The Greatest Trick-or-Treat Scenes in Film History
Trick or treat movie scenes come in a variety of styles. Obviously, horror movies have long capitalized on Halloween and its potential for scariness. Other genres have made use of the tradition, too. Comedies have played trick-or-treating for laughs, dramas have used it to advance characterization, and science-fiction films have utilized it to contrast life on Earth with aliens and their technology.
The best Halloween scenes in movies are not gratuitous. They add something of value to the story or help us see their heroes -- and sometimes their villains -- in an important way. A number of these moments have become classics. Who doesn't remember the titular alien gazing at trick-or-treaters in wonder in E.T.? Or Boo Radley saving Jem and Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird? There's real power in these sequences. Others are gems from smaller, lesser-seen films. American Splendor, for example, uses trick-or-treating as a way to help show how the main character proudly marches to the beat of his own drummer.
This is your chance to weigh in on the cinematic trick or treat scenes that you think are the best. We've assembled a list of the most memorable examples from various genres. Vote up all of your favorites.
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Although it wasn't a big hit in its initial release, Hocus Pocus has become a cult favorite in the intervening years. Its beloved trick-or-treat scene finds siblings Max (Omri Katz) and Dani (Thora Birch) fighting and then making up as they struggle to accept moving to a new town.
- Actors: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch
- Released: 1993
- Directed by: Kenny Ortega
Michael Myers roams the streets of Haddonfield as children trick-or-treat. He wanders into a house, uses a knife to dispatch of the woman inside, bypasses a baby, then goes back outside among the candy-seeking children in this eerie sequence from the 2018 Halloween.
- Actors: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers
- Released: 1978
- Directed by: John Carpenter
A darkly funny scene in Trick 'r Treat finds school principal Steven Wilkins trying to dispose of the body of a child he poisoned. This is interrupted when candy-seeking kids ring his doorbell. Wilkins' shirt is covered with blood, but the Halloweeners think he's just wearing a costume.
- Actors: Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker, Leslie Bibb, Rochelle Aytes
- Released: 2007
- Directed by: Michael Dougherty
E.T. is covered in a sheet and taken trick-or-treating with Elliott and Michael. When he sees a kid in a Yoda mask, he moves toward him, saying "home, home." This is a nod from director Steven Spielberg to his friend, Star Wars creator George Lucas.
- Actors: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore, C. Thomas Howell
- Released: 1982
- Directed by: Steven Spielberg
In a humorous twist, Jack Skellington's three minions -- Lock, Shock, and Barrel -- ring Santa's doorbell. When he answers, they say "trick or treat," then throw a bag over his head and kidnap him, thereby setting the plot in motion.
- Actors: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix
- Released: 1993
- Directed by: Henry Selick
Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) is teaching his young "son" Julian to trick-or-treat. When the owner of the first home they approach responds with a rude gesture, Sonny makes his way into the house and physically forces the man to give the boy a box of cereal, some CDs, and a watch. The unlucky man is played by Dennis Dugan, who also directed.
- Actors: Adam Sandler, Joey Lauren Adams, Jon Stewart, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse
- Released: 1999
- Directed by: Dennis Dugan