With the weather getting cooler and daylight hours in short supply, fall is the perfect time of year to put together a memorable movie night for friends and family. And what better way to settle into the spookiest season of the year than with a Halloween marathon that covers all the bases? Here’s how to create a critically acclaimed Halloween movie night that all your guests will rave about.

Step 1: Pick Your Flick(s)

Before you start planning the evening, you need to come up with a good lineup. Realistically, you probably only have time to watch two or three movies in a single marathon. That means you’ve gotta be picky. We love the idea of starting off with something light-hearted and then advancing to something creepy. Do it the other way around if you’re afraid you might get too scared to sleep!

Some of the best scary movies to watch on Halloween night include classics such as Halloween, It, Scream, The Silence of the Lambs, The Ring, The Shining and Trick ‘r Treat. Prefer to keep it family-friendly or comedic? You can’t go wrong with faves like Ghostbusters, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Hocus Pocus, Casper or Practical Magic.

We also love the idea of sticking to a single franchise and marathoning all the films within it. Some legendary options include films in the Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. You could also group films by director, such as Alfred Hitchcock or Wes Craven.

Step 2: Gather Treats, Salty and Sweet

Besides the movies themselves, we think the most important part of a good movie night is the snacks. To keep your movie night snacks in perfect harmony, focus on the salty (for the horror films) and the sweet (for the feel-good films). Make sure you have plenty of fresh-popped popcorn on hand and your favorite salty favorites like nuts and chips.

Consider turning it into a pizza party with the help of a Halloween-themed Chocolate Pizza or some chocolate-covered cookies dressed for seasonal cheer. For some of the best movie night snack ideas, check out our complete array of gourmet Halloween treats. Add in some classic movie candy, and you’re good to go!

Step 3: Marathon

Now for the fun part! Gather all the blankets and pillows you can find and create a cozy spot to watch on the living room floor or in front of the biggest TV in the house. To take it up a few notches and make it extra immersive, consider buying or borrowing a surround-sound system to get the full effect. And, of course, wait until the sun goes down to start the spookier selections.

Looking for a COVID-friendly movie night idea? If it’s warm enough outside, build a bonfire and bring the TV into the backyard. Some companies even allow you to rent projectors and inflatable screens so you can binge your favorite flicks outside from a safe distance. If you’re hoping to keep it low maintenance, there’s plenty of remote movie night options to watch movies online with people near and far.