The Life Lessons Of Nightmare On Elm Street (And 9 Other Halloween Movies)

So, I’m a bit obsessed with Halloween. Its deep, and it’s real.

I have a lot of Halloween décor that stays out year-round, so I can enjoy it throughout the year. I even have a family of skeleton garden gnomes, complete with a skele-dog, that hang out 24/7/365 in my flower beds.

Some people put up their Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving. In our house, the Halloween decorations go up slowly starting sometime around August 31st.

So in honor of my favorite holiday, I thought I would compile a list of some of my favorite Halloween movies (in no particular order), complete with the ways they can help you successfully navigate life.

I bet you didn’t think Gremlins or Young Frankenstein had a moral high ground, did you?

What Your Favorite Halloween Flicks Can Teach You

1. Mary Reilly

A twist on the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tale, Julia Roberts plays a maid who is smitten with her employer, and his dark, creepy colleague.

mary reilly

The self-help takeaway: Sometimes, you can find love in strange places.

2. Dracula

Based on the 1897 classic by Bram Stoker, the epitome of all vampires seeks out his immortal, infinite love.


The life lesson: Old flames die hard.

3. Edward Scissorhands

Johnny Depp plays a man with hands of scissors, who is left to fumble through life and love after his creator dies.

edward scissorhands

The life lesson: Don’t judge a book by its cover—we’re all fighting our own special kind of battle.

4. Gremlins

After sweet little fuzzy beings are discovered to turn into goblin-like creatures, an entire town is taken over, all because their simple care instructions were ignored.


The life lesson: Follow the rules, or be prepared to handle the consequences.

5. Young Frankenstein

A mad scientist creates a terrifying man-creature who wreaks havoc throughout town, in a hilarious, satirical take on the Mary Shelley novel.

young frankenstein

The life lesson: We all want the same thing: to belong.

6. Carrie

Based on the Stephen King novel, this movie follows young Carrie, who struggles throughout her high school years, as she is bullied and constantly ridiculed by her mother and peers.


The life lesson: Don’t bully…not just because it’s mean, but because it might come back to bite you.

7. Nightmare on Elm Street

In the first film of an entire series, the Wes Craven flick displays several characters throughout the movie, most of which are stalked and killed in their dreams, and ultimately meet their demise in reality.

nightmare on elm street

The life lesson: You must look inside yourself and embrace your power within.

8.  Hocus Pocus

Three ancient witches are summoned, after the main male character in the film acts out to impress a girl, which results in an entertaining romp through Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts with his kid sister.

hocus pocus

The life lesson: No matter how cool you think you are, family comes first.

9. The Goonies

A group of friends set off on a treasure hunt, complete with pirates, to help save a neighborhood from being turned into a golf course.


The self-help takeaway: If you have a cause, fight for it.

10. Rocky Horror Picture Show

An engaged couple stumbles upon the home of an alien “sweet transvestite,” and his party filled with magic, sex, and rock and roll.

how bout that

The self-help takeaway: Life’s short. Dance!


AudraAudra Dittlinger is a contributor for, as well as a full-time working mom living in rural Indiana. She is an insurance professional with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She writes to create, inspire, and empower.

Featured image by CentralTrash

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