change. Along the way, Jackson uses some truly haunting special effects to give this comedy plenty of authentic scares.
Slasher movies haven’t been the same since “Scream” – and that’s a good thing. The movie is gloriously self-aware with a cast of characters who know the ins and outs of horror movie survival thanks to years of watching the genre (although, most of them end up dying all the same). Meanwhile, Sidney is the ultimate fierce final girl whose showdown with Ghostface is both intense and cheer-worthy thanks to her refusal to let the killer turn her life into one of his favorite scary movies.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Before the 2018 “Halloween“ revitalized the franchise, “Halloween: H20” did an admirable job of making Michael Myers relevant again. Set 20 years after the events of the first movie, Laurie Strode is living under an assumed name and working as the headmistress of a private school as she tries to build a safe life for her teenage son (’90s favorite Josh Hartnett).
This movie acts as a direct sequel to “Halloween II,” and it wows in large part because it allows Laurie to find some closure. But it also deserves credit for being a fun slasher film that never gets too bogged down in the mythology surrounding Michael.
How good is “Halloweentown?” So good that there’s an annual festival celebrating Marnie learning all about her spooky heritage. This is one Disney Channel original movie that continues to resonate with fans, and if we had to guess why, it’s because of Marnie’s pure love for Halloween. Marnie’s 13th birthday revelation that she descends from a family of witches is met with pure joy, and her enthusiasm at seeing supernatural creatures lead normal lives in Halloweentown made us all want to be her best friend.
"Practical Magic" (1998)
Witches had a major moment in the ’90s. Not only did we get the Sanderson sisters, “The Craft” coven, and “Halloweentown“‘s Marnie, but the decade also gave us magical sisters Sally and Gillian Owens. Their bond makes this an unforgettable story of sisterhood and overcoming curses. (Additionally, the movie is also responsible for our dream of adopting a black cat, moving to a fabulous old house in Massachusetts, and opening a botanical shop.)
"Sleepy Hollow" (1999)
Burton’s final contribution to the ’90s Halloween fun was “Sleepy Hollow,” which fleshes out Washington Irving’s tale of Ichabod Crane with extra action, romance, and even more frightening decapitations. This is yet another movie that oozes Halloween vibes with foggy roads, pumpkins, and a spooky little village – proving once and for all that for Burton, the holiday is basically a way of life.
"Army of Darkness" (1992)
After time traveling back to the medieval ages, Ash must capture the Book of the Dead to prevent its power from being used to summon an army of ghosts.
Count Dracula is cursed and condemned to feed off blood for the rest of his life. While settling a land deal with a young lawyer, Dracula is drawn to a picture of the lawyer’s fiancé, who resembles his deceased wife. He then kidnaps the lawyer in his castle and sets off to find her.
"Death Becomes Her" (1992)
A novelist loses her boyfriend to an actress she used to be friends with. The breakup lands her in a psychiatric hospital for a few years, but when she returns home, she is glowing. The actress asks for her secret and finds it is a drug that grants her immortality. However, the drug comes with a caveat.
"Tales From the Hood" (1995)
In this spooky movie anthology, a creepy funeral director named Mr. Simms (Clarence Williams III) attempts to scare away a trio of drug dealers from his place of business by telling them four horrific stories – each one more terrifying than the last.