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The 21 best horror shows to stream for Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and while one of the best ways you can spend the holiday at home is to curl up on the couch with a bowl of candies and a good horror movie, it’s also a great time to binge some of the best horror shows available on streaming services.

But which ones should you watch? Whether you’re in the mood for psychological horror, gruesome kills, supernatural teen dramas, or maybe even some terror combined with laughs, there’s something for everyone. Halloween binge fare doesn’t have to include shows with those typical bump-in-the-night frights either. For some, a thoroughly disturbing and thought-provoking show might be just right for the spooky holiday.

Looking for more scares? Check out other Halloween-themed entertainment:

A worker in Squid Game standing in front of the many participants in numbered jumpsuits.

Squid Game (2021)

A surprise hit for Netflix, becoming the streaming service’s biggest show to date, this South Korean survival drama isn’t a horror series, but it’s horrifying enough to qualify as a worthwhile binge for Halloween. With a similar premise to Battle Royale and Alice in Borderland, players compete in sinister versions of childhood games to the literal death for the chance to take home the final prize of close to $40 billion. A commentary on economic inequality, the 456 players choose to partake of their own free will because the alternative is to deal with the realities of life, where they are drowning in debt with nowhere to turn. It’s thoroughly disturbing, heart-wrenching, and will keep you wincing and at the edge of your seat the whole way through. The series is offered with English dubbing as well as closed captioning and subtitles.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Created by: Hwang Dong-hyuk
Cast: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, Jung Ho-yeon, O Yeong-su, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi, Kim Joo-ryoung
Number of seasons: 1

A young woman looking surprised in a scene from Them on Amazon Prime.

Them (2021)

A horror drama anthology series, Them, produced by Lena Waithe (Master of None, Westworld) is set in the ’50s when a Black family, during the Second Great Migration, moves to an all-white neighborhood in Los Angeles. While life is looking up, they soon discover a series of evil forces and otherworldly events that threaten their safety. The series received mixed reviews, with critics praising the “sufficient sense of terror” but describing the delivery as “superficial horrors,” lacking the social commentary the series has the potential to deliver. With that said, sometimes superficial scares are all you desire for Halloween, and if that’s the case, this show delivers in spades.

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Created by: Little Marvin
Cast: Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas, Alison Pill, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Melody Hurd, Ryan Kwanten
Number of seasons: 1

A promo image of Calls on Apple TV+ with a shaded-out face looking down in the background.

Calls (2021)

If you’re looking for something untraditional, Calls is guaranteed to be unlike anything you have seen, or rather heard, before. There are no actual visuals beyond expressive swirls of color, pulsing lights, and text appearing across the screen as conversations take place. It sounds incredibly boring, but you’ll be hooked by the first story, which follows a young woman on the phone with her long-distance boyfriend, terrified that someone is trying to break in. Things take a terrifying turn when she begins screaming that the intruder doesn’t appear to be human. It gets creepier with each story from there, all of which follow a different theme but intersect in the end. With a star-studded voice cast, it’s a great show to curl up to late at night and will surprise you with just how exhilarating it can be, despite the minimal visuals.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Created by: Fede Alvarez
Cast: Nick Jonas, Pedro Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Lily Collins, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Aubrey Plaza
Number of seasons: 1

Rupert Grint looking into a crib, shocked in a scene from Servant on Apple TV+.

Servant (2019)

For fans of M. Night Shyamalan, Servant is a must-watch that is delivered in the filmmaker’s signature style. A young couple hires a nanny to care for their baby, but there’s one issue: The baby isn’t real. It’s a lifelike doll. The mother Dorothy, however, is blissfully in a seemingly psychotic state, believing it’s a real child while her husband Sean seems all too happy to play along, as does the mysterious young nanny. The store takes a number of twists and turns through the seasons, and with a third on the way, there’s plenty more to tell. If you’re looking for thought-provoking chills versus bumps in the night, this is the show to watch this Halloween.

