What do you do when you want to get into the spirit of Halloween, but you can’t stomach horror films? Say you want to watch something during a pre on the evening, but you want to keep the mood light. What do you turn to? Thankfully, everything from sitcoms to dramas have been playing on Halloween themes for decades, so there’s plenty to turn to if you fancy something other than a fright this October! Here’s some of our favourite not-so-scary Halloween picks:
I hate to break it to you, but if you aren’t a fan of Andy Samberg, you must be lying to yourself. Even if you don’t like him, every single member of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s cast is charming and hilarious. There’s not really anything to complain about with this show. And it turns out it has a perfect offering for Halloween: each year, Peralta (Samberg) challenges his Captain Raymond Holt (the fantastic Andre Braugher) to a challenge, usually involving a daring heist during a Halloween party. Every iteration of this episode is filled with twists and turns that keep the humour high and the excitement even higher. A perfect choice for a chilled evening with friends.
Shaun of the Dead
Edgar Wright’s zombie parody flick is still a gold standard for anyone hoping to poke fun at the horror genre. Combined with the acting talents of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the film follows two poor working class souls through the trials and tribulations of a zombie apocalypse; including a grumpy stepdad, a resentful ex and her hilariously annoying friends, and that uniquely British desire to wait for it all to blow over in the local pub. If you have a bit of an appetite for horror, the film can get a little gory and creepy at points, but the focus is largely on the parody of classic horror motifs.
This one isn’t a comedy, but it’s not a horror either (unless you think anything Spielberg’s ever made a horror). Sure it’s got a monster and strange disappearances and a creepy synth soundtrack, but this Netflix original series is a drama at heart. And boy, is it a good one. Three young friends looking into the disappearance of their friend, another creepy kid who may or may not have strange powers, and plenty of angsty teen drama on top of all that. Netflix really knocked it out of the park with this one, and with the second season right around the corner, now might be a good time to get acquainted with the Upside Down.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil
Like Shaun of the Dead, this comedy (starring Alan Tudyk, quite possibly the most adorable man on the planet) leans heavily into the horror it parodies at times, plays out like a fantastic comedy of errors. The setup is pretty standard: a group of teenaged slasher-fodder go on a holiday to the woods, and encounter a pair of hillbillies they assume are creepy murderers. But here’s the catch: the hillbillies are possibly the nicest two people in the world, and all the murders are brought on by the kids themselves, trying to catch the oblivious protagonists. It’s not exactly revolutionary, but it’s got a lot of heart, and it’s well worth a watch.
What We Do in the Shadows
This is hands down one of the funniest films to have been released over the last decade. Directed by the brilliant Taika Waititi, and starring Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame (he’s also the giant crab in Moana). The film is a mockumentary following four flat sharing vampires in Auckland, New Zealand. There’s a lot of charm in this movie; it has a fantastic way of taking the ‘extra’ out of the extraordinary (in the first scene, the centuries-old vampires argue about who’s supposed to do the dishes), and it’s dorky humour never fails to amuse. Watch out for the scene where they encounter a pack of werewolves, led by Rhys Darby in top form (what are we? Werewolves, not swear-wolves). Truly an underrated classic.