10 Best Games Set During The Halloween Season


Halloween is just around the corner and the spooky holiday is a great time to play some classic horror games. There are a lot of great choices this year, like Ghostwire Tokyo and MADiSON. These games clearly draw their horror from classic survival games from the Playstation 1 era.

But what if one is in the mood for something more seasonal? There are plenty of great games that just beautifully evoke autumn. These games take place during the Halloween season and run the gamut from being horror-themed to just horribly fun.


Jack Bros. (1995)

Jack Bros is unique even among the very bizarre Shin Megami Tensei series. This top-down action game was one of the few games to release for Nintendo’s ill-fated Virtual Boy console. It was also the first SMT game to release in the west. This resulted in the cute character designed getting redrawn as grotesque on the western box art.

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The game sees three demons, Jack Frost, Jack o’ Lantern, and Jack Ripper, stuck in the world of mortals on Halloween night. They must venture through a variety of levels to return to their home world. These levels are played top-down, but there is a vertical element, with the bros jumping between 3D layers. The game is simple but a lot of fun, and has a great chip tune soundtrack.

Costume Quest 2 (2014)

2010’s Costume Quest, and it’s DLC pack, Grubbins on Ice, were big hits for developer Double Fine., The Halloween-themed RPG was beloved for its charming costume-based gameplay and cute sensibilities. As such, a sequel was released in 2014 to add onto its success.

The combat has been expanded on from the original game, now including counterattacks. The storyline is where the most changes were due, though. It involves multiple protagonists and time travel being used to erase Halloween from existence. The game received good reviews, but ultimately was reviewed poorer than its predecessor due to the confusing plotline.

The Nightmare Before Christmas Game Duology (2005)

Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas is a natural fit for a setting in a video game. As such, multiple games have featured the iconic setting from the film, although only two take place on Halloween night. Oogie’s Revenge and The Pumpkin King were released for PS2/Xbox and the Game Boy Advance, respectively.

The Pumpkin King acts as a prequel to the events of the film and details the preparation for Halloween that first sees Jack have to deal with the sabotage of Oogie Boogie. Oogie’s Revenge is a sequel to the film, which bizarrely has gameplay similar to Devil May Cry, and features levels in every major location of Halloween Town, expanding the locations from the original movie.

The Simpsons: Night Of The Living Treehouse Of Horror (2001)

The Simpsons had a lot of video games, some of them being scarily bad. This one, thankfully, was just scary and spooky. This Game Boy Color game was based on the annual Treehouse Of Horror episodes the show is known for around Halloween season. Each of the seven levels recreates a sketch from the anthology episodes, firmly setting it during Halloween.

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Lisa fights cannibal teachers and Bart rescues Santa’s Little Helper from a Haunted House. Maggie turns into a fly and Marge fights zombies. Homer gets three levels to himself and these see him become a vampire hunter, a robot, and a giant ape monster.

Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018)

Video games based on comic books tend to love hiding details in plain site. Marvel’s Spider-Man has a lot even fans don’t notice. The game is so packed with New York and Marvel hotspots that one might miss a subtle detail about the story: it actually takes place in the time leading up to Halloween.

There is even a Halloween party that Spider-Man must attend as part of the festivities. It’s a pretty fun scene that even gives Spidey villain Mysterio a namedrop. However, it’s the only real mention of the holiday in the game. Otherwise, the game mostly just takes place in an unacknowledged fall.

The House Of The Dead III (2002)

The House Of The Dead series reigns supreme as some of SEGA’s best arcade games. The series is known for its snappy and satisfying use of the light gun to mow down enemies. Hordes of zombies threaten the world 21 years after the original game. This installment sees a strike force attempt to end the outbreak once and for all on Halloween, of all days.

The atmosphere is fittingly dark and damp, and plenty of haunted mansion-style set pieces appear. The game moves away from the more urban setting to a more traditionally Halloween one, with forests and corridors. Most important about this entry was that it received a remake in the style of Typing Of The Dead, which turned it into a typing game, much like 2.

Night In The Woods (2017)

Night In The Woods takes place in a lonely rust belt city in the events leading up to Halloween. Despite its cute art style, the game relishes in building up a subtle terror as time ticks toward the annual Halloween festival. Players control Mae, who must investigate the strange happening going on in her town.

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She and her friends discover a cult acting in the shadows of the city and must work hard to prevent their rituals. At the same time, players are encouraged to wander the town and take in the Halloween decorations neighbors have set up. It does a great job of mixing more modern Halloween celebrations with its darker origins.

Costume Quest (2010)

Costume Quest centers around the two siblings trick-or-treating on Halloween night. One of them is kidnaped by a monster, and it’s up to the player-controlled twin to get them back. They do this in Halloween-themed fashion by gathering candy and wearing costumes. These costumes actually grant the wearer unique abilities and skills.

In every battle, the children are transformed into the subject of their costume. This means brave nights and killer robots are potential party members. The game also incorporates adventure game mechanics, such as an inventory and puzzle-solving. The game had a lot of charm, enough for DLC, a sequel, and even a season of animated shorts on Amazon.

Trick & Treat (2016)

There are plenty of RPG Maker games in the horror genre, but only a scant few are set on Hallow’s Eve. Trick & Treat from 2016 doesn’t go hard on the spooks, but does a great job of catching the charm. As of this writing, it has a perfect score on Steam. It also received a remake in 2021, though that version has reviewed poorer, though still well.

Despite being made in RPG Maker, this is a classic adventure game. The player is stuck in a vampire’s house on Halloween and must solve puzzles and navigate traps to escape. Along the way there are interactions with tons of NPCs both charming and spooky. It’s a lighthearted adventure, but one with a lot of heart.

Batman: Arkham Knight (2015)

Batman: Arkham Knight is the final game in the Batman Arkham series, which hasn’t been unknown for its spooky atmosphere. The final game is the one that ramps it up to eleven, though. The entire conflict is kick-started by the Scarecrow, the master of fear, on Halloween night itself. Decorations are out and can be seen all over the game’s massive open world.

The game frequently reminds the player of its date. Rather than just having Batman attend a party as its sole mentions, goons constantly comment on the date. Thematically, it also has significance as the main plot is essentially a ritual for the resurrection of spirits. The game is an underrated Halloween classic and a great way to cap off the trilogy.

NEXT: 10 Best Voice Acting Performances In The Batman Arkham Games


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