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Created by: Tony Basgallop
Cast: Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Nell Tiger Free, Rupert Grint
Number of seasons: 2

A woman with a mask chasing down a player in the White Bear episode of Black Mirror.

Black Mirror (2011)

For something thoroughly thought-provoking, subversive, and downright scary, every episode of Black Mirror tells a different story about a dystopian future whereby our reliance on technology has led to horrifying consequences. While it’s social commentary as much as it is disturbing entertainment, every episode is terrifying in its own way beyond your typical man hiding behind the door in a mask or massacres at a remote cabin. Considering Black Mirror was based on The Twilight Zone, you can expect lots of unusual, strange, and jaw-dropping moments in every episode.

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Created by: Charlie Brooker
Cast: Various
Number of seasons: 5

Dexter on Amazon Prime Video.

Dexter (2006)

The show might have had one of the worst endings to ever grace the small screen, but there’s hope yet with a limited series revival returning next month. That means Halloween season is the perfect time to binge the crime drama’s first eight seasons. Dexter Morgan is a vigilante serial killer who has managed to control the urges from his “dark passenger” to direct them only on those he can prove have done terrible things and committed heinous crimes. In his mind, he’s clearing the world of awful people while satisfying his dark desires. Dexter’s job as a forensic technician provides him with plenty of access to research his victims during the day then don his signature “kill” shirt to follow through with his plans at night. Every season follows a different storyline and set of victims, along with Dexter’s journey to keep his true identity hidden and appear as “normal” as possible to others. It’s a show that will have you confusingly sympathizing with, and actually liking, a brutal killer.

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Created by: James Manos Jr. (based on Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay)
Cast: Michael C. Hall, Julie Benz, Jennifer Carpenter, Erik King, Lauren Velez, David Zayas, James Remar, C.S. Lee, Desmond Harrington
Number of seasons: 8

Joe Goldberg from YOU looking creepily out the window at someone.

You (2018)

Joe Goldberg is an unassuming killer who falls easily for women, his affection inevitably reaching a point of obsession. But he justifies his actions to himself, as viewers get to hear in his running internal monologue. If only they hadn’t done this or had just done that, he wouldn’t have had to resort to murder. It’s a gripping show that will have you screaming at the screen, urging the next victim not to fall for his charms. With a new season out just in time for Halloween, it’s the perfect time to binge the whole she-bang.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Created by: Greg Berlanti, Sera Gamble (based on You – Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes)
Cast: Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Luca Padovan, Zach Cherry, Shay Mitchell, Victoria Pedretti
Number of seasons: 3

Teen Wolf gritting his teeth and looking angry.

Teen Wolf (2011)

It might be surprising that this supernatural teen drama is on this list, but it’s actually fairly well received and fits the bill for someone who doesn’t want something too scary. Loosely based on the 1985 film of the same name that starred Michael J. Fox as the title character, it features Tyler Posey as Scott McCall, the young werewolf who must defend his town from various threats, including some nasty creatures. It’s a fun, mildly scary show to watch with your teenagers who are too old now for trick-or-treating.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Created by: Matthew Weisman (based on Teen Wolf by Jeph Loeb)
Cast: Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, Dylan O’Brien, Tyler Hoechlin, Holland Roden, Colton Haynes
Number of seasons: 6

Ash and his team from Ash vs. Evil Dead look up at something scary.

Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015)

As a sequel to the original Evil Dead movie trilogy, this comedy-horror series sees Bruce Campbell reprise his role as Ash Williams, a man who has fought off hordes of evil demons over the years and saved the world multiple times over, only to go back to his old job and raunchy lifestyle with a missing hand to show for it. In the latest series, Ash tries to live a normal life, but the cursed Necronomicon tome that awakens demons has other plans for him and anyone unlucky enough to be around him. Canceled by Starz after three seasons, the series successfully channeled the over-the-top gore and irreverent comedy that made the original films cult classics.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Created by: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Tom Spezialy (based on characters by Sam Raimi)
Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, Jill Marie Jones, Michelle Hurd, Ted Raimi
Number of seasons: 3

The main characters from Bates Motel.

