ByDanielle Ghazi, writer at
Sudoku enthusiast with an encyclopaedic knowledge of The Simpsons quotes.
Danielle Ghazi

(WARNING: There are inevitable spoilers below, as this IS a how-to survival guide on making it through Halloween, according to the movies)

If there's one thing that can be said about films, it’s that they’ve taught us exactly what to do (and what not to do) should you ever find yourself at the mercy of a knife-wielding/vomit-spewing/furniture-moving villain.

Now it's that special time of year again: All Hallows’ Eve, and you need to be prepared. This is the night when Evil pulls out all the stops — waiting for you to come down the stairs and open the door so it can rear its big, ugly head 180 degrees towards you.

Hocus Pocus (1993)
Hocus Pocus (1993)

Be warned: None of the following methods are entirely foolproof and there are no guarantees that you won’t end up meeting the pointy end of your villain’s weapon of choice and becoming a human shish kebab, but you can try, and it’s the thought that counts, right?

In the end it’s persistence, quick-thinking, and a whole lotta luck that separates the First Kills from the Final Girls and Boys.

Circle Of Salt

Protects Against: , , Old Boyfriends

A simple method for the unprepared. Should you ever find a witch tap-tap-tapping at your window, it’s probably best not to invite them in. However, if they manage to creep in anyway (with a little telekinetic turning of the locks), your best bet would be to head straight for the kitchen, grab your largest salt dispenser (no time for little salt shakers here) and form a neat circle around you (or as neat a circle as your panicked hands can manage).

Hocus Pocus (1993)
Hocus Pocus (1993)

Simple but effective, it managed to keep the Sanderson sisters at bay when they decided to drop by the Dennison residence for a surprise visit in Hocus Pocus. Of course, a salt circle is only effective if the person it should be protecting doesn’t leave the circle, a la Dani Dennison.

Consider your options should you have a kid in your entourage. Chances are they won’t listen to anything you say and will most likely find themselves the targets of supernatural attacks. Invest in ear plugs to avoid the chances of your child/sibling being hypnotized by a witch’s song.

Hocus Pocus (1993)
Hocus Pocus (1993)

Wait For Sunrise

Protects Against: Witches, ,

Time can be a fickle thing. You’re either stuck with too much of it or not enough, both of which will play to your disadvantage as you battle it out with your Halloween nightmares. If you’re savvy and patient enough (depending on how much time you’ve got left), you can clean your hands of all that blood/dirt/ectoplasm, find a safe place to hide, and wait for Mother Nature to do her work. It’s what nabbed the Sanderson sisters in the end...

...and it’s how Judy and Roger escaped the clutches of their demonic foes in Night of the Demons.

However, in case your secret hiding place is discovered, you’ll need some tricks up your sleeve if you plan on lasting the night. Once again, you’ll need to turn to Mother Nature for a bit of elemental help.


Works Against: Demons, Reanimated corpses

Dig deep into your pockets and fish out your lighters, because a little fire can go a long way when you’re backed into a corner by creatures of the night. While it may not always kill your attackers, it will keep them a safe distance away, giving you enough time to make a quick escape.

Night of the Demons (1988)
Night of the Demons (1988)

Fire is also the perfect way to ensure that what is dead stays dead. In Pet Sematary, Louis Creed is forced to kill his young son, Gage, after he brings him back to life and finds that he’s not quite the same. He uses a shot of morphine as his weapon of choice (he is a doctor after all) before burning down the house, carrying his dead wife towards the burial ground as he plans on making the same mistake he made with Gage.

Pet Sematary (1989)
Pet Sematary (1989)

Avoid Burial Grounds

Works Against: Home-dwelling spirits

This one should be obvious, unless you’re Louis Creed or you happened to have a shifty realtor who kept some of your new home’s history under wraps. If you find out that your new dream home is built on top of an old burial ground, your first and only thought should be to evacuate immediately.

This can prove difficult if you have children, as they will most likely act as magnets for activity and may inadvertently lend a hand in your unfair demise. Watch out for possessed children’s toys and static on the television, as they should be immediate signs that your house is gateway to another dimension. Don’t bother packing up your belongings like the Freelings in Poltergeist — just leave.

Poltergeist (1982)
Poltergeist (1982)

The same method applies if one or more of your family members is possessed by the spirits of the house, like in The Amityville Horror. Knock them unconscious, throw them in your car, and drive as far away from that hellhole as possible.

Hide Within Sacred Grounds/Call A Priest

Works Against: Demonic possessions, Headless Horsemen

Sometimes you need a helping hand — preferably a religious one that can banish your demons back to the depths of Hell. Even for the non-religious, a little holy water and some incantations can go a long way when you find yourself face-to-face with evil.

Take Father Damien Karras, for example. Not only did he help to fight the demon possessing Regan in The Exorcist, but he sacrificed his life to ensure that it could not possess anyone else. Find yourself a Father Karras and you’ll have a greater chance of surviving, though you may find it difficult to find someone so willing to help.

The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist (1973)

If you find yourself without a plan and scared out of your wits, your best option is to hide out in a church until you’ve figured out a way to survive. Remember: There’s no shame in hiding when you’re squaring off against the supernatural.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Always Assume They Will Come Back

Less of an attack method and more of a state of mind, if we’ve learned anything from the classic Halloween film franchise, it’s that death isn’t always final, even if you think you've seen it with your own eyes.

Michael Myers is the greatest example of this. You can shoot him multiple times, push him off a balcony, burn him, stab him, and decapitate him, only to find that he’s still alive/you’ve accidentally killed somebody else instead.

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Michael Myers is the killer that never quits, which means you’re in for a whole lotta running while looking back over your shoulder. Consider a one-way plane ticket out of the country.

Making It Out Alive

So you’ve fled the burial grounds, banished the demon, killed the serial killer, burnt down your house, and managed to survive the night. You’ll more than likely be walking away with a head full of prematurely grey hair, some permanent scars (physical and psychological), and perhaps a lifelong fear of the dark, but you’ve survived and surely that’s enough reason to celebrate.

Not only that, but you’ve joined the prestigious league of "The Final Ones." While that sounds great, it also means that you’ll probably have to fight your way through the sequel next Halloween when your old/new foe comes storming in, ready to wreak havoc on your otherwise mundane life.

Whatever it is, at least you’ll be prepared.

Don't forget that a cell phone is a necessary item you will need during your survival night, even if they hardly ever work as they're supposed to in the movies:


Would you survive Halloween?


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