I’ve never been a fan of Halloween parties because groups of people wearing costumes freak me out. Everyone is self conscious, full of nervous energy, and weirdly emboldened by their newfound anonymity. Plus, complicated costumes mean the line for the bathroom is always way too long.
So for me, there’s no better way to celebrate Halloween than by staying home, ordering in, and watching a scary movie. And just in time for this year’s Halloween (which includes no big parties full of people dressed like Carole Baskin), I’ve listed some of my favorite scary movies and a great takeout meal to pair with them.
The Spooky Spots
Pair with: It Follows
This film is all about relentless dread, which is basically all of us this year. It Follows is full of thesis-statement-generating symbolism and metaphor, and the futility of fear while waiting for the inevitable. I like keeping pace with every appearance of the creeping “it” by ordering a san-set from Sushi san, and eating a piece of nigiri whenever it shows up. The dread I feel watching my omakase dwindle away is all-too-relatable.
Pair with: Hereditary
I suggest you eat before watching this deeply unsettling movie about the death of a family’s secretive matriarch, since your stomach will be in knots the entire time. And you should order something that feels appropriate for your “last meal”, because some scenes are so terrifying they might actually kill you. OK, that’s a bit much, but either way that meal is Bavette’s. Get a medium-rare filet, truffle mac and cheese, and some chocolate cream pie.
Pair with: Bad Hair
This hilarious satire about a bloodthirsty weave is a cultural commentary on Eurocentric beauty standards. And as a former hairdresser who’s dealt with lots of fake hair, I appreciate the premise on multiple levels. It’s definitely more funny than scary, has plenty of gore, and the best way to watch this is with a big, messy bowl of spaghetti and meatballs from Pasta Palazzo. The cast is also super fun, with Laverne Cox, Kelly Rowland, Usher (yes, that Usher), and James Van Der Beek.
Pair with: Let The Right One In
Vampire children exploring the darker side of humanity? Yes, please. There are actually two versions of this film, the original Swedish one and an American remake called Let Me In. I really like both, but the moody, minimalist Swedish version is my favorite. And this pairing might be a little on the nose, but it’s best watched with the (annual) Halloween Offal Dinner from Table Donkey & Stick. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a perfect homage to the scene where the little vampire dismembers some bullies.
Pair with: House Of The Devil
This is a 2009 throwback to those horror movies that focused on the satanic panic of the 80s. And between the shaky 16mm film, music playing over the opening credits scene, and lots and lots of feathered hair, it’s really effective. House of the Devil is about a woman who takes a babysitting gig for (wait for it) devil worshippers, and creates a tense atmosphere where the terror builds like a slow burn. To replicate this feeling, I recommend ordering the tonkatsu kare from carryout-only spot Bokuchan. The sweet curry has a light spice with a gentle heat that creeps up on you. Also, the rich sauce is very comforting, which you’re going to need by the end of the film.
Pair with: The Autopsy Of Jane Doe
You know those morgue scenes where sheet-covered figures in the background slowly sit up? Take the essence of that creepiness and magnify it, and that’s what watching the Autopsy of Jane Doe feels like. This movie takes place in a small town’s coroner’s office, where a father (Brian Cox) and son (Emile Hirsche) have to perform an autopsy on a young woman. As the mystery of her cause of death (or undeath) unfolds, the movie gets even more unsettling. And we can’t think of a better pairing than a 20 oz T-Bone from Gibsons that you can attack with surgical precision.
Pleasant House Pub
Pair with: What We Do In The Shadows
This movie is a perfect choice if you (or someone you’re with) wants something campy and spooky, but not actually scary. This fantastic mockumentary about vampires living in a flat together is truly hilarious. It takes place in New Zealand, and I think it’s best paired with one of the “royal” pies (a.k.a. those savory ones you see on Great British Bake-Off) from Pleasant House Pub. Cover the windows with dark, heavy velvet, set out your finest candelabra, fire up the victrola, and sit down to a curry-filled pastry.