Bates Motel (2013) 

Chronicling the early years of the murderous innkeeper Norman Bates from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror classic Psycho, this psychological drama looks at Bates’ life as a young man living with his mother, Norma. Ending after its fifth season by loosely adapting the plot of Psycho, Netflix has all 50 episodes available to stream, making for a nice, horrifying binge in time for Halloween.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Created by: Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin, Anthony Cipriano (based on characters from Psycho by Robert Bloch)
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nicola Peltz, Nestor Carbonell, Kenny Johnson
Number of seasons: 5

Macaulay Culkin in a scene from season 10 of American Horror Story.
American Horror Story (2011)

This long-running anthology horror series that made Ryan Murphy a household name has terrified and puzzled viewers for almost a decade with its creepy, sadistic stories about everything from a house haunted by the ghosts of its former owners to a blood-sucking hotel matron. While every season has its own self-contained story, many actors have returned to play different characters, including Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Jessica Lange. The latest season, Double Feature, adds new members to the cast, including Macaulay Culkin.

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Created by: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk
Cast: Various
Number of seasons: 10

A scene from the third season of What We Do in the Shadows.

What We Do in the Shadows (2019)

This New Zealand mockumentary horror/comedy series is based on the 2014 film of the same name and is a must-watch for the Halloween season. A documentary crew follows four vampire roommates who each possess different special powers and distinct personalities, from the 757-year-old Nandor, who became obsessed with the Macarena, to Nadja, who is secretly seeing a human behind her vampire husband’s back. It’s the perfect watch if you want some laughs this Halloween.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Created by: Jemaine Clement (based on What We Do in the Shadows by Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi)
Cast: Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillen, Mark Proksch
Number of seasons: 3

A man in a hat looking ominously in a scene from Penny Dreadful.

Penny Dreadful (2014) 

Showtime’s British-American horror drama lasted for three seasons and a total of 27 episodes, and featured a host of iconic characters, from 19th-century British and Irish gothic fiction, from Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray to Abraham Ven Helsing and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Its mix of reality and the supernatural was so popular that it spawned a spinoff, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, that premiered in April 2020 but only lasted a single season.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Created by: John Logan
Cast: Reeve Carney, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper, Danny Sapani, Harry Treadaway
Number of seasons: 3

The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House (2018) 

This supernatural horror drama, loosely based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson, follows the lives of five adult siblings who continue to be haunted by paranormal experiences they had when they were younger. Alternating between two different timelines, you’ll be at the edge of your seat throughout the 10-episode first season. Season 2, The Haunting of Bly Manor, also received rave reviews.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Created by: Mike Flanagan (based on The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson)
Cast: Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Elizabeth Reaser, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel
Number of seasons: 1

The two main characters from Vampire Diaries looking at something.

The Vampire Diaries (2009) 

The second supernatural teen drama on the list, this one is based on the L.J. Smith book series of the same name and aired for eight seasons on The CW. Nina Dobrev stars as a teenager named Elena, who, after losing both of her parents in a car crash, falls for a 162-year-old vampire named Stefan (Paul Wesley). Dobrev also plays Katherine, a vampire with an uncanny resemblance to Elena and the past love of Stefan and his older brother, Damon (Ian Somerhalder.) It’s more vampire soap opera than horror, but if you’re looking for something less scary and more story-driven, this might be the right choice for Halloween night.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Created by: Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec (based on The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith)
Cast: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder, Steven R. McQueen, Sara Canning, Kat Graham, Candice King
Number of seasons: 8

Hannibal on Amazon Prime

Hannibal (2013)

Based on the characters and events from the Thomas Harris novels Red Dragon, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising, the story follows FBI special investigator Will Graham and his relationship with Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a forensic psychiatrist who, unbeknownst to Graham, is a serial killer himself. The series, which developed a cult following, aired for three seasons on NBC, so you’ll want to start bingeing now to get through all 39 episodes.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Created by: Bryan Fuller (based on characters from Red Dragon by Thomas Harris)
Cast: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Hettienne Park, Laurence Fishburne, Scott Thompson, Aaron Abrams, Gillian Anderson
Number of seasons: 3

A woman whispering into a man's ear in a scene from Twin Peaks on Hulu.

