I think it’s a universally accepted truth that Christmas can’t be complete without Home Alone playing on the TV. It’s a classic, it’s a tradition and we all love it for a reason. There are some traditional Halloween films that the hard-core fans of this holiday never fail to watch, preferably curled up on a sofa under a blanket with a pumpkin spiced latte and gingerbread. Here are my top three picks of films that I think you should watch this year if you really want to get in the mood for a night of Trick or Treating:

Hocus Pocus (1993): The Sanderson Sisters of the city of Salem lure young children into their house to perform a spell and suck the life force out of them to become young again. The age-old tale of brother saving their younger sister is what we see in this film. Featuring a talking cat, a witch flying on a hoover, a lovely little twist on the song ‘I put a spell on you’ and the line: “He’s a good zombie”, it’s a truly memorable movie. If those things haven’t convinced you already, you should give it a go for the sisters’ (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) delightfully weird but somehow endearing clumsiness and utterly sarcastic lines. Trust me, it’s worth watching! Or re-watching…

Casper (1995): Casper is a 12-year-old-boy. He lives in a big mansion and he’s bullied by his uncles, with whom he shares the house. He is alone and sad when he catches a glimpse of a beautiful girl on TV and he’s a goner. Nothing extraordinary, is there? Only, Casper is a ghost. His home is an abandoned house in Friendship, Maine and when the new heiress to the property desperately wants to get rid of Casper and his uncles, he uses it to his advantage. That pretty girl on TV? Her father just happens to be a shrink of ‘The Living Impaired’, helping those who have unfinished business in their passing. So Kat (Christina Ricci) and her father move into the mansion and we witness how a heart-warming friendship forms between Kat and Casper, that is shadowed by the fact that he is, in fact, not alive. Kat is sassy with a dry sense of humour, Casper is adorable with his boyish crush and the three abusive uncles turn out to be not-so-bad, after all.

3.) Halloweentown (1998): I would think the title speaks for itself. It’s a classic Halloween family film with a considerable amount of ridiculousness – masks, costumes and a magical microwave; that was an especially nice touch in my opinion. The film features a rather simple but sweet storyline. Debbie Reynolds is mostly carrying the film on her shoulders alone, only complemented by a couple of memorably witty lines from the younger characters. And if you feel curious about what happens with these folks after the first film, make sure to catch the sequels: Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge, Halloweentown High and Return to Halloweentown.

And now, a few honourable mentions that did not make my top three but are absolute Halloween classics:

Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): a real classic for the lovers of cartoon and musicals.

Little Vampire (2000): a story of a little boy befriending the vampire from his nightmares.

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993): a charming film with the Olsen twins with a subtle wink at Shakespeare’s witches hinted in the title.