Staff picks: Favorite Halloween movie or TV special

Films that make us go “EEK!” are a cinema fixture year-round, but they hit screens big and small most often around Halloween. Not everyone on The Bark staff is big on true terror, so as you’ll see, most of our writers stuck to the more light-hearted side of Halloween movies and TV series when picking their favorites.

I don’t know what the best scary/ Halloween movie is. The most recent Halloweenish film I have watched was Little Vampires which isn’t all that great. Sorry, I don’t watch that many movies… [Ed Dudrick]

My favorite scary movie is not even that scary but is about one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. Casper the Friendly Ghost is by far my favorite Halloween movie. I mean, it scared me when I was like, 4, so I guess that classifies it as a scary movie. I don’t watch a lot of scary movies and Casper is a beast, so I went with his movie. Not only is he awesome, but he is friendly too. How many other ghosts do you know that are friendly? Zip. [Graham Benefiel]

Coraline is amazingly creepy and the most amazing “children’s” Halloween movie created. Coraline is a neglected little girl who discovers a world full of fun and excitement. She soon finds out that her new world comes with a dark side that is unbelievably creepy. If the animations before the new world weren’t enough, the creepy people with button eyes made this movie one of the creepiest, scariest movies I’d ever seen as a child. This movie was a gateway to the next level for me in scary movies and I can now proudly say that I’ve watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre. [Katie Matthews]

I’m a big chicken so I refuse to participate in scary movies. I do, however, love anything directed by Tim Burton, so I’d have to say The Nightmare Before Christmas is my favorite scary/Halloween film. This twisted tale intertwines the polar opposite holidays of Christmas and Halloween. Jack Skellington stumbles upon the doors of Christmas Land while playing fetch with his trusty ghost dog Zero and falls in love the idea of it. Since he comes from a realm that has Halloween tunnel vision year round, he doesn’t quite grasp the concept. Though his ragdoll love interest advises him against it, he schemes to kidnap Santa Claus and attempts to create his own form of Christmas that ends up disturbing children worldwide. It provides the creepy factor that goes along with the Halloween season without making me want to sleep with all my lights on. [Zoey Line]

The connection in my mind between Disney’s Halloweentown and all the joy and whimsy of the Halloween season is uncanny. There’s not much more I can say about this movie that childhood nostalgia can’t say for itself. [Allie Gruszkiewicz]

When I think of Halloween, I inevitably think of Goosebumps. That goofy series encompassed all Octobers of my childhood. I waited anxiously for the marathons to come on TV. Goosebumps in all its cheesiness was the highlight of the Halloweens in my younger years. [Emily Price]

One of the best annual Halloween-themed TV specials is The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror.” The episode usually involves three scary-themed short storylines. While most of them are funny, there are a few that have legitimately frightened me. The most memorable is when the Simpsons’ house turns into an evil machine. That episode still haunts me to this day. [Hannah McElroy]

Hocus Pocus is the greatest Halloween movie ever. Hands down. No questions asked. End of story. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy are hilarious as three witch sisters who are resurrected on Halloween night and create havoc for three kids who try to stop them from sucking the souls out of all the children. It sounds creepy, but honestly it’s just funny. There’s dancing, singing, zombies, a talking cat, teenager angst/romance. It’s 90s and Halloween filmmaking at its best. [Kelsey Kinzer]

To be honest, I don’t like horror movies because I just don’t want to put dark things in my brain, so for this week’s staff pick I have to go with the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It documents Linus van Pelt’s adventure in catching the Great Pumpkin. What’s more scary than watching your favorite cartoon characters sit in a secluded pumpkin patch waiting for an apparition of a pumpkin? Nothing. Okay, well, maybe a lot of other things, but while you’re busy filling yourself with blood-pressure-raising excitement, I encourage you to revisit the classic that is It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. [Litza Craig]

Unfortunately, most of the horror movies I would write about are R-rated, so my pick is Poltergeist, which has a surprising PG rating. One of the most chilling horror lines is uttered here, from the spooky little girl: “They’re here….” [Helen Law]

Though its most dedicated fans will be the first to point out that it’s far from perfect, there’s a reason The Walking Dead is one of the most-viewed and best-reviewed dramas of recent years. The writing is sometimes dodgy, to be sure, and the show could use more character depth, but whereas most shows about the zombie apocalypse may focus on battle with the undead, The Walking Dead leans toward more personal relationships, presented with beautiful cinematography (though that doesn’t mean there aren’t some seriously awesome zombie fights). [Jack H. Evans]