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Elizabeth Breitmeyer / Gavel Media

31 Must-Watch Movies for Every Day in October

Have you ever been sitting on your couch in October, ready to watch a movie that just screams fall, only to end up doom-scrolling on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Max for hours? Well, look no further. This expert-crafted guide (read: two teenage girls) has 31 movies to watch for each day in October. From an enemies-to-lovers fall romance to the iconic slasher Halloween, this list has anything you might want for your fall movie night. So light your apple cider candles, heat up your chai latte, and pull the warm pumpkin bread out of the oven. It’s time to watch a movie. 

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The first movie in the iconic eight-movie series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, is filled with holiday charm. From the floating jack-o-lanterns to the terrifying troll, the Halloween scene invites watchers to embrace real fall magic. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone follows the adventures of Harry Potter and his two best friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. On Harry’s eleventh birthday, he discovers that he is the son of two powerful wizards and that he also possesses magical abilities. As he learns how to navigate the wizarding world, he strives to learn more about himself and his parents' death. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone demonstrates the strength of bravery, the importance of friendship, and that love will always triumph over hatred. 
  2. When Harry Met Sally: One of the greatest rom-coms ever made, When Harry Met Sally is a story of missed connections and asks if men and women can ever be “just” friends. The movie shows Harry Burns and Sally Albright’s twelve-year-long, will-they-won’t-they friendship after meeting during a shared car ride from UChicago to New York City, following their triumphs, pitfalls, and indescribable connection. An undeniable tour de force of acting, writing, and pacing, When Harry Met Sally will make you laugh, cry, and marvel at the way human connection can transcend the times we are apart.
  3. You’ve Got Mail: You’ve Got Mail is perfect for anyone searching for a trope-filled, fall, romantic comedy. The movie follows Kathleen Kelly, the struggling owner of an independent bookstore in New York City, and Joe Fox, the owner of a chain of corporate bookstores. In person, they harbor a deep hatred for each other, as Kathleeen’s business is at the mercy of the corporate chain, Fox Books. When they are anonymously emailing each other under fake names, however, they spark a connection. Who doesn’t want an autumn in New York, enemies to lovers, rival bookstore romance? 
  4. Twilight: Although Twilight is not explicitly Halloween-themed, the dark fall vibes can be felt throughout the entire movie. Bella Swan, a high school student originally from Arizona, moves to rainy Washington. Her life changes when she meets the 108-year-old vampire, Edward Cullen. As they get closer and closer, Edward must learn to resist his vampire urges and protect her from incoming threats. A modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, the Twilight movie explores forbidden love and loyalty. From the rainy backdrop to foggy woods, Twilight is the ultimate cozy under a blanket on a chilly autumn night movie.
  5. Little Women (2019): With over 200 award nominations, Little Women lives up to high expectations. Little Women chronicles the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—in Concord, Massachusetts during the Civil War era. Eventually, the sisters grow up and learn about themselves through their experiences of love and loss. Together they discover that any hardship can be overcome with the power of family. Little Women is perfect for those searching for a little bit of feminism, history, and class with their fall movie night.
  6. Knives Out: Heralding the renaissance of the Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery genre, Knives Out is a dark red, orange, and yellow aesthetic marvel and a masterclass in nuanced acting (once you look past Daniel Craig’s southern accent) with a star-studded cast. After the mysterious death of the patriarch of the affluent Thromby family, their riches on the back of the deceased’s bestselling whodunnit book series, the death is initially ruled a suicide. However, after the famous private detective Benoit Blanc is called in to investigate, the true, violent circumstances of the death are slowly revealed along with the complicated, combative dynamic of the Thromby family. Eventually, only one question remains: who killed Harlan and why? Also, absolutely nothing screams fall like that cable knit sweater that Chris Evans wears in the diner scene.
  7. Stand by Me: When four twelve-year-old best friends, Gordie, Chris, Teddie, and Vern, hear about the disappearance of a boy named Ray in their small Oregon town, they begin a trip to discover his body. Along the way, they encounter a rude junk man, wade through a leech-filled marsh, and go on a journey that teaches them about each other and themselves in a way that will affect them throughout the rest of their lives.
