Are There Halloween Themed Video Games? (Detailed!)

Halloween has become a phenomenally successful holiday in that people of all ages celebrate it and it’s commercial success (National Retail Federation) means there’s quite a diversification in how you do so. And so whether it’s a new movie or a new game, many customers appear to enjoy the Halloween hype, including big scares.

Nowadays there is plenty for gamers to be happy, or scared about, when it comes to Halloween themed video games. From Halloween games about classic horror movies to video games inspired by traditional Halloween symbols, Halloween themed video games are available for anyone interested every October.

Let’s look at examples of some of the popular classic Halloween video games and more recent ones too; as well, I want to distinguish what actually makes a Halloween themed video game as opposed to just a horror genre video game if anything; and then propose advantages of Halloween themed video games use.

And of course, we’ll consider how all of this relates to kids.


Classic and New Halloween Themed Video Games

First, let’s focus on old-school classic style Halloween video games and what that actually means.

Old school, classic Halloween video games incorporate traditional Halloween icons or use a classic Halloween theme and imagery, or some combination of both. It might also feature old Halloween movies or references, whether with modern technology or original video gaming systems.

In the 1980s, young teenagers would go trick-or-treating with their buddies and play Halloween-themed video games at a local K-Mart or if they were lucky, at an actual arcade.

Halloween themed video games from the 80s were often tied to horror films, but some horror games were stand alone and had no ties to movies.

Let’s look at a few examples of these classic, old-school Halloween/horror video games.

Nightmare on Elm Street: An Old School Favorite

The original Nightmare on Elm Street film was released in 1984 and was a huge hit. It was a fresh take on the slasher horror movies that dominated the scene (yes, I’m talking about Jason of Friday the 13th franchise, and of course, the ultimate Halloween movie series, “Halloween” and Michael Meyers, which both spawned many sequels and variations each).

So it made sense that video game developers would try to capitalize on this hit horror conglomerate and make a video game version, which is exactly what happened. A Nightmare on Elm Street video game was made for Nintendo in 1989/1990.

And while Nintendo has made many changes over the years, and continues to be popular with its Nintendo Switch (you can see it here at Amazon), you can actually still play A Nightmare on Elm Street!

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that there are also video game versions of Friday the 13th (also available at Amazon) and Halloween too!

More Halloween related Hopeful Holidays articles like this one:

“Fright Night” from 1988

There’s also a vampire video game called Fright Night which came out for Sega video gaming systems. This also was a spin off from a hit horror film of the same title. In it, you must combat spooky creatures and dodge stakes to progress through each level. This game is a lot of fun!

“Uninvited” Released 1986

This game was one of the first point and click varieties and was intended for Mac computers. It’s still available on Steam today but also on other platforms and isn’t limited to old-style Macs. Though it started quite shaky, it’s smoothed out now for a much better experience.

The overall theme is that you’re stuck in an evil mansion after your car broke down. While this may not seem like much, it’s actually a common horror genre theme so it’ll feel familiar to most who enjoy scary movies, providing that real life authenticity.

“Splatterhouse” from 1988 and Updated Versions

There is an updated version popular too, but it’s a recreation of the original arcade from the 1980s. It’s gruesome and doesn’t hold back! The original arcade version is quite similar to today’s Splatter house. However, there are significant differences, such as the ability to swap out weapons on your body rather than finding them in boxes as it was in the 1980s.


Castlevania made its debut in 1986 and launched a very popular franchise, continuing in various forms even today. It’s overarching plot is about a vampire hunter who attacks Count Dracula in his castle. One fun tidbit about Castlevania is that it includes other classic horror monsters like Frankenstein’s monster, too.

“Monster Madness” for the Xbox 360

From 2007, this is essentially a fighting game with all of the horror classics added in. A lot of work went into this project, and the game was so outstanding that it spawned a sequel.

“Rise of the Pumpkin King” for the Xbox 360 game

This is essentially a massive fantasy RPG with some shocks thrown in for Halloween. It’s pretty uncommon and costly these days, but many would love to play it if they could get their hands on a copy.

“Layers Of Fear – Holiday Blorthers” for PS4 and Xbox One

This is a stand-alone expansion pack that will give you even more playtime than previously. It’s not frightening, but it does have several spooks and jump scares, so we’ll see how it works out.

“Diablo” From 1997-2017

This is a series of games and can get quite scary. It is a gothic style game, perfect for Halloween time. Lots of images to scare even the most jaded players too like the undead, demons, and blood.

“Dead By Daylight” Released in 2016

Now this one is popular for many reasons, but one is because of choice for the gamer. It’s brought together lots of old faces like Jason of Friday the 13th and Michael of Halloween, as well as Leatherface of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and even Freddy from A Nightmare On Elm Street and you the player get to be the ‘killer’.

Halloween Video Games-Kid Edition

Now many of the classic and most popular recent ‘Halloween’ style video games, like those above, are going to be too mature for kids, particularly your elementary and below crowd. It might be appropriate for some middle schoolers, but that, really will depend on the child’s ability to handle the material and of course, keep it in proper perspective.

That being said, I want to give few that parents should feel comfortable with for their kids.

