From Family Faves To Hair-Raising Horror: 18 Disney+ Picks To Stream This Halloween

When you’re looking for some horror to give you the creeps on Halloween, you’d be forgiven for leaving the House of Mouse as the last place to go searching. But as it turns out, Disney+ has got a plethora of shows and films to entertain and thrill this spooky season.

Of course, there are some family favourites in the mix – including some of the most iconic Halloween films of all time, no less – but thanks to their Star branch of programming and films, they also some genuinely terrifying horrors on offer, among their other more adult offerings (and yes, we’re talking about Rocky Horror).

Here’s our selection of 18 picks to watch on Disney+ as part of your Halloween festivities this year…

1. Hocus Pocus 2

New for 2022, the campest Halloween film of all time finally has a part two. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are all back for the second part of the Hocus Pocus story, reprising their original roles as the Sanderson sisters almost 30 years after the first film hit cinemas, this time with additional music numbers. Bring it on.

When the first Hocus Pocus film was released, it received a middling response, only growing a cult following as the years went on, so time will tell whether its successor will hold its own.

For those less convinced, though, the original Hocus Pocus is also available to stream.

2. The Simpsons (Treehouse Of Horror)

When it was finally confirmed in 2020 that the entire Simpsons back catalogue was coming to Disney+, we have to admit a big part of us was excited for a Treehouse Of Horror binge-fest when October finally rolled around.

That time is finally upon us again, and this year we’re revisiting classics like the Monkey’s Paw, The Shinning and *shudders* The Raven (the only Simpsons Halloween short that’s actually genuinely chilling).

Those who usually swerve the later seasons of The Simpsons might still want to check out the more recent Treehouse Of Horror episodes too, featuring parodies of modern films and shows like Stranger Things, The Shape Of Water, Jurassic World and The Hunger Games.

3. Muppets Haunted Mansion

With about 500 Christmas films already to their name, The Muppets tried out something new in 2021, delivering their first ever Halloween special.

Admittedly, after the mixed bag that was Muppets Now, we weren’t sure exactly what to expect when Muppets Haunted Mansion was first announced, particularly as it felt slightly like a way of shoe-horning the much-loved characters into what could have easily amounted to 45-minute advert for the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland.

So we were oh-so relieved when the special finally dropped, featuring all of the irreverence, silliness and actually-quite-decent celebrity cameos we’d hope for in a modern-day Muppets project. Bring on on the Electric Mayhem mockumentary, we say!

4. The Nightmare Before The Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas

It’s around this time of year that the debate usually starts over whether Tim Burton’s stop-motion classic constitutes a Halloween or a Christmas film.

For those who fall into the former camp, The Nightmare Before Christmas is now streaming on Disney+. And for those in the latter… hang on a couple of weeks, and it’ll still be there.

Disney+ is actually home to a lot of Tim Burton’s Halloween-friendly offerings too, including Edward Scissorhands, his reimagining of Alice In Wonderland and Frankenweenie.

5. Coco

One of the more recent additions to the Pixar catalogue is also, in our opinion, one of the best.

Coco centres around the Mexican celebration the Day of the Dead, and features a gloriously-designed underworld, fantastic musical numbers and plenty of laughs aimed at all ages.

It is a Pixar film, though, so there’s also at least one scene guaranteed to make you ugly cry.

6. Cruella


We all know that when Halloween rolls round for Disney fans, it means a time to celebrate the company’s many iconic villains, and Disney+ is more than accommodating in that respect.

This origin story puts Emma Stone in the lead role of the 101 Dalmatians baddie, serving countless looks as she makes a name for herself in 70s London. Worth watching for the style and soundtrack alone, it’s actually a decent enough watch on its own, with Emmas Stone and Thompson both putting in brilliantly camp turns.

7. Maleficent

Walt Disney Studios/Kobal/Shutterstock

But when it comes to Disney villains, you can’t really beat Maleficent, can you?

In this live-action origin story, Angelina Jolie takes on the role of the Sleeping Beauty antagonist, later returning for the sequel Mistress Of The Dark.

Those who prefer their Disney offerings a little more old school can also stream the original film to enjoy Maleficent in all her theatrical, technicolour evilness.

8. Bedknobs And Broomsticks

Yes, at first glance Bedknobs And Broomsticks might appear to be a cosy afternoon watch with some cute and cuddly Disney animation and songs the whole family can sing along to.

But scratch the surface a bit and you see it’s actually about an unassuming sorceress who goes to severe lengths so she can further her powers and defeat the Nazis.

All this and Angela Lansbury? What’s not to love?

9. Return To Oz

File this under: family films that have no business being as terrifying as they are.

Set a short while after the original Wizard Of Oz film, Return To Oz sees Dorothy still living in Kansas with Auntie Em and Uncle Henry, who are growi little tired of hearing her stories about the mysterious land of of Oz.

And so it comes to be that Dorothy comes under the care of a wicked nurse who subjects her to electroshock therapy (!!!!) to try and cure her of what she considers to be delusions.

