52 voters

The Greatest Trick-or-Treat Scenes in Film History

Updated September 3, 2019 220 votes 52 voters 1.9k views16 items

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. 

  • Max And Dani Fight In 'Hocus Pocus'
    Video: YouTube

    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: Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, Thora Birch, Penny Marshall, Kathy Najimy
    • Released: 1993
    • Directed by: Kenny Ortega
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  • E.T. Meets Yoda In 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial'
    Video: YouTube

    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: Drew Barrymore, Erika Eleniak, Debra Winger, Robert MacNaughton, C. Thomas Howell
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: Steven Spielberg
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  • Santa Is Kidnapped In 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'
    Video: YouTube

    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: Paul Reubens, Catherine O'Hara, Danny Elfman, Greg Proops, Glenn Shadix
    • Released: 1993
    • Directed by: Henry Selick
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  • Boo Radley Saves The Day In 'To Kill A Mockingbird'
    Video: YouTube

    In one of the most famous trick-or-treat scenes in all of cinema, Jem and Scout -- the kids in To Kill a Mockingbird -- are attacked by Bob Ewell while out on Halloween night. Boo Radley arrives to fight Bob off and keep the children safe.

    • Actors: Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, William Windom, Alice Ghostley, Brock Peters
    • Released: 1962
    • Directed by: Robert Mulligan
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