  8. Spirited Away: Perfect for those who want a little bit of a spooky vibe but still want a cute and heartfelt movie, Spirited Away is a story of monsters, kindness, and perseverance. After being separated from her parents when walking through a hidden ghost town, Chihiro is thrown into a secret world of spirits and faced with the task of protecting herself for one night. She, with the help of the friends she meets throughout the night, must outsmart the many monsters she encounters and try to save her and her parents before it is too late. I love this movie so much; everything screams nostalgia and Studio Ghibli perfection wrapped together and sealed with a beautiful bow of spooky October realness. I’ve probably rewatched this every fall since I was about ten, and I have a hard time believing it will ever get stale.
  9. My Babysitter’s a Vampire: 2010 called, and they also think this Disney Channel original is so cheesy that it’s phenomenal. My Babysitter’s a Vampire is exactly what it sounds like: Ethan Morgan, when forced to stay at home with his little sister and her babysitter, finds out that she is both the hottest girl at his high school, Sarah, and (gasp!) a vampire! After Ethan discovers that he can see visions at times when touching someone, Sarah, Ethan, and Benny, Ethan’s best friend, are led to Sarah’s ex-boyfriend’s party. After Ethan sees a vision of Sarah’s ex-boyfriend taking over his hometown by killing their fellow high-school students, Ethan and his friends band together to save their classmates and their town. After you watch the movie, you should also watch the T.V. show that got canceled way too early and is a perfectly cringy October binge-watch.
  10. Practical Magic: Practical Magic, starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, follows two magical sisters with a unique bond. Growing up, the two sisters live with their witchy aunts who teach them all about magic. They learn that their mother cursed all of her future descendent’s lovers to die. Although the sisters avoided magic for much of their lives, they eventually intertwine themselves in a murder and must learn how to use their magic urgently. When a detective comes snooping around, they must protect themselves, their families, and their magic. From midnight margarita dance parties to unprecedented love stories, Practical Magic is everything you want in a witchy, fall movie. And remember, “Always throw spilled salt over your shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.”
  11. Dead Poets Society: When John Keating begins teaching English at Welton Academy, his students find his teaching methods unorthodox at best and obnoxious at worst. However, his connections with the boys and understanding of the pressures they face both at home and at school change their lives in ways none of them predicted. Following Keating’s time at Welton, Dead Poets Society follows a small group of students in his class and how his involvement in their lives allowed them to fully realize the people they were meant to be and the passions they were meant to pursue.
  12. Hocus Pocus: Hocus Pocus is one of the most-watched Halloween movies for a reason. Max and his little sister Dani move to Salem, Massachusetts at the precipice of the Halloween season. When trying to explore, they stumble upon an old house. His friend, Allison, warns him of the superstitious story surrounding the house. However, Max ignores her warnings and unwittingly releases a coven of witches into his town. The three kids enlist the help of a magical cat to find the witches’ spellbook and stop their immortality. Hocus Pocus is perfect for all ages and would be best enjoyed on a cool October night. 
  13. Girl vs. Monster: Disney Channel does it again. Girl vs. Monster is the perfect mix of Halloween, ghosts, cringe-worthy lines, and of course, a musical number. On Halloween night, Skylar discovers that her mold expert parents are actually undercover monster hunters. One of their most powerful monster catches was released and is now on the hunt for Skylar. Skylar must accept her destiny, learning about friendship, fear, and courage along the way. 
  14. Halloweentown: Have you ever wanted to live in perpetual Halloween? If so, take a journey to  Halloweentown. Gwen, the mother of Marnie, Dylan, and Sophie, always refuses to let her kids go out to trick or treat on Halloween. On Marnie’s thirteenth Halloween, she learns that she is a witch. She finds herself following her grandmother into a secret portal to Halloweentown—a magical place where all the supernatural beings live separate from the human world. However, she soon needs to use her magical powers to defend her family and her home as she knows it. Full of fun warlocks, witches, potions, monsters, and ghouls, Halloweentown is perfect for anyone who wants to take a quick vacation to the perfect Halloween destination. 
