It’s officially spooky season. But how do you celebrate Halloween when normal life is already so scary? What exactly is Halloween going to look like this year? The lockdown has certainly put limits on the Halloween activities we love — trick-or-treating, costume parties and giant haunted houses — but we can still celebrate in socially distant, safe ways. You can throw a game night with your quarantine pod filled with spooky games, enjoy some Halloween treats at home in your cozy onesie Halloween costume, or host a Halloween movie night.
Our vote is for the latter option. There are many reasons an outdoor Halloween movie night is a solid alternative to other Halloween festivities given the current health crisis — it’s possible to stay socially-distanced, it’s not very hard to plan and you can invite friends and neighbors to come and enjoy the safe, spooky fun. There are some COVID guidelines you should follow to ensure the movie night is safe for all attendees — including encouraging COVID tests from your guests beforehand, keeping a 6-foot distance between pods during the movie and having plenty of hand sanitizer around. You’ll need a fairly large outdoor space to make the social distancing happen as well as a house wall, garage door or other flat, white surface to project the movie onto.
You can divide up Halloween-themed treats onto separate plates, separate cocktails into different sealable jars and ask everyone to bring their own blankets. Your friends will probably all be very excited to have somewhere to go on Halloween, and you can still enjoy All Hallow’s Eve without risking your health and well-being.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to host a Halloween movie night that will feel almost normal. We’ve included everything but the costumes.
Choose the Right Horror Movie
When it comes to picking out the perfect scary movie for your COVID-friendly Halloween party, consider sticking to a concise theme from the broader horror genre. This will give you a better idea for not only your movie selections but also for decorations and themed treats you might serve. You can opt for Vampires (think Dracula, Underworld) or a scarier option like ghosts (The Shining, Paranormal Activity, or The Conjuring), psycho killers (Halloween, The Texas Chain Massacre, Friday the 13th), or even a retro Alfred Hitchcock theme (Psycho, Rear Window). You can also check out the scariest horror movies on Netflix for some inspiration or sign up for Disney+ for family-friendly flicks.
However, after the terrible, horrible, no good year we’ve had, we recommend lighter Halloween fare for your socially-distanced Halloween party. Try a horror-comedy like Cabin in the Woods or Halloween classics like Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, The Addams Family or Rocky Horror Picture Show. Hosting a Halloween Movie Night for the little ones? There are plenty of age-appropriate options: The Corpse Bride, Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, or It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.
Regardless of what you’re watching, snag these selects to have the perfect scary movie marathon this Halloween season. If you can’t find your movie on your streaming service of choice, you can rent pretty much anything via Amazon Prime.
Everything You Need for a Safe & Spooky Halloween Party
We’ve got everything you need to have a killer, COVID-safe, Halloween movie night including:
- Our favorite Halloween decor
- Popcorn Machine
- COVID supplies
- and more treats and goodies
1. Halloween Skull Beer Draft Mug Glasses
If you’re hosting a movie night for grown-ups, present your spirit selection in these trendy skull-shaped beer mugs. This set of four glass clear drinking mugs is great for beer during the party and for having in your house for coffee or tea afterwards. They’ve got a sturdy design and a handle that’s comfortable to hold. Each one is 18 oz. and they’re suitable for both special occasions and daily use at home.
2. KAILEDI Halloween String Lights
String lights can add an incredible amount of ambiance and decor to an outdoor space, and these LED Halloween lights are perfect for dressing up your backyard or patio for your movie night. This pack comes with three different strings of lights — pumpkins, ghosts and bats. They have a 3D design for adding festive light and two different modes you can choose from — flashing or steady, depending on your preference. The string lights are battery operated so there’s no need to have a plug nearby.
3. Halloween Plastic Reusable Cups 50-Pack
Another option for keeping drinks separate is this pack of Halloween party cups you can purchase easily on Amazon. The pack comes with 50 cups so you’ll have plenty in case people lose track of theirs and need to pick up a new one. They can be filled with liquid or even candy and snacks. Each cup is 6″ tall and can hold up to eight ounces of liquid.
4. Halloween Treat Bags
GREAT FOR DISTRIBUTING TREATS
Another great way to safely enjoy Halloween treats at your movie night is to separate them into treat bags so each guest gets their own. What’s more, you avoid touching the same serving utensils or food items. This pack of 24 comes with handles on each bag so they’ll be easy to carry.
