It’s complicated to say if E.T. is or isn’t a Halloween movie. With some elements in the film that support it and some that contradict the fact that E.T. is a Halloween movie, it makes it difficult to come to a clear answer to that question.
However, I will try to give you the best answer possible. So, let’s explore all of the themes that resonate with the Halloween spirit and also give attention to the parts of the film that may not align with the traditional narrative of the holiday.
The Halloween Elements in E.T.
Typical Halloween movies usually have spooky and supernatural elements and are full of terrifying and gore scenes.
While E.T. is far from such a graphic movie, there are absolutely some subtle links to the holiday. These include a sense of suspense, the unknown, and a feeling of adventure that mixes with Halloween’s spirit of curiosity.
Even though the usual Halloween characters like ghosts and monsters are not present in E.T., the movie does have an unusual being (an alien) and deals with mysteries. This is one of the elements that give that supernatural vibe, creating a good argument that E.T. is a Halloween movie.
Lastly, there is one scene that creates an even better argument and further proves that E.T. can be considered a Halloween movie. In this scene, E.T. and the boys dress up in the holiday spirit and go treat or trick together.
Here, Michael is dressed as a Frankenstein-looking lumberjack, Elliot as a zombie, and E.T. as a ghost – a costume that is simultaneously a disguise. Apart from these costumes, there are also some other memorable ones like Mary’s cat costume and the person dressed as Yoda who E.T. found very interesting.
This is both a warm and slightly intense scene because during the hunt for Reese’s Pieces candy, E.T. is trying to hide his identity from the others while having fun and bonding with Michael and Elliot.
The Counterarguments As to Why E.T. Is Not a Halloween Movie
While there certainly are parts in the movie that fit the requirements, some fans and critics argue that E.T. can’t be classified as a Halloween movie.
The film’s heavy focus on empathy, friendship, and family is one of the major reasons why E.T. is not a Halloween movie. Typically, such movies involve spooky creatures that induce fear and uncertainty, keeping the fans on the edge of their seats. And even though it does contain a few nail-biting moments, E.T. primarily creates a cozy atmosphere with minimal horror elements.
E.T. diverges from the Halloween movie tradition due to its release schedule. While Halloween movies are usually timed for October to align with the holiday, E.T. was released in June 1982.
Now, while this fact doesn’t imply that E.T. is a summer movie, it can still be considered as another reason to exclude this film from the Halloween genre.
E.T.’s Influence on Halloween
This movie’s lovable character left a mark on the holiday celebration for years to come. People often dress up as E.T. for Halloween and put E.T.-inspired decorations alongside the usual ghosts and pumpkins.
Halloween is a holiday that celebrates creativity, nostalgia, and joy. When people are choosing costumes or decorations from this movie, it gives a happy and nostalgic feeling, making the spooky season even more special and memorable.
Remember the iconic bicycle scene in E.T.? There, Elliot and E.T. ride on a bicycle and, in one of the most magical movie scenes ever, they start flying in front of the moon. Since its first appearance in the 80s, this moment has remained a big part of pop culture and is still a hot topic in the community. Especially around the Halloween season.
E.T. Was Originally A Horror Movie
E.T. is one of the best sci-fi movies ever, and the fans wouldn’t change anything about it. However, did you know that Steven Spielberg originally wanted to make E.T. a horror movie and name it “Night Skies”?
Spielberg’s plan was already in motion and he even found a director for the movie. Thankfully, during the process of designing the alien characters, Spielberg decided to halt this project. Instead of continuing with Night Skies, he expanded a side story of its script and wrote the extra-terrestrial movie we all know and love.
While Steven Spielberg is a great director and surely would’ve made a good movie, the fans can only guess if Night Skies would’ve been as big of a success as E.T.
If I can give one good guess it would be that Night Skies would’ve probably contained more of the scary Halloween elements discussed above. So,
Is E.T. a Halloween Movie?
No. E.T. is not a Halloween movie. There have been many classic movies that, despite having some of the usual Halloween elements like scary costumes or trick or treating, were never considered to be a part of the Halloween genre, and this one is no different
Every popular Halloween movie’s goal is to scare people by introducing some sort of horrifying-looking creature or person with ill intentions. These are psychological thrillers that will have you covering your eyes and jumping out from your couch.
E.T., on the other hand, will have you lying comfortably on your couch and will probably make you reach for your eyes as well. But instead of covering them, you will be wiping tears, not knowing if you should be happy or sad that “E.T. go home”.
In the end, the answer if E.T. is a Halloween movie is subjective. The fans from the two sides of this argument can come up with some very good points and there can be a very long debate. While this debate may not ever be settled, it doesn’t change the fact that Spielberg made one of the greatest films ever made, whether it’s a Halloween movie or not.