The only Halloween tradition that even comes close to trick 'r treating is watching a scary movie. Here's a few to quench your thirst for frights:
The Evil Dead - Rated R
Sam Raimi directed this very campy cabin-in-the-woods horror story in 1981 starring Bruce Campbell (one of my favorites) as Ash Williams, a college student who heads to a remote cabin with his closest friends. In the cabin, they find the "Necronomicon ex Mortiis" aka "Book of the Dead" along with a recording of a scientist reading passages from the book. Curiosity gets the best of them and they play the recording and read the book which unleashes a terrible evil spirit in the forest. One by one, the spirit takes the group of vacationers, until there is one man standing.
The Evil Dead is filled with frights and gore. It was made on a very low budget but still stands the test of time as one of the best horror films ever made. Raimi and Campbell produced a remake of the film last spring which had some success at the box office. If you can't find the 1981 version, then this newer one is almost as good.
Paranormal Activity - Rated R
Paranormal Activity is a film that really reinvigorated the horror film genre. It uses a found footage style to document what happens when the owners of a haunted house try to contact the spirit visitors. So far it's launched 3 sequels with a spinoff and a new film coming in 2014.
Shaun of the Dead - Rated R
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and director Edgar Wright recently wrapped up what they've dubbed "The Cornetto Trilogy" with last summer's "End of the World" that all started with the Zombie/Comedy Shaun of the Dead. It's a very funny British comedy about a lovelorn, loser Shaun (Simon Pegg) who becomes a hero to his friends when a zombie outbreak threatens the world.
The Sixth Sense - Rated PG-13
Most adults have already seen this movie but teens were about 5 or 6-years-old when this was released so they don't know about the big "surprise". About a boy who communicates with dead people and seeks out the help of a psychologist, The Sixth Sense can feel a little slow at times but those who have seen it know that they payoff of the film is worth sitting through it.
Poltergeist - Rated PG
Steven Spielberg produced this teen-friendly yet still frightening film about a family who unknowingly purchase home that was built on an ancient burial ground. When strange things begin to unfold and the youngest child, who speaks to "the TV people" ("they're he-e-ere!") and is sucked into a closet disappearing from our reality, the family call in a clairvoyant and professional exorcist to examine the house. The investigator makes a shocking discovery: their daughter is alive in the house, but is in another spectral plane.
Mama - Rated PG-13
My 12-year old wanted to watch a scary movie last summer so after doing a little research, I decided that Mama might be something he could sit through. He watched it alone in his room and while he said it was really scary, he didn't have trouble going to sleep and we don't know of any residual nightmares.
Mama is a supernatural thriller that tells the tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day their mother was murdered. Years later, they are rescued and begin a new life but something still wants to come and tuck them in at night.
Ernest Scared Stupid - Rated PG
When I was a kid, I loved the Ernest P. Worrell movies. Whether he was going to camp, going to jail, saving Christmas, or being scared stupid, the movies were a lot of fun and offered good clean goofy humor that kids will love.
In Ernest Scared Stupid, Ernest builds a tree house for a neighborhood kid and accidentally releases an ugly, evil-tempered troll who hates all children and turns them into wooden sculptures to help give life to his troll army.
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - Unrated
If there a classis Halloween movie that everyone should watch, this is it. Most of us have grown up with the Peanuts gang and this one finds Linus determined to see the mythical Great Pumpkin instead of going around and getting candy. It's a simple movie with simple animation with a lot of heart.
The Nightmare before Christmas - Rated PG
In this stop motion animation from Tim Burton, the Pumpkin King is bored with his job in Halloweenland and turns his sights on Christmastown and tries to understand what it means.