Seasonal animated videos are some of the most effective marketing tools, and provide some of the highest ROI thanks to repeated use year after year (just look at those Coca-Cola polar bears).
So to celebrate Halloween, and the spooky power of seasonal animation, we’re sharing some of our favorite Halloween flicks. These are the go-to animated classics, from some of the top studios and animators throughout history. Hopefully, the classic styles, narratives, and timeless charm will inspire you the next time your creative team is cooking up a seasonal hit. Beware: some of them are so good, it’s spooky.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton is known for his unique style of spooky stop-motion animation. And the 1993 classic “Nightmare Before Christmas” may be the crown jewel of Burton’s creepy classics. The Academy Award-nominated musical film centers on Jack Skellington (Danny Elfman) the “Pumpkin King” of Halloween Town, as he discovers the meaning of Christmas — with dire consequences. It’s a film that can be enjoyed throughout the entire holiday season, but between us, the “Boogie Man” scene is straight up creepy.
The Simpsons “Treehouse Of Horror”
The Simpsons is the longest-running animated sitcom of all time, and their “Treehouse of Horror” special is a seasonal staple. The Halloween special changes from year to year, as the beloved characters embark on some delightfully horrifying adventures. Some have debated which episode tops them all, but with more than two decades of specials to choose from, we’ll let you decide for yourself. The segment above (a “Couch Gag” by famous horror director Guillermo del Toro) happens to be the most-watched “Treehouse of Horror” clip on YouTube, with more than 34 million views.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Not all Halloween movies have to be scary. “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is a delightful children’s tale that has stood the test of time. The “Peanuts” classic, brought to life by animator Bill Melendez, was first released in 1966. You can still catch it on ABC during the Halloween season.
Ichabod And Mr. Toad – The Headless Horseman (Disney)
What’s an animation roundup without some Disney thrown in? This epic chase scene from the 1949 classic “Ichabod and Mr. Toad” is a action-packed animated thrill inspired by the timeless Headless Horseman tale. Don’t forget to notice Disney’s masterful use of multiplaning to bring this 2D feature to life.
In 2017, Disney/Pixar took Halloween into 3D with “Coco.” The Academy Award-winning animated film is inspired by Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos, focusing on one boy’s journey discovering his familial roots. The film isn’t scary (it’ll definitely pull at your heartstrings) but there’s plenty of skeletons to get you into the spirit of the season.
Hanna-Barbera’s Scooby Doo has been a staple of spooky animation since it first aired in the late 1960s. The series focuses on a ragtag gang of teens that solve paranormal mysteries with the help of their lovably goofy Great Dane, Scooby Doo. Though the show is always centered around ghosts, ghouls, and goblins, its official Halloween special aired on The WB in 2003.
Spooktackular: Animated Alphabet
This alphabetical march through the macabre by Adam Osgood is a perfect Halloween animation. Timeless, creepy, and just fun to share with your word nerd friends on Halloween. This short piece doesn’t use voiceover to drive the story either, making it easy to share for those who don’t want to watch with the sound on (the music, we admit, is creepy enough!)
Nothing says classic animation like a zoetrope. When spun or moved, this optical illusion creates the effects of animation with either static images, or in this case, a carefully crafted cake. The images or elements of the zoetrope move too quickly, so your eye confuses the movement and it takes on a spooky, flickering animation quality reminiscent of early horror films, and modern classics like The Ring.
This Halloween animation from Alexandre DUBOSC is playful, masterful, faithful to the original, and quintessentially spooky and delightful. It’s the perfect animation to get you in the Halloween spirit.
And if that doesn’t do it for you, how about this painstaking stop-motion animation recreation of a zoetrope using a carving knife, and a pumpkin.
Angry Birds Seasons “Ham ‘O Ween”
We have to give this “Angry Birds” special a shoutout simply because of its sheer YouTube popularity. The roughly five-minute tale takes you on a bizarre Halloween journey with the Angry Birds team, using CGI and 2D technique to bring the short to life. The video has garnered more than 82 million views, which says something about how a video game can build their brand through creative storytelling on a completely different medium.
This Halloween animation combines all the classic Halloween characters—dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, zombies, mummies, and more—into a fluid, fun taste of everything we love about this spooky season. Animator Daniel Cordero’s delightful Halloween animation highlights the character design at the heart of each of these Halloween staples. He relies on simple iconic elements, artful transitions, smooth, colorful motion graphics, and flat 2D design to make each character distinct yet part of the cohesive animation as a whole.
It’s really well done, and a great example of seasonal animation at its best.
How You Can Get Into The Holiday Spirit With Halloween Animation
Seasonal animation is a time to let your hair down and have some fun with clients and prospects. You’ve already got built-in appeal, not to mention views. If you opt for animation you even get a video marketing resource you can use for years. That’s ROI so good, it’s downright frightening.