  15. Coraline: Coraline is a cautionary tale about the titular character, Coraline, who finds a small door hidden in her new apartment in the Pink Palace. When she walks through that door, she finds an alternate version of her life and her world; her parents, whom she hates, seem overly kind and accommodating, her weird neighbor, Wiley, seems nice and normal, and her strange downstairs neighbors are acrobats and have a stage in their apartment. It almost seems too good to be true and Coraline almost never wants to leave her Other Mother. But when the other world starts trying to trap her and hurting the people she loves, Coraline will have to fight with everything she has to make it back home.
  16. Ghostbusters: An American classic, Ghostbusters is about a group of friends who begin a ghost-catching business in New York City. Using their parapsychology knowledge to create inventions to track and trap paranormal creatures, the friends jump from case to case, investigating stories of ghosts. Creating a slew of spinoffs and becoming an iconic pop culture reference, Ghostbusters is absolutely essential for any list of fall movies.
  17. Goosebumps: Based on the iconic book series by R. L. Stine, Goosebumps is a comedy horror, fictionalizing Stine’s real life. Goosebumps follows Stine and his daughter as they learn that all his terrifying creations are coming to life and wreaking havoc on the world as we know it. Stine, his daughter, and his neighbors must team up to protect their home and prevent permanent damage to their future. 
  18. Carrie (1976): Carrie White, or Scary White, as she has been dubbed by her classmates, is a hyper-sheltered, incredibly sensitive high school girl. Psychologically abused by her fanatically religious mother at home, Carrie is a wounded girl with no safe space or safe person to turn to. The movie follows Carrie as she discovers she has telekinetic powers right before the prom and the tension that comes from a superpowered girl with plenty of opportunity to snap at those who harm her daily.
  19. Amityville Horror: Amityville Horror is based on the true story of the Lutz family in their new home. In 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his whole family in their house in Amityville, New York. One year later, the Lutz family moves into the same house. Immediately, they are bewildered by strange occurrences in the home: flies swarming a priest, a nun becoming violently ill, uncharacteristic violence, and nightmares. Amityville Horror begs the question: how much of this “based on a true story” movie is actually true?
  20. The Lost Boys: “Is it true we moved to the  murder capital of the world?” After moving to a fictional town in California, two brothers start to notice the strangeness of their new home. Michael, the older brother, becomes fascinated with Star, a girl intertwined with a strange biker gang. Soon, both brothers realize the strangeness of the gang is more paranormal. The Lost Boys lives up to the namesake, as just like Peter Pan, these boys never grow up. Known for the spectacular soundtrack, The Lost Boys has all the '80s slasher vibes you could want. Just remember, always carry holy water after dark. 
  21. The Blair Witch Project: An iconic film in the found footage genre, The Blair Witch Project is thought to be all that is left of three young filmmakers who went missing during the events of the movie. Investigating the myth of Rustin Parr, a serial killer in Maryland, they hear from locals that the deaths may be due to a witch rather than Parr himself. After choosing to camp in the woods for further investigation and getting lost, the group is plagued by strange noises and paranormal occurrences that threaten the very threads that hold their sanity. This movie grips the audience and has made viewers wonder for decades, “Is this all real?”
  22. The Exorcist (1973): This iconic supernatural classic follows the demonic possession of a girl and her desperate mother’s attempts to rescue her. Reagan, the young girl, starts speaking in alarming tongues. This prompts her mother to seek medical help. However, once they determine something isn’t physically wrong with Reagen, her mother consults the local priests. Once he determines that Reagan’s condition is a result of demonic forces, he consults an expert on how to perform an exorcism. The Exorcist is one of the most profitable horror movies of all time, and a must-watch for the Halloween season. 
  23. Silence of the Lambs: This 1991, classic physiological thriller centers around Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee tasked with capturing the serial killer Buffalo Bill. In order to complete her task, she consults Dr. Hannibal Lector, an imprisoned psychiatrist and cannibalistic killer. She hopes that his brilliant, sick, and twisted mind gives her unique insight into the habits of Buffalo Bill, who is known for skinning women. However, Lector requires a quid pro quo—personal information from Clarice in exchange for clues. This unlikely relationship fosters a psychologically perplexing dilemma: who can you trust and what do those secrets say about ourselves? 
