Snacks so good they should have been written into the scripts. Whether you’re throwing a spooky soiree or just need some scary movie comfort food, we’ve got you covered. These munchies pay homage to our favorite flicks, characters, and scenes from all the classics.
As if you needed an excuse to snuggle up and snack your way through a haunting film, it turns out science says there are research-backed reasons we need Halloween. Holidays like Halloween and Dia de los Muertos help ritualize our fears, mainly of death. “Halloween rituals turn horror into play, death into levity, gore into laughter,” says UC Berkeley psychologist Greater Good Science Center co-founder Dacher Keltner. Halloween is a ritual that helps unite families and communities; gives us the opportunity to reap the emotional benefits of pretend play; helps us to better prepare for things in life that are genuinely scary; and of course, allows us to indulge in some mood-boosting, heart-healthy dark chocolate.
So now that research has blessed your treat-fueled, scary movie marathon, here are some of our favorite films — and a perfect snack to pair with each of them.
“The Blair Witch Project” (1999) — Chocolaty S’mores Bars
What’s scarier than being stuck in reportedly haunted woods with an evil witch-spirit in rural Maryland? Being stuck in the woods without snacks. These s’mores bars take your campfire favorite to the next level. But beware, they’ve been known to magically disappear. Get the recipe from Taste of Home.
“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) — Chocolate Reese’s Pieces Cookies
How to Make Friends with an Alien 101: leave a trail of Reese’s Pieces outside of your house. That was the takeaway from “E.T.,” right? Honor a friendship that crossed galaxies with another classic pairing: chocolate and peanut butter. Get the recipe from Chocolate With Grace.
“Hocus Pocus” (1993) and “Hocus Pocus 2” (2022) — “Hocus Pocus” Spellbook Brownies
I thought we learned our lesson not to mess with Winifred Sanderson’s spellbook… Just whatever you do, don’t invite your virgin friend over and then light a Black Flame Candle on All Hallow’s Eve, OK? The only magic we need comes from these fudgey brownies. Get the recipe from Half Baked Harvest.
“Practical Magic” (1998) — Midnight Margaritas
Tequila … magic … pretty much the same thing. Don’t we all wish we could be dancing around the kitchen with Sally, Gilly, and the Aunts making midnight margaritas? Although warning, there might be a pretty bewitching hangover. Get the recipe from Verbena Apothecary.
“The Mummy” (1999, 2017) — Mummy Brie
Layers of flakey, buttery pastry atop warm, baked brie … not a snack you want to keep under wraps. The brie takes just a few ingredients and is ready in under an hour, leaving plenty of time to catch all the mummy action your heart desires. The only question — Tom Cruise or Brendan Fraser? Get the recipe from Delish.
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001) — Butter Beer
Despite its name, this creamy, sweet, butterscotch-flavored drink is actually non-alcoholic. But, if all the Quidditch is bringing out your competitive side, you can try one of these “Harry Potter” drinking games. Get the recipe from The Food Hacker.
“Carrie” (1976) — Spicy and Spooky Bloody Marys
At least your prom wasn’t this bad. And if it was, have another Bloody Mary. Get the recipe from The Spruce Eats.
Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” (1992) — Dracula Dentures
Let’s get back to the basics — vampires who don’t “sparkle” or integrate into American high schools as eternally gorgeous 17 year olds. We want Transylvania-based bloodsuckers and stakes through the heart. Oh, and cookie sandwiches. Get the recipe from Delish.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) — Spiked and Spicy Hot Chocolate
Slow down, it’s not Christmas yet. But, you can get into the yuletide spirit a little early with a spiked hot chocolate as you watch Jack Skellington journey to Christmas Town. The wacky world of Tim Burton can transform any night into Halloween. Get the recipe from Best Decanter Sets.
“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966) — Spiced Pumpkin Punch
Revel in childhood nostalgia while sipping on a delightfully adult drink. Although, after a few too many of these you might start seeing the Great Pumpkin, just like poor Linus. Get the recipe from Domesticate Me.
“Casper” (1995) — Halloween Ghost Pancakes
Find yourself a ghost who makes you pancakes for breakfast. While we don’t all have a friendly ghost who will cook us up some morning flapjacks, we do have this recipe for fluffy Halloween Ghost Pancakes. I’d call that a win (ghosts can get clingy anyway). Get the recipe from The Novice Chef.
“Halloweentown” (1998) — The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
“The Haunted Mansion” (2003) — Crystal Ball Cocktail
View this post on Instagram
The Evers family would have been toast without Madame Leota in her crystal ball. But, with two-layers of frozen, boozy goodness — you definitely don’t need a fortune teller to see where the night is headed. Get the recipe from Thrillist.
“Ghostbusters” (1984) — Nutter Butter Ghost Cookies
For a timeless movie the whole family loves, you need a treat the whole family can enjoy. This creative Halloween twist on the classic childhood cookie is something that will appeal to any generation. Get the recipe from Life. Family. Joy.
“It: Chapter One” (2017) — Super Easy Funnel Cakes
Clowns may be ruined forever, but carnival food shouldn’t be. Pennywise is gone, right? We have nothing to worry about, right? Get the childhood gang together and enjoy this treat with friends, just in case. Get the recipe from A Beautiful Mess.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) — Espresso Martini
One, Two, Freddy’s Coming for You… Don’t fall asleep! Better get to making these espresso martinis. Get the recipe from The Spruce Eats.
“The Exorcist” (1973) — Throwing Up Pumpkin Guacamole
“The Exorcist” has long been considered one of the scariest horror flicks of all time, and was the first horror film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. The best part is, now you can re-create one of the most famous scenes in your own home this Halloween! Get the recipe from Somewhat Simple.
“The Addams Family” (1991) — Halloween Meat and Cheese Board
I’d like to think Morticia Addams and her impeccable, refined taste for all things undead would appreciate this Halloween-themed charcuterie board. If not, well, everyone loves a good charcuterie board anyway. Get the recipe from Sugar and Charm.
“The Conjuring” (2013) — Dark Chocolate Oreo Pretzel Bark
So, do you remember that tree from the Conjuring movie…? Get the recipe from This Gal Cooks.
“Halloween” (1978) — Peanut Butter Monster Munch Halloween Party Mix
Pass the popcorn — with 10 films in the franchise, you’re going to need it. Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis made her film debut playing Laurie Strode in the inaugural “Halloween” film, and has been gracing our screens ever since.
Looking for Halloween Happenings on the North Shore? Check out this list of events from Chicago’s North Shore Convention & Visitors Bureau.
How to Help:
If you loved learning about why science gives us a great reason to celebrate Halloween, you can find lots more scientific research turned into stories, tips, and tools for a better life within Greater Good magazine, published by the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at the University of California, Berkeley. Make a one-time donation or become a supporting member to help them continue to produce helpful, inspiring content for a more meaningful life.
Madison Muller is a senior at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, learning to navigate the contemporary media environment with compassion and candor. She enjoys writing about health, travel, and humanity. You can always find her with a coffee in hand. Madison is a proud supporter of the National Eating Disorders Association.