There’s a cartoon for every single holiday and Halloween is definitely no exception. There have been some great Halloween specials and spooky cartoons over the years that manage to pack in horror, comedy, and suspense. Ranging from remakes of some of your classic favorites to some new and interesting cartoons you might not have heard of, there’s something that everyone can enjoy. If you’re tired of watching It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (which you totally shouldn’t cause it’s a classic), here are ten some unscary horror cartoons to watch on Halloween. Watch them…if you dare!
1. Beetlejuice: The Animated Series
Based on the Tim Burton classic of the same name, this animated series focused on the continuing adventures of the two main characters. Beetlejuice (voiced by Stephan Ouimette) and Lydia Deetz (voiced by Alyson Court) dove into The Neitherworld, the place where Beetlejuice resides with all the weirdos, monsters, ghosts and more. The series was developed by none other than Tim Burton and premiered on ABC in 1989, and was with the network until being switched over to Fox. It ran for three years with four seasons, but was finally axed on after moving networks. Beetlejuice: The Animated Series was a lot funnier than the film, giving you a lighter friendship between Lydia and Beetlejuice and a weird, yet charming, perspective of the place that Beetlejuice calls home.
2. Courage the Cowardly Dog
If you haven’t seen the creepiness that is Courage the Cowardly Dog, you really haven’t lived. Courage the Cowardly Dog got its start on Hanna-Barbera’s What A Cartoon!, where most Cartoon Network shows get their start. What A Cartoon! aired the pilot for Courage in 1996, and it was nominated for Best Animated Short at the Academy Awards (though it lost to Wallace & Gromit’s A Close Shave). Cartoon Network eventually green-lit a series in November, 1999. Created by John R. Dilworth, the show lasted four glorious seasons until its cancellation in 2002. Courage the Cowardly Dog provides you with a great balance of creepy and cool. The show revolves around Courage and his owners, Muriel and Eustace Bagge, and the weird and creepy things that happen around their farm. The great thing about Courage is how small it appears. What I mean by that is, you basically feel slightly claustrophobic with Courage even though the family have this vast farm land. The show is confined to this one place where all of this stuff happens out of the blue and it seems perfectly normal to them. It also has been lauded for its creative sound design and the unique collage-like backgrounds.
3. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
Monsters who have to go through school to learn how to scare. Sounds really cool right? Before Monsters, Inc., there was a show called Aaahh!!! Real Monsters on Nick, all about teaching monsters how to scare. Created by Gabor Csupo and Peter Gaffney, the show centered around three monsters: Oblina, a black and white pole-like monster; Ickis, monster with huge ears that is often mistaken for a rabbit; and Krumm, who holds his two eyes in the air with his hands (leaving his smelly armpits exposed). They go through a series of scare assignments at a school deep underground in NYC. The episodes focus on different assignments that the three have to undertake to become scary. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters has four amazing seasons that you can watch on a spooky Halloween night. The studio that brought us Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is Klasky Csupo, which also brought us timeless classics such as Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys, Rocket Power, As Told By Ginger and more, so you better believe it’s good.
Do you like bad guys in masks chasing around a bunch of teenage kids? Do you like teenage kids who can’t stay out of anyone’s business? Do you like boys in ascots? Then watching Scooby-Doo should be a good time for you. Created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, Scooby-Doo has taken off in ways that no one could have predicted. Scooby-Doo revolves around teenagers Velma Dinkley, Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Shaggy Rogers and their talking dog, Scooby-Doo, as they solve mysteries, as everywhere they seem to stop they find a bad guy every single turn. The original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? lasted for only a year as it played with other Saturday morning cartoons, but Scooby-Doo thrived after it’s year and has been a part of every household in more ways than one. There are multiple movies, spin-off series including: What’s New Scooby-Doo?, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and video games have been dedicated to this popular series.
5. The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
Stop everything you’re doing this instant and recognize the brilliance that is The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. Immediately. The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy is the ultimate viewing for Halloween to get you perfectly creeped out and tickle your funny bone at the same time. Created by Maxwell Atoms (still such a cool name), The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy started off as a short before it became a full series on Cartoon Network. The show was in competition in the Cartoon Network’s Big Pick, which was like an American Idol for cartoons, where fans got to vote on what short they’d like to see pull through to the final round. Billy & Mandy won the votes with two other cartoons, becoming very popular in its long run. The show centers around two friends named Billy, a very excitable little boy, and his best friend Mandy, a sarcastic and cynical little girl that you’ll immediately fall in love with. They enslave Grim, the Grim Reaper, who lost to them in a bet which means that Grim has to be their friend forever. The Grim Adventures has seven amazing seasons and features some of the coolest side characters that have ever been produced.