Twin Peaks (1990) 

This mystery series that follows an investigation into the suspicious murder of a town’s homecoming queen spawned a cult following, even though it only lasted for two seasons in its original run. It was so well-received, in fact, that the series was resurrected in 2017 with a third season that aired on Showtime with many of the original cast members reprising their roles. Its mix of supernatural sci-fi with melodramatic soap opera makes for a unique series. Start early to get through all 48 episodes.

Daryl leading the group in a scene from season 11 of The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead (2010) 

If you’ve been meaning to watch The Walking Dead but never quite got around to it, now is the time to get going since the postapocalyptic horror series is ending after its extended 11th season. Based on the Robert Kirkman comics of the same name, it’s all about people trying to survive amidst an apocalyptic event that introduced a virus causing people to rise from the dead as zombies. As the main group travels, seeks out shelter, and tries to rebuild communities and some semblance of life, they face enemies far greater than just the walking dead. It’s a thrilling ride that will get you invested so much in the characters that the walking, groaning, disfigured flesh-eating creatures become a backdrop to the more critical human stories. Once done, check out spinoffs like Fear the Walking Dead and Walking Dead: World Beyond, with several others to come.

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Created by: Frank Darabont (based on The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard)
Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira
Number of seasons: 11

The main characters from Supernatural, both looking at something in the distance.

Supernatural (2005) 

Two brothers hunt supernatural beings, from demons to ghosts and monsters in this highly rated series that aired on The WB for a whopping 15 seasons before reaching its end in 2019. As the longest-running American live-action fantasy TV series, there’s no way you’ll get through all 323 episodes before October 31. But the Halloween season is a good time to start. The first season sets the stage as Sam and Dean’s father vanishes during a hunting trip, leading the two boys to reunite and head out on the open road to find him. As they hunt down evil spirits, they learn the history of their lives and special powers, which they harness and explore through the twists and turns of subsequent seasons.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Created by: Eric Kripke
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy, Lauren Cohan, Misha Collins, Mark A. Sheppard, Mark Pellegrino, Alexander Calvert
Number of seasons: 15

Eleven looking angry as she tries to control something with her mind on Stranger Things.

Stranger Things (2016) 

A perfect Halloween binge, there are three seasons and 25 episodes to date of this science-fiction horror series that’s set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the early 1980s. A group of young boys meets a young girl with special powers, and they — and the town’s police chief — find themselves caught in the middle of supernatural happenings involving monsters, mysterious disappearances, and grisly deaths. It’s The Goonies for a new generation, and with far more special effects, blood, and gore. Catch up now so you’re ready for the upcoming fourth season in 2022.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Created by: The Duffer Brothers
Cast: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton
Number of seasons: 3

Lovecraft Country on HBO

Lovecraft Country (2016) 

HBO Max series Lovecraft Country might have been canceled after just a single season, but it’s worth checking out for an interesting twist to the traditional horror story. Set in the ’50s, a young Black man travels across the country in search of his father, who is missing. He ends up in the town that a famous horror author, H.P. Lovecraft, apparently based many of his seemingly fictional stories. But the man discovers there are some real dark secrets brewing beneath the surface. The talented star-studded cast that earned multiple Emmy nominations makes it worth watching alone.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Created by: Misha Green (based on Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff)
Cast: Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Aunjanue Ellis, Courtney B. Vance, Wunmi Mosaku, Abbey Lee, Jamie Chung, Jada Harris, Michael K. Williams
Number of seasons: 1

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