5. Halloween Party Tooth Picks
GREAT FOR SNACKS
One way to keep snacks cleanly is to separate them out onto different toothpicks so people don’t have to touch the same utensils and/or food. These 3″ Halloween tooth picks will do just the trick and come in the shape of ghosts, bats, spiders and pumpkins. Add a spooky and COVID-friendly effect to your Halloween party snack table with this pack of 72 picks.
6. Halloween Party Supplies Pack
FULL SUPPLIES PACK
This Halloween supplies pack has everything you need when it comes to disposable party supplies for distributing snacks, drinks and setting up your treat table in a safe way. It includes party plates and napkins for 24 different people as well as 12 hanging swirls for decoration and two table cloths. If you use disposable plates, spread everything out and add some hand sanitizer to the mix.
7. Halloween Hand Sanitizer Holders
While hand-washing is superior to hand sanitizer in terms of preventing infection and the spread of COVID-19, hand sanitizer is the next best option for your outdoor movie night where access to a bathroom may be limited. This set comes with sanitizer bottles as well as Halloween-themed holders that you can station easily around the party as a reminder to stay safe and germ-free. The pack also comes with a small funnel which makes filling the sanitizer holders easy. After the party you can use the carabiner and keychain attached to each case to tote the sanitizer around with you when outside of the house.
8. Apothic Wine
Wine nights and horror movies go hand in hand, because who doesn’t love a slight buzzy scare? This year, our go-to spooky wine brand Apothic teamed up with scary movie icon Sarah Michelle Gellar to create the Evening of Intrigue: Choose Your Apothic Journey virtual experience. What is it, you may ask? Well, we don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a spooky at-home journey that’s best enjoyed with a group of your best pals and a few glasses of Apothic. And, let us be frank here, SPY was sent a bottle to review, and our girl Buffy did not disappoint. It’s definitely an exciting way to spice up your horror movie-filled night.
9. Olde Midway Store Popcorn Machine and Cart
SPOOKY POPCORN DECOR
If you really want to go all-out for your Halloween Party, then we’ve got the perfect idea. No movie night is complete without popcorn. And what better way to serve your guests than this antique-inspired, gothic popcorn machine? This popcorn maker is designed with a “movie matinee” wording on the front, making it an ideal item for retro horror flick decor. This elegant appliance would work wonderfully with a Vampire or Hitchcock-themed movie night.
10. GenSwin LED Flameless Candles
For rocking an outdoor movie night, nothing sets the spooky mood better than the warm glow of a flickering candle. Each candle pillar within this three-pack features a moving wick for a realistic look. They also come with a remote control, so you don’t have to move from your seat to adjust the lighting. Plus, the smoky-gray glass is perfect for the Halloween season.
11. Halloween Portable Lanterns
Another way to set the mood in your backyard pre-movie is to use these adorable Halloween lanterns with festive colors and spooky designs on the outside. They’re about 5″ tall and 2″ on all sides, a great size for tabletops or entryways. Each one has an orange LED light inside and is durable made for hanging or sitting on the ground, depending on how you want to design your space. The pack comes with four of them, each with a different pattern on it for some fun, Halloween-themed variety.
12. Bomaker Mini WiFi Projector
BEST BUDGET PROJECTOR
If you can’t get to the theater, bring the theater to you. This mini movie projector connects via HDMI for a smooth viewing experience and can also connect via WiFi so there’s no need to buy extra cables or worry about your computer having the correct connection port. It has 6,000 LUX brightness and offers 1280 x 720 native resolution for rich detail in all the gore and horror you’re about to be watching. It can create a large, 80″ x 100″ screen easily and supports fast wireless connections on a variety of devices.
Editor’s Note: We asked SPY’s Tech Editor to help us pick the right movie projectors for your Halloween movie night. Because while you can find a lot of cheap portable projectors on Amazon, these products are notoriously buggy. Of course, high quality portable projectors can also be very expensive. If you have the budget, we would recommend choosing a more expensive option, like this LG Movie Projector or the Nebula Capsule II featured below.