GameSystemAge Description
SCOOBY DOO AND THE SPOOKY SWAMPWii, DS10 and OlderScooby and Shaggy are our stars here, and let’s face it, they’re everyone’s favorites out of the ‘gang.’ Together they are on a mission through a foggy Louisiana and face lots of creepy crawlies. And this swamp includes ghosts, witches, and other things to make any 10 year old jump (in a good way!).
Luigi’s Mansion 3Nintendo 10 and OlderThis is an update of an old fav and kids will enjoy the scare as they work with Luigi and friends to navigate a ‘Last Resort’ hotel.
COSTUME QUESTTHQ for Xbox Live, PlayStation Network10 and OlderThis game has Halloween as central to its plot, so it’ll really get your little ones in the mood. Based off of the same name animated series, kids will have opportunity to put on costumes and play trick or treating while also encountering ghouls and even aliens!
Goosebumps: Dead Of NightXBox One; Nintendo Switch10 and OlderR.L. Stine is a fav author for kids who like to be scared with his ‘Goosebumps’ ghost stories, so it’s only natural that there’ll be a video game too.
Addam’s Family Mansion MayhemXBox OneThis is almost like the Sims meets the Addam’s Family! Kids can do lots of mini games, so it’s great for those who like a lot of choice, but don’t really want a long drawn out story line like some games have.
Kid-Friendly ‘Halloween Themed’ Video Games (With Amazon Links)

Keep in mind, you know your kids. While some may snub their nose, if you think your kid can handle a video game rated over their age, then so be it. Our kids actually enjoyed watching my husband play games like they would watching a movie, even though they couldn’t actually handle playing it themselves.

And this is equally true for the kid-friendly games, rated 10 and up. It’s highly likely many 8 year olds will be just fine playing some of them, while also just as possible that some kids might need to wait til they’re 12 instead. Use the recommendations as a guide and tailor it for your family!

Special Note: Also just as important as making sure content is appropriate for your child, you need to keep in mine your child’s ability to handle playing video games in general. Some kids get too frustrated by the competition while others are too easily overly stimulated. So again, don’t just go by the age limit suggestions. Gauge your child’s emotional ability too, and how he/she is able to handle the game’s effects on his/her behavior.

What Distinguishes A Halloween Themed Video Game?

What is it that actually makes a Halloween video game, anyway?

I know as a horror movie genre fan, I particularly like watching this style at Halloween time, as soon as the calendar turns to October. But to be honest, most of these films aren’t set during Halloween. They just happen to be scary movies, and Halloween is a time for watching that style, because Halloween is a holiday focused on scares.

It’s the same for the most part when it comes to video games. Most of the ‘Halloween’ themed video games aren’t set as a plot at Halloween; they just happen to be scary movies.

However, if a movie is set during Halloween, that certainly gives it credit as a Halloween movie, even if it’s actually not a scary movie. (It’s like this for Christmas movies. For instance, many people confess that their favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard. Well, to be clear, Die Hard isn’t a Christmas themed movie; it just happens to take place at Christmas time.)

It can be somewhat difficult to predict if a game would be considered creepy or not because everyone has different tastes. However, there are certain attributes scary movies have in common.

Here are some criteria I believe can indicate a Halloween-themed video game, and what I used to select/recommend the games mentioned already in this article.

  • Is the game’s scene set during Halloween?
  • Is there a horror theme to the game?
  • Is scary imagery and/or icons used (such as dark; ghouls; monsters; etc.)?
  • What types of adversaries, if any, are there in the game?
  • Does the plot lend to jump/surprise scares?
  • Is there anything else about the game that distinguishes it throughout the Halloween season? 

If any of the answers to the questions above is ‘yes’, then it is possibly classified as a Halloween game and the more ‘yes’ answers, the more likely it is. But again, any horror movie is appropriate for Halloween because this is the holiday specifically about scares and frights!

Do Horror Films Influence Halloween Themed Video Games?

Horror films absolutely influence Halloween themed video games, or video games made with a scary plot. In fact, just about any popular or hit ‘scary’ movie will likely have a video game spin off. While not as common, you’ll see the reverse too, where video games influence movies, and have a movie spin off too.

Some examples I’ve already shown, such as the A Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween movies have their own video games. And even kid movie favorites like Scooby Doo and Addams Family films have spun video games.

Advantages of Playing Halloween Themed Video Games

So are there any pros for having Halloween themed video games, particularly as they pertain to kids playing them?

Well, actually, as a mom and teacher, I’d have to say yes!

I know this probably comes as a surprise to many, but I see value in kids playing video games of all types (providing their age appropriate, of course!).

Video games involve a lot of thinking, even the simplest ones that I’m familiar with. Playing games require problem solving; thinking ahead; organization; and can even improve eye-hand coordination. There’s also a great deal of creativity and teamwork in video games, as well as use of reading and math skills.

Taken within reason, video games can be quite beneficial for kids.

And this includes horror or Halloween themed video games!

This genre provides a safe, low-stakes way for kids to get their thrills, and to deal with ‘boogie man’ topics that start to come up. Many kids enjoy scary themes, and letting them experience it in a controlled environment via playing video games is a good outlet.

Wrapping Up Halloween Themed Video Games

To wrap it up, yes, there are certainly Halloween themed video games.

  • Some video games are Halloween themed because the plot is set during the Halloween season or on Halloween. These may include trick-or-treating or costume play as part of the video game experience.
  • Other games can be categorized as Halloween themed because they fall under the horror genre, so for them, it’s the plot itself that’s scary and lends it to being popular at Halloween (although these can also be popular to play all year long since the setting isn’t tied to Halloween/October.)

Parents are urged to use the age limits on video games as guides for their kids. But ultimately, parents know their kids best and should feel confident to tailor video game play to their kids’ individual emotional and mental levels.

For more Halloween related Hopeful Holidays articles, I suggest these next:

Resources: Dallas; Screen Rant

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