19 Spooky Movies, Books, and Podcasts to Enjoy at Home on Halloween

Staying in this Halloween? Try something that that’ll get you in the spooky spirit without keeping you up all night.

A collage of Halloween movies to watch at home with kids or alone before sleep.png

As October chills fill the air, Halloween looms on the horizon. A single night of trick or treating isn’t enough for me. I believe the haunted holiday should last the whole month. So, before I go to bed, I want something that gets me in the spirit of Halloween without freaking me out so much I can’t get to sleep. No shrieking horror movies. No terrifying novels. Limited amounts of adrenaline and blue light.

Here’s a round-up of the best books, podcasts, movies, and TV shows (plus a playlist and online radio station) that will help get you ready for dreamtime this spooky season, without keeping you up all night. I am including a fear factor rating for each, so you know how frightening they are, and if they’re appropriate for your little boo to enjoy with you.

Halloween bedtime stories, movies, and TV shows to watch with kids

Dia de Los Muertos by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Fear factor: Perfect for niños and niñas.
Fun and fact-filled, this rhyming children’s picture book brings Mexico’s Day of the Dead to life.
Book | Available on bookshop.org.

Cover art for Dia de los Muertos. Read for a Halloween at home with the kids.

Muppets Haunted Mansion
Fear factor: Freaky fun for the whole family.
Gonzo and Pepé must survive a night in a haunted mansion filled with ghosts, ghouls, and groan-worthy jokes.
TV | Available on Disney+.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Fear factor: If this scares you, call your therapist.
Mandatory Halloween viewing for trick or treaters of all ages, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
TV | Available on Apple TV+.

Good Witch
Fear factor: Happy-go-lucky hocus-pocus.
Part-family drama, part-romance, part-supernatural escapade, this feel-good series from Hallmark will cast a spell on the whole family.
TV | Available on Netflix.

Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!
Fear factor: Jeepers!
The Mystery Machine gang – along with Bill Nye the Science Guy – must solve the case of a toxic pumpkin patch and take down a Halloweeny meanie.
Movie | Available on Amazon Prime.

The Addams Family 2
Fear Factor: A ghoulishly good time for all ages.
America’s first family of fright embarks on a rollicking road trip that’s equal parts hijinks, horror, and highly unconventional bonding.
Movie | Find out more.

Nightbooks
Fear factor: Kids might jump out of their skins a few times; adults won’t flinch.
Trapped in an evil witch’s apartment, a young boy must tell her a new scary story every evening to stay alive.
Movie | Available on Netflix.

For PG-13 parties

Halloween 2021
Fear factor: If you’re not a Michael Jackson fan, you’ll hit skip a few times.
More than six hours long, this spooky playlist features iconic thrillers – from Alice Cooper’s “Feed My Frankenstein” to the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll.”
Playlist | Available on Spotify.

Cruella
Fear factor: Surprisingly violent for a Magic Kingdom production.
A goth-punk origin story of Disney’s ultimate villainess, Emma Stone shines darkly in the twisted title role.
Movie | Available on Disney+.

For those who want more humor than horror on Halloween

As the Crow Dies by Kenneth Butcher
Fear factor: Too funny to freak you out.
Ever engaging and loveably quirky, this page turner of a murder mystery kicks off with a body face down in the river before veering into a super intelligent animal conspiracy that’s equally farcical and macabre.
Book | Available on bookshop.org.

Wine & Crime
Fear factor: You’ll be laughing too hard to feel afraid.
Three true crime-obsessed gal pals get together to knock back a few bottles of rosé and chat about murder, mystery, and mayhem.
Podcast | Find out more.

Cover art for the Wine and Crime true crime & humor podcast. Listen for Halloween at home.

For the faint of heart

Jim Harold’s Campfire
Fear factor: It’s more kumbaya than come-and-getcha.
Real people recounting real stories of paranormal encounters and supernatural experiences – believe them or not.
Podcast | Find out more.

Rebel Robin: Surviving Hawkins (A Stranger Things Podcast)
Fear factor: Unless you despise the 80s, there’s nothing to fear here.
Tide yourself over until Season 4 of Stranger Things comes out next year with this drama following Season 3’s spunky Robin Buckley as she explores the challenges she faces for being different in a small town.
Podcast | Find out more.

Cover art of Rebel Robin Stranger Things podcast for Halloween activity.png

Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb
Fear factor: Not as scary as Heath Ledger’s Joker.
A serial killer who only slays on holidays sends Batman on a less-than-festive hunt to stop him before another victim is claimed.
Book | Available on bookshop.org.

Spine tinglers & gut wrenchers to watch well before powering down for the night

Haunted Places
Fear Factor: May send chills up your spine.
Each episode explores a spooky spot – from a cursed abbey and a haunted library to a ghost ship and the Devil’s Chair.
TV | Find out more.

Day of the Dead
Fear factor: The Walking Dead level thrills.
George A. Romero’s genre-defining zombie flick is reimagined as a series following a group of strangers as they struggle to survive an undead invasion.
Movie | Available on Syfy.

Tiny Nightmares: Very Short Stories of Horror edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto
Fear factor: Expect some legit moments of spine-tingling terror.
The easy-to-digest anthology gathers short stories of horror ranging from the luridly fantastic to the all-too-possible.
Book | Available on bookshop.org.

Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah
Fear factor: Brace yourself for some gut-wrenching twists and turns.
A barefoot and bruised young girl shows up at a backwoods cabin claiming she has been sent from the stars to witness five miracles, plunging her new caretakers into a whirlwind of dark drama.
Book | Available on bookshop.org.

Clickbait
Fear factor: You may get rid of all your devices after watching it.
A twisting, turning social media powered whodunnit told from multiple perspectives that will make you suspicious of every character as it barrels towards a you-won’t-see-it-coming conclusion.
Movie | Available on Netflix.