13. Southern Tier Pumking
MOVIE NIGHT BEVERAGE
Why have generic booze during your Halloween movie night? Lift your spirits with this flavorful brew that boasts spicy aromas. It’s not quite pumpkin spice, but it’s still very festive. The drink is inspired by pooka, a creature of Celtic folklore — which will also make for a great Halloween costume when the big night arrives.
14. Outdoor Fire Pit
An outdoor fire pit is another great way to add ambiance and warmth to your movie night so your guests stay comfortable. This fire pit kit from Amazon has a bowl that makes controlling the flames easy and a stable construction that will last you. The kit also comes with a spark screen and a fire poker for stoking the flames, embers and keeping the warmth going all night.
15. Marshmallow Roasting Sticks
When you see a fire pit, you think s’mores. It’s just a fact of nature. You can also roast marshmallows from a distance if your guests take turns, so grab these roasting sticks and some wipes to sanitize between uses. They’re made of stainless steel and can extend to 34 inches, giving your guests room to spread out and stay safe while preparing their treat. If there’s anything we love more than our favorite Halloween candy, it’s s’mores.
16. Halloween Microplush Throw Blanket
Another way to stay warm is with Halloween-themed blankets, like this plush throw adorned with spooky cats. It’s super soft and perfect for use during an outdoor movie night. It’s 40″ x 50″, making it big enough for one to two guests to share, and is machine washable so you can sanitize it after and use it again and again.
17. Endless Games Store Horror Trivia Card Game
PLAY GAMES DURING INTERMISSION
If and when you need a break from movie-watching, offer a fun activity like a Halloween-themed game of horror movie trivia to keep spirits light and fun. This will encourage more interaction between you and your pals. This horror-themed trivia game set includes cards that will challenge even the most hardcore horror fans.
18. One Night Ultimate Werewolf
ANOTHER BOARD GAME TO CONSIDER
Another great game for a spooky-themed night is One Night Ultimate Werewolf — a murder mystery-esque board game that doesn’t involve a ton of different game pieces and can be played with a large group. You do have to share cards though, so hand sanitizer will be necessary, but the narration happens via a smartphone app so you can spread out once you have your assigned role. You’re split up into werewolves and villagers by the cards. The objective? To kill a werewolf, except if you’re on the werewolf team.
19. Friday the 13th Blu-ray Box Set
WHAT TO WATCH
The truth about streaming is that sometimes platforms just don’t have what you’re looking for, but if you still have physical media, then you don’t have to worry about that problem. And you don’t have to go all the way to Camp Crystal Lake to run into Jason Voorhees. This deluxe collectors edition Blu-ray box set features killer custom artwork and contains all 12 Friday the 13th films, with hours of special features, commentaries and deleted scenes. Plus, it even comes with a little booklet that details the history of the most successful horror series in cinematic history. This item is a total must-have for all horror movie fans.
20. Govee Smart WiFi LED Strip Lights
Set a total vibe to your movie night by illuminating the entire space with changing LED lights. Stick this smart strip behind your TV, and your entire room will glow to the color of your liking. You can simply adjust the shades by using an app on your phone and turn them on/off using Alexa and Google Home, giving you complete control. Since it’s Halloween, a nice orange or purple will do the setting justice.
21. Green Orange Fleece Throw Blanket
No movie night is complete without a comfy blanket. This stylish and practical fleece throw is available in nine different colors, including red, navy, brown or dark gray. And it’s made of a warm, yet breathable polyester material — making this a super soft and lightweight option. You’ll stay cozy throughout the entire flick without sweating your buns off.
22. Nebula Capsule II Smart Mini Projector
BEST PORTABLE PROJECTOR
This portable projector is easy to bring with you anywhere if you’re hosting your movie night at a friend’s place or hosting in a park, courtyard or other outdoor space. The high-quality DLP technology creates a 720p image easily and it can connect to all streaming services so you’ll have no trouble finding the movie you want to watch. The autofocus technology creates a crystal clear image and the speaker can double as a Bluetooth speaker for smartphones so you can play pre-show music.
23. Classic Ouija Board
Want to invite real ghosts and spirits to your Halloween movie night? There’s no better way to do it than with a Ouija board! Grab this classic game in case you want to take things into the spiritual realm, and take advantage of the wisdom that can come from the mystical oracle.