6. Invader Zim
Dark, grim and kinda scary in its own way, Invader Zim was a science fiction writer’s best dream and worst nightmare. Created by Jhonen Vasquez, this animated series premiered on Nickelodeon in 2001, but didn’t last that long before it was moved to Nicktoons and then cancelled. Invader Zim focuses on a alien named Zim, kicked off his home planet by his superiors. They send him to a mysterious planet so he can learn its weaknesses and conquer it. He wants to enslave humanity and conquer the Earth, but has a very hard time doing so. He is met with opposition and resistance to the point where he needs to take on a disguise in order to infiltrate and learn about the humans. He is assisted by his robot, Gir and gets his plans fouled by his next door neighbor Dib, a investigator who wants to know what Zim is REALLY up to. Invader Zim is the perfect thing to binge watch for Halloween, ’cause who doesn’t like aliens trying to invade our world? If the animation looks familiar to you, Jhonen Vasquez was also responsible for Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, which is definite recommended reading for this holiday season.
7. Gravity Falls
Gravity Falls is a show that became dear to my heart in a very short amount of time. Created by Alex Hirsch in 2012, Gravity Falls follows the mysterious adventures of Dipper (Jason Ritter) and Mabel Pines (the fantastic Kristen Schaal), twins who have to spend the summer with their Grunkle (or great-uncle) Stan at his store Mystery Shake in Gravity Falls, Oregon. If you’re looking for a good Disney show to liven up your Halloween night, look no further than Gravity Falls. Filled with paranormal activity and mystery, beautiful designs, and all around fantastic characters (not to mention voice actors), Gravity Falls sits at the top, along with Steven Universe, of examples of how to get cartoons right. It’s currently on its third season and hopefully won’t be stopping anytime soon.
This is a show that used to scare me as a kid. A lot of kids from the 90s will remember these stone statues on top of a tower watching over all they see. Gargoyles featured creatures who turned to stone in the day, but at night they watched over New York and became its protectors. The leader of this group was Goliath, who was a brooding Batman figure in a lot of ways. The show is very dark (literally and figuratively) and has some of the best characters development you’ll ever see with stone statues. Seriously, you’ll get to be very emotionally invested in the life of these gargoyles as you watch. The show was produced in a partnership with Walt Disney TV Animation and Buena Vista Television and aired between 1994 to 1997. It’s a great thing to watch on Halloween just because of how dark and serious the tone is. Also, stone statues coming to life is pretty terrifying if they can fly. Think about it.
Created by Bill Kopp and Chris Otsuki and featuring some of the coolest voice actors in the business (Nancy Cartwright, Billy West and more), Toonsylvania lasted only two seasons, but these two seasons were very entertaining. Toonsylvania features Dr. Frankenstin, his assistant Igor and Frankenstein’s Monster who they name Phil, and explores the adventures and stories that take place in their laboratory. It was a random little TV show that was executive produced by Steven Spielberg in 1998. It ran on Fox’s Fox Kids Network and was cancelled in 1999. Toonsylvania had its hits and misses, but it always tends to come back with a stronger episode right after. If you’re looking for a goofy cartoon to just toy around with for the afternoon, this one that will do just the trick.
10. Tales from the Crypt Keeper
Tales of the Crypt Keeper premiered in 1993 and lasted until 1999, lasting three very cool yet creepy seasons. This show was a amazing combination of horror, science fiction, fantasy, and comedy as it brought you an anthology of different stories in each episode instead of the same thing each time. Tales of the Crypt Keeper was developed by Libby Hinsen and Ben Joseph, and was based off the live-action counterpart, Tales of the Crypt, animating its host, The Crypt Keeper. This show obviously follows the premise of other anthology shows and it was simple and very cool for it’s time. Like Beetlejuice, it brought a much lighter tone to than its counterpart and gave viewers a different perspective from what people originally saw from Tales of the Crypt. Tales of the Crypt Keeper is one of the best Halloween choices to watch for anyone who was a lover of Tales of the Crypt and who just loves a good ol’ anthology of scary cartoons.