What follows is a second trip to Oz, where things are a lot less wonderful than when she left them. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly which scene is the most distressing, whether it’s Dorothy’s early adventures at the mental institution, the introduction of the genuinely-really-creeper wheelers or Mombi’s collection of heads.

Frankly, the fact this film was actually aimed at children is still shocking to us.

10. The Black Cauldron

The Black Cauldron

Continuing with another distressing supposed children’s film from the 80s, The Black Cauldron is one of those oft-overlooked animated features from Disney’s wilderness years, commonly referred to as one of the company’s biggest ever flops.

The Black Cauldron was a long time in the making, and Disney executives were really not happy with it, with Jeff Katzenberg infamously cutting out big chunks of the film that he thought were too scary, leaving behind several plotholes and occasional glitches in the animation.

Still, in the years since its release, The Black Cauldron has garnered a cult following, winning praise from many who admire the way it doesn’t follow the pattern of Disney films that came before it.

Heed our warning, though, The Black Cauldron also has a reputation for being the scariest and least child-friendly of Disney’s animated films, which is worth keeping in mind before you sit down to watch it with any especially young children.

11. Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Getty Images via Getty Images

Seriously, what better time than Halloween could there be to start your Buffy rewatch?

The supernatural teen drama proved hugely popular during its seven-season run, and made a household name of Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy, who juggled her destiny as the “Slayer” with trying to live a regular teenage life as a student at Sunnydale High.

12. American Horror Story

Any series of American Horror Story is fitting for the Halloween season, whether you fancy the glossy theatrics of Hotel and 1984 or the more grisly and gruesome Asylum and Roanoke – and they’re all available to stream on Disney+ (having recently left their old home on Netflix).

Still, if we had to pick just one season of the Emmy-winning anthology show to watch this Halloween, we reckon the high camp of Coven is the most fitting for this time of year.

Regular cast members Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters all deliver some of their most memorable performances – and that’s without even mentioning one of the best cameos in TV history from Stevie Nicks, playing a witchy version of herself.

If you finish in time, you can also dive right into Apocalypse, which revisits many of the characters introduced in Coven (although, let’s be real, its end-of-days themes might potentially hit a little too close to home in the current climate).

13. Alien

20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock

Often voted among the best films of all time, Alien was a total game-changer within both the horror and sci-fi genres when it first debuted in 1979, and it still holds up today, more than 40 years later.

Obviously, Sigourney Weaver’s turn as Ripley is the stand-out (she was later nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the sequel), which is particularly impressive given it was her first major acting role.

And while horror films are known for not always ageing well, we defy you not to still leap off the sofa at those jump-scares, especially if you’re watching for the first time.

14. The Sixth Sense

In this late 90s thriller, Haley Joel Osment stars as a nine-year-old boy who (as the iconic line goes) “sees dead people”.

A slow-paced ghost story that relies more on amazing acting and an over-arching scary atmosphere than gory reveals and jump-scares, there’s a reason The Sixth Sense has gone on to become such a classic with a twist ending we implore you not to spoil for yourself if you’re planning to watch for the first time.

15. Jennifer’s Body

Doane Gregory/Fox Atomic/Kobal/Shutterstock

Unjustly maligned at the time, Jennifer’s Body has become a modern cult classic in the past few years, and we think its reputation is only going to grow now it’s available to stream on Disney+.

The black comedy casts Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried as a pair of high school students and best friends, one of whom has been possessed by the devil and can’t stop killing her male classmates, while the other tries to stop her.

In recent years, Jennifer’s Body been held up as a “forgotten feminist classic”, with many re-examining the film when its 10-year anniversary arrived, following the rise of the Me Too movement.

16. Nightmare Alley

Searchlight Pictures/Moviestore/Shutterstock

We’re just going to give you a few reasons to watch Nightmare Alley. Bradley Cooper. Cate Blanchett. Toni Collette. Rooney Mara. Plot? Honestly, who cares? What a cast.

17. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

20th Century Fox/Michael White Prods/Kobal/Shutterstock

This is another Disney+ offering that’s definitely not family-friendly… but, to quote Dr Frank-N-Furter himself, “isn’t it nice?”.

Arguably the quintessential Halloween film, Rocky Horror brings together murder, alien encounters and sexual exploration, dresses them up in fishnet tights and throws in some timeless musical numbers for good measure.

There’s a reason people are still doing the Time Warp almost 40 years after the original film’s release.

18. The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr Toad

And then… there’s this.

Among the weirdest things in Disney’s entire animated oeuvre, The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr Toad is a two-parter, the first half of which is the company’s very cute spin of The Wind And The Willows.

It’s the second part that we want to focus on at Halloween, though. If the name “Ichabod Crane” doesn’t ring a bell, then maybe the fact this story takes place in the town of Sleepy Hollow might spell things out for you.

Yes, this 35-minute tale is Disney’s retelling of the headless horseman, complete with narration by Bing Crosby. There’s also a thigh-slapping musical number about having your head lopped off and a final scene that still gives us chills when we think about it. Happy Halloween, indeed…

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