Halloween is an occasion on which you can expect to have the fear of God put up you and have all the bejesus scared right out of you. But on film it is not only the preserve of horror movies. It's just as likely to be used in comedies, family movies and even musicals, although with far less horrifying intent.
Here are ten of the best uses of Halloween ever used on screen. Please rest assured that after the first example they become 100% less likely to make your soil your underwear. N.B. We've only chosen one horror movie moment because otherwise it's too easy.
(Images: All Star)
It was, as the tagline goes, the night he came home. And frankly nobody was pleased to see him, on account of all the killing. But finally, after he'd terrorised his sister (Jamie Lee Curtis) for a number of hours Michael was shot and killed by his psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance). OR WAS HE???
Tina Fey's teen comedy raises a question that occupies many a mind: Why do American Halloween costumes so rarely involve anything scary? When Cady (Lindsay Lohan) turns up to her friends' Halloween party dressed as a zombie bride she's asked why she went with such a strange outfit rather than the accepted norm, Sexy Animal.
If there's one day of the year when you stand a decent chance of taking out your new alien pal without anybody raising an eyebrow, it's Halloween. But you might still need to cover him in a sheet. Extra nerd points for the addition of a small child dressed as Yoda.
On the downside, Daniel (Ralph Macchio) spends Halloween night being chased and then beaten up by martial arts students dressed as skeletons. On the upside, if he hadn't been beaten up then he never would have been saved by Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita) and would then not have become the victor at the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament. So it's swings and roundabouts.
A Nightmare Before Christmas
The head of Halloween, Jack The Pumpkin King, needs a proper introduction, which means an elaborate musical number in Henry Selick's cheerfully dark version of Tim Burton's Christmas/Halloween fable. This took tens of people days and days and days of just moving little models about. Aren't people clever?
We Need To Talk About Kevin
As a story about a woman whose son grows up to become a mass murderer there are many disturbing scenes in Lynne Ramsay’s minor masterpiece. But there are few as quietly upsetting as this extended sequence in which Eva (Tilda Swinton) drives home through streets filled with children enjoying pretending to be monsters and contemplates the monster that she brought into the world.
It's no life being an old horror actor. In Tim Burton's account of the life Ed Wood (Johnny Depp), the man widely known as the worst director in history, Martin Landau plays Bela Lugosi, a man who once terrified audiences as Dracula. But now he can't even scare a group of pint-sized trick-or-treaters.
To Kill A Mockingbird
As Jem and Scout (Philip Alford and Mary Badham) make their way home alone from a school Halloween pageant they’re set upon by an unseen assailant. When Jem is knocked to the floor another mystery man stalks in and saves Scout. One of the best scenes in Robert Mulligan’s perfect adaptation of Harper Lee’s book is enhanced by the fact that Scout can see almost nothing from inside her ham costume and we the audience are similarly blinkered.
American Splendor establishes the personality of its subject, comic book writer Harvey Pekar, early on with this scene of the young Harvey going trick-or-treating with a group of other boys. The woman hands out sweets to all his friends, who are dressed as superheroes. Then she gets to Harvey and asks him what he’s come as. There’s only one obvious answer.
A Disney take on Halloween, it has three witches trying to kill the town's children in order to regain their youth, but in a way that won't scare the younger audience members. In this scene the three sisters (Bette Middler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker) try a song to hypnotise every parent in town to dance themselves to death.