  24. Hereditary: A beautifully shot and fantastically written paranormal thriller, Hereditary is the story of a family with a curse and an occult prophecy come to pass. After the death of her grandmother, Annie Graham has a hard time coping, along with raising her kids, 16-year-old Peter and 13-year-old Charlie, with her husband Steve. The movie follows the collapse of the family as more and more strange occult signs start appearing all around them and the prophecy that the matriarch kept secret begins coming to pass.
  25. American Psycho: Patrick Bateman seems to be the epitome of a 1980s alpha male businessman, with pristine suits, a perfect (in his opinion) business card, and a way of talking to other alpha males that seems systematic in its perfect imperfection. However, behind closed doors, Patrick Bateman does not exist; he is simply the mask of a psychopath obsessed with being perfect in all things including in his occasional murders to take the edge off of existing. American Psycho follows the downward spiral and total destruction of Bateman after he becomes a suspect in an investigation into one of his murders, leaving you wondering if the events of the movie even truly occurred.
  26. Black Swan: Nina Sayers dreams of being a prima ballerina, dedicating every waking hour of her life to her craft. After being given the main role in her company’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Nina’s obsession with her role, her director, and her competition causes her to begin a downward spiral that may be impossible to escape. Following her down, Black Swan is the story of a woman obsessed with perfection and plagued with hallucinations. As they become more tangible while reality itself becomes more shattered, the two blend and create a beautiful monstrosity of a film deserving of the monumental praise it has garnered.
  27. Perfect Blue: The direct inspiration for Black Swan, Perfect Blue is the story of Mima, a Japanese pop idol. After choosing to leave her group to pursue a more grungy style of acting, Mima is stalked by a crazed fan who wishes for her to keep her former clean-cut image. After accepting an intense role in a new movie, the stress compounds and Mima begins suffering from severe psychosis, unable to separate reality from her new movie role, the actions of her stalker, and the actions of a murderer killing those close to her. The movie follows the worsening of Mima’s hallucinations while her life implodes from the inside, once again making us wonder if the events of the movie truly occurred the way they were shown.
  28. Trick ‘r Treat: If you are looking for something a little bit different, Trick ‘r Treat might be the movie for you. This independent film follows five intertwined storylines from a serial killer teacher to a supernatural trick-or-treater. Trick ‘r Treat has surprises for everyone and is best watched with no background or expectations. Just remember, don’t blow out your jack o lantern before midnight… 
  29. Scream: With one of the best openings of any horror movie, Scream is a bonafide classic and the pinnacle of the slasher genre. With iconic lines like, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” and “No, please don’t kill me, Mr. Ghostface. I wanna be in the sequel!”, this movie is a cultural hallmark that is rewatchable a million times over. While it is truly best to go in blind, it is important to note that Drew Barrymore and Matthew Lillard, the man who played Shaggy in the live-action Scooby Doo movies, are both in Scream. Plus, who doesn’t love a serial killer movie where the killer could be anyone?
  30. Nightmare on Elm Street: Although the graphics now may seem outdated and comical, Nightmare on Elm Street could still haunt anyone's nightmares. When Tina awakens from her nightmare about a disfigured man wearing spiky gloves, her friends assure her that a dream is only a dream. However, as these nightmares worsen, Tina notices burns and cuts from the dreams appearing on her body while awake. Eventually, Tina’s attack in her dream leads to her death and a county-wide hunt for her killer. Little do they know that her killer is also haunting the dreams of Tina’s friends. Nancy, Tina’s best friend, must grapple with her own nightmares, and figure out how to stop the man with the claw gloves. 
  31. Halloween: Finally, no Halloween movie marathon could be complete without watching the quintessential slasher Halloween. Featuring one of the most prolific villains of all time, Michael Myers is sure to haunt anyone’s dreams. In 1963, Myers brutally murdered his sister, resulting in his 15-year imprisonment. However, during his transfer, Myers escapes, returning to his hometown to find his next victims. Halloween is the perfect culmination of jump-scare, Halloween vibes, and slasher. Just beware of anyone wearing a white mask on Halloween… You never know who they could be. 

 

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Letterboxd enthusiast and international studies major who loves New England in fall, hates traffic, and will drop everything for a concert.

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