We’re officially less than two weeks away from Halloween. While Spooky Season is almost over, we think that now is as good a time as ever to get into the holiday spirit.
You might recall that this year Disney put out streaming guides for what to watch on both Disney+ and Hulu. Dubbed Hallowstream and Huluween respectively, they highlighted more of the newest pieces of content to hit their platforms such as Hocus Pocus 2 and Grimcutty. Because there is so much older content worth watching too, we at The DisInsider decided to compile a list of our own Disney streaming recommendations. These aren’t just films we think you should watch; these are classics we watch habitually every year ourselves.
Below, you’ll find a curated list of most of our staff’s go-to Halloween watches, as well as some of the reasons these specials, shows, or movies matter. While some are obvious choices, others are niche enough that we hope you either revisit or watch for the first time this year.
Premise: When a young girl living with her secret witch mother learns she too is a witch, she must help her witch grandmother save Halloweentown from evil forces.
Reason(s): Breanna and Sam of our Walt’s Apartment Podcast both agreed that Halloweentown encompasses everything that’s great about both Disney Channel Original Movies and Halloween. Our writer Josh called it “a wonderful love letter to one of the best seasons.”
2. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Premise: Jack Skellington, King of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.
Reason(s): If you’ve seen the movie you probably know why people love it so much, but the fact that it’s arguably the only interchangeable Halloween/Christmas movie makes it required viewing for all cinephiles – let alone Disney fans.
3. Hocus Pocus
Premise: A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.
Reason(s): A literal cult classic that generated so much buzz that a sequel was made nearly two decades later. Do we have to say anymore?
Premise: When a boy’s beloved dog passes away suddenly, he attempts to bring the animal back to life through a powerful science experiment.
Reason(s): Our writer Matt C. says that even though he does also love Tim Burton’s live-action original, he feels that this one’s aesthetic is perfectly reminiscent of Universal’s classic monster movies. He calls it “a love letter” to that time period in film.
5. Don’t Look Under The Bed
Premise: A teen enlists the help of an imaginary friend named Larry Houdini to deal with a prank-playing bogeyman, who’s framing her for his dastardly deeds.
Reason(s): Writer and co-host of the News from the Castle podcast Amber calls Don’t Look Under the Bed one of the rare DCOMs that is “genuinely frightening.” She admits that even her dad got spooked watching it with her as a kid. She adds the characters and the set design are “fun and eclectic,” but nothing compares to the film’s surprisingly profound theme about growing up and the not-so-visible line between childhood and adulthood. Dempsey smiles, nods, and agrees with all of this as he hides the fact that this movie made him crap his pants once.
Picked by: Shawn
Premise: Blending the style of classic sitcoms with the MCU, this series finds former Avengers Wanda Maximoff and Vision living their ideal suburban lives. But not all is what it seems.
Reason(s): If you know Shawn, or you listen to the Walt’s Apartment Podcast, you’ll know exactly why he loves this show. If you don’t, the reason is very simply Wanda.
7. Muppets Haunted Mansion
Picked by: Jackson
Premise: On Halloween night, Gonzo and Pepé the King Prawn are challenged to spend one night in the iconic Haunted Mansion.
Reason(s): While this is one of the most recent Halloween specials released by Disney, our writer Jackson calls it “a dream come true” because of how perfectly it blends two of his favorite things: Muppets and Disney Parks.
8-11. Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Coco, The Great Mouse Detective, and Muppet Treasure Island
Picked by: Sarah
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks: An apprentice witch, three kids and a cynical magician conman search for the missing component to a magic spell to be used in the defense of Britain in World War II.
- Coco: Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.
- The Great Mouse Detective: Basil, the rodent Sherlock Holmes, investigates the kidnapping of a toy maker and uncovers its link to his archenemy, Professor Ratigan.
- Muppet Treasure Island: The Muppets’ twist on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale.
Reason(s): Sarah acknowledges that although the last two seem like random choices, the moment that Ratigan becomes feral in The Great Mouse Detective gives the film some strong horror vibes. She also says Muppet Treasure Island makes her list because she thinks all “pirates are Halloweeny.”
12. The Princess Bride
Picked by: Kathryn
Premise: While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him the story of a farmboy-turned-pirate who encounters numerous obstacles, enemies and allies in his quest to be reunited with his true love.
Reason(s): Our critic Kathryn says that there’s something so “fantastical” about this film, and that it’s so festive that watching it feels like you’re a part of the story. She says watching it evokes the same joy you feel when you get dress up on Halloween.
13. Monsters Inc.
Picked by: Richard
Premise: In order to power the city, monsters have to scare children so that they scream. However, the children are toxic to the monsters, and after a child gets through, two monsters realize things may not be what they think.
Reason(s): Richard says that although the film is about monsters – and frightened him as a kid – Boo’s “heartfelt” story is one that will leave people of all ages crying.
14. The Simpsons: Any ‘Treehouse of Terror’ Episode
Picked by: Matt S.
Premise: Annual Halloween-themed non-canonical Simpsons episodes that spoof horror movies and TV series.
Reason(s): There are so many of these episodes that they could make up their own TV series or season. Definitely worth a binge session.
15. Trick or Treat
Picked by: Alexis
Premise: Before DuckTales, there was Trick or Treat. When Donald’s nephews come over to his house in their Halloween costumes, he dumps water on them and laughs at his trick. A witch sees this and decides to help the kids seek revenge.
Reason(s): Despite being a short, watching the witch help the nephews get their candy back is a treat in and of itself.
16. Boy Meets World: “And Then There Was Shawn”
Picked by: Dempsey
Premise: In this spooky episode, Corey and the gang find themselves locked in the school during detention. But they are not alone.
Reason(s): Easily one of the best 22 minutes of television ever produced. Short, snappy, and effective, it transports you into this nightmare scenario that may or may not be a metaphor for an internal struggle one of the main characters is having. Even if you’ve never seen an episode of the show, this one episode is worth watching for the sheer ridiculousness alone. And Dempsey guarantees it’ll get you hooked.
17. The Lonesome Ghosts
Picked by: Skyler
Premise: Mickey, Donald and Goofy run the “Ajax Ghost Exterminators” agency. One day they get a call to drive out four ghosts from a haunted mansion. The task proves to be anything but easy.
Reason(s): That’s right. If you’ve been wondering what the OG “Disney Daddy” likes to watch every Halloween – and recommends you do too – it’s this classic 85-year-old short featuring everyone’s favorite Disney trio. And if you want to know why he loves it so much, you’ll just have to check it out for yourself!
What do you think of these recommendations? Sound off below!
You can stream all of them out exclusively on Disney+ now.