I love Halloween. I dare say, it may be my favorite holiday. There’s just something about the eerie and spooky stuff that is just awesome. And, unlike Christmas, it’s notably easier to find anime to watch that follow the theme of the season. However, I’m also not a big fan of watching horror, as dark and depressing endings aren’t something I’m in favor of. As such, I’m constantly find myself in limbo, between having a good Halloween anime that’s spooky, but isn’t going to leave me scarred for life. If you’re anything like me, this annual conundrum haunts you year after year.
Luckily, this isn’t my first go-around. I have been building a list of anime I can use as go-to series. These have either the spooky factor or fit the season based on having the classic Halloween monsters (vampires, zombies, and ghosts) while leaving you feeling good. A word before we begin, these series are in no particular order. All of them are good for different people and reasons; having a definitive “Top X” list is a bit unjust, as it largely depends on what you’re wanting at the time.
So, with that said, let’s begin!
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is a great mix of eerie atmosphere, sinister mystery, and supernatural romance. It follows the story of Yuuko, the ghost who has haunted Seikyou Private Academy for decades, and Teiichi, a freshman at the academy who can see her. You’ll get to watch their relationship develop and the dark secrets come to life as they investigate the mystery surrounding Yuuko’s death. If you’re looking for a spooky mystery, paired with some romantic intrigue and a bit of well-placed comedy, you should check out this series.
Karin is great for those seeking a vampire story that’s more on the lighter side. The story follows the titular character, Karin, and the new kid in town, Kenta. Due to a bit of a slip-up by Karin, Kenta learns of her secret: that she is a vampire, albeit a bit of a unique case. After an explanation (and some threats from her parents…), Kenta works to help Karin keep her secret safe. The ending, an anime original, isn’t the greatest conclusion, but that’s not too unusual for most anime-original endings. Overall, however, the series is definitely worth watching if you want some romantic comedies for Halloween.
The Lost Village is atmosphere done right. The premise is there is a village deep in the woods, secluded from society. Seeking to start a new life for various reasons, a group of people rent out a bus to find this hidden village. They find it, but it turns out to be not much more than some old abandoned village. Not long after arriving, the situation goes sour as strange events start happening and people start to go missing… The Lost Village does a good job shrouding the truth of the village in mystery and keeping the atmosphere creepy, but not downright scary. I will also add the first half of the series is where it’s strongest, as the ending seemed to fall short of what the opening half set up. But, if you can look past that and can appreciate the atmosphere it establishes, then I’d recommend trying this series.
Sankarea follows a pretty standard pattern: boy meets girl, girl falls to her death, girl is resurrected as a zombie… Okay, maybe not standard… Without spoiling too much, the two lead characters are Chihiro, a boy obsessed with zombies, and Rea, the girl who he resurrects after meeting an untimely end. The series follows these two as their relationship develops, as well as the various situations that would arise from becoming a zombie. Sankarea was certainly an interesting one, and one of the few zombie-centric series I’ve seen that didn’t get too gory, a tough feat to accomplish given the nature of what a zombie is. It does touch on some somber notes, but overall I would say Sankarea does a solid job balancing chilling side of zombie horror with a lighter moments that let you appreciate the characters and their development.
We’re going full-blown moe with this one. Tsukuyomi tells the story of a freelance photographer named Kouhei. On a gig taking photos of a creepy, secluded castle, he encounters Hazuki, the descendant of powerful vampire royalty. While Kouhei is captivated by her, she bites him, sealing a blood pact and binding him as her servant. Or, at least it should have. For reasons unknown, none of Hazuki’s vampire powers seem to work on him. After some mystical (and not so mystical) combat, Kouhei frees Hazuki from the castle. The plot progresses as Kouhei fights to protect Hazuki from those who would use her power against her will. I do very much enjoy this series, and it has some very unique art direction in some scenes for emphasis and to more artisitcally display events. The series certainly isn’t the spookiest, but is about vampires and a solid series overall. If you’re seeking some moe meshed with Halloween monsters, it’s hard to go wrong with Tsukuyomi. How can you beat a gothic lolita wearing cat ears? Moe for days.
I must admit, I watch this just about every year. Ghost Hunt follows Mai Taniyama, a high school girl who stumbles into a part time job with Shibuya Psychic Research, lead by the seemingly callous Kazuya “Naru” Shibuya. The series plays out in arcs, with each arc being tied to a specific investigation. Some arcs are better than others, but overall the series has a great cast of characters, good character development, and exciting and sometimes chilling moments that only seem to get better and better after each arc. If you’re looking for something that has creepy vibes interspersed with well-timed levity, then I’d highly recommend Ghost Hunt.
I’m a big fan of series that give you creepy or unsettling vibes, and Shadows House has this in spades. It follows the doll, Emilico, and her shadow master, Kate, as they learn more about the mansion in which they live. It starts out kind of cute, due in large part to the excellent art and animations by CloverWorks. But, as the characters learn more about the goings-on in Shadows House, the more you begin to realize something is VERY wrong. Great show (with a second season too!) and fits the bill for an eerie Halloween anime.
This one caught me off-guard. When I was making my upcoming anime list, it ended up as just an honorable mention (how do I keep messing up those lists???). After watching it though, Yofukashi no Uta ended up being one of my absolute favorites. We follow Kou Yamori as he explores the night. On his first venture out late, he meets Nazuna Nanakusa, a girl who isn’t quite what she appears. The series is very chill, and has some of the most stunning visuals and catchy OP and ED, so not sure it’s quite fitting for this list, but it DOES have vampires in it. And one of the episodes actually does scary vampires pretty well (won’t say which, no spoilers here). Regardless, it’s a fantastic anime so go check it out.
Mieruko-chan is one I finally watched last year (maybe because of all the clips of episode 1’s fanservice, maybe not… It’s mostly just episode 1 if you don’t like fanservice, so don’t let that turn you off). The premise is straight-forward: a high school girl can see ghosts, and it scares her. After reading that ghosts will leave you alone if they think you can’t see them, she decides the best way to deal with them is to ignore them, a task that’s very challenging. The ghosts’ designs are pretty crazy, but aside from that it has a very slice-of-life feel. If you can deal with the grotesque ghosts, this is great Halloween anime.
This one’s airing as I’m writing this, so I was hesitant to add it. After some thinking, I decided to add it. Dark Gathering might be a bit heavy for this list, but the dark moments are well-balanced with comedy. Not in a jarring way that makes it feel like they’re interrupting the creepy moment (like you see way too often), but at the appropriate times. The ghosts are pretty intense and there’s a lot of creepy moments, so I felt it was appropriate to add it now. There’s a bit of action and romance as well, which is a plus for me, but the spooky elements take center stage. Just understand that Dark Gathering can be pretty brutal, so watchers beware.
So, there you go. A list of anime that fit with the Halloween season without making you regret your decisions when you have to go to the bathroom alone at night. I tried to get a good mix of different niches and themes. Let me know what you think by sending me a message in the Contact section, or especially if there’s a series you think would be great for this list, as I’m always on the lookout for great anime. Have a great and spooky Halloween!