Trick 'r Treat

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Trick 'r Treat
Trick r treat.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Dougherty
Produced byBryan Singer
Written byMichael Dougherty
Music byDouglas Pipes
CinematographyGlen MacPherson
Edited byRobert Ivison
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • December 9, 2007 (2007-12-09) (Butt-Numb-A-Thon)
  • October 6, 2009 (2009-10-06) (United States)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$12 million[2]

Trick 'r Treat is a 2007 American anthology horror comedy film written and directed by Michael Dougherty and produced by Bryan Singer. The film stars Dylan Baker, Rochelle Aytes, Anna Paquin and Brian Cox. It relates four Halloween horror stories with a common element in them, Sam; a mysterious child trick-or-treater wearing shabby orange footie pajamas with a burlap sack over his head. The character makes an appearance in each of the stories whenever one of the other characters breaks a Halloween tradition.

Despite being delayed for two years and having a small number of public screenings, the film received much critical acclaim and has since garnered a strong cult following.[3] In October 2013, the filmmakers announced that a sequel, Trick 'r Treat 2, is in the works. In 2016, Michael Dougherty and Legendary Pictures teamed up with AtmosFX to create a series of digital Halloween decorations that feature Sam.[4] In 2017, a Trick 'r Treat themed "scare zone" was added to Halloween Horror Nights, an annual event held at the Universal Orlando Resort, followed by a haunted house in 2018.[5][6][7]


The film takes place over the course of Halloween in the fictional town of Warren Valley, Ohio. Its story is told in a nonlinear narrative, with characters crossing paths with each other throughout the film. At the center of the story is Sam, a peculiar trick-or-treater dressed in pajamas and a burlap sack, who appears to enforce the "rules" of Halloween.


In the opening scene, Emma and her Halloween-loving husband Henry return home after a celebratory night. Henry takes a rest in his house while Emma begins tearing down the seasonal decorations before the night's end, and is murdered by an unseen assailant. Henry discovers her mutilated corpse on display with the decorations hours later.


Charlie, an obese vandal who smashes jack-o'-lanterns, is caught stealing candy from an unattended bowl left by his school principal, Steven Wilkins. Wilkins proceeds to lecture Charlie about the importance of respecting Halloween's many rules and traditions. Charlie begins to projectile vomit, and Wilkins reveals that he spiked the candy with cyanide. While attempting to cover up Charlie's death, he ends up handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, including Sam. Wilkins' work burying Charlie and another child in his backyard is continually interrupted by his young son Billy and his elderly neighbor, Mr. Kreeg, a scarred recluse whose only company is his dog. Wilkins takes Charlie's severed head indoors so he and Billy can carve a jack o'lantern out of it, with Billy seemingly unconcerned if the head is real or not.

Halloween School Bus Massacre[edit]

A group of trick-or-treaters – Macy, Sara, Chip, and Schrader – meet Rhonda, a Halloween fanatic, said to be a savant. The group travels to a local flooded quarry where Macy recalls the urban legend of the "Halloween school bus massacre," which claimed the lives of eight mentally challenged children in a school bus on Halloween. The driver, who had been paid by their worn-out parents to dispose of them, was the only survivor of the crash. The group offers eight jack-o'-lanterns as tribute to the dead children. They then pose as zombies to prank Rhonda, who is terrified. When Schrader defends Rhonda, a jealous Macy ends up kicking one of the lanterns into the quarry, causing the undead massacred children to emerge from the dark water. The group flees, but Rhonda alone escapes, leaving the others to die at the zombie children's hands. She briefly encounters Sam while leaving, and the two exchange a nod of respect.

Surprise Party[edit]

Laurie, a self-conscious young woman, arrives in town with her sister Danielle and friends Maria and Janet. They pick up dates, save Laurie, who wants her "first time" to be special and declines their invitation for a get-together to enjoy the town festival instead. Laurie encounters a hooded serial killer, dressed as a vampire, who attacks her. At a bonfire, Laurie's friends witness the man (now severely injured) falling out of a tree and unmask him, revealed to be Wilkins. Laurie appears, having decided to join them for this occasion, and the girls transform into werewolves, devouring Wilkins and their deceased dates. Sam witnesses the feast.


While Wilkins is burying Charlie's body, Kreeg scares away children to steal their candy, aided by his dog. Sam breaks into his house, decorating it with Halloween memorabilia. Sam, unmasked as a demonic-looking pumpkin-headed child, attacks Kreeg. However, instead of killing the old man, he takes a chocolate bar that landed on Kreeg's lap. Satisfied that Kreeg offered him candy, thus fulfilling a tradition of Halloween, Sam takes his leave from the confused Kreeg. Photographs in the fireplace reveal Kreeg to be the bus driver that killed the eight children.


Later, Kreeg begins giving out candy to children before gazing at the neighborhood. He witnesses Rhonda casually pulling her pumpkin cart along. He sees Billy handing out treats to other kids and enjoying himself. He observes Laurie being dropped off by her sister and friends. He catches sight of Sam watching Emma and Henry returning home, with him going to exact punishment when Emma blows out a jack-o'-lantern. He returns inside, only to receive a knock on the door. Kreeg opens it, revealing the resurrected children waiting for him. The final shots of the film show Kreeg being dismembered, the children having gotten their vengeance.



Season's Greetings[edit]

Season's Greetings is an animated short created by Trick 'r Treat writer and director Michael Dougherty in 1996 and was the precursor of the film.[8] The film featured Sam as a little boy dressed in orange footy pajamas with his burlap sack head covering, as he is being stalked by a stranger on Halloween night. The short was released as a DVD extra on the original release for Trick 'r Treat and was aired on FEARnet in October 2013 as part of a 24-hour Trick 'r Treat marathon on Halloween.[9]

Filming location and delays[edit]

Trick r' Treat was filmed on location in Vancouver, British Columbia. Originally slated for an October 5, 2007 theatrical release, it was announced in September 2007 that the film had been pushed back. After many festival screenings, it was released on home media in 2009.[2]


Theatrical screenings[edit]

The first public screening took place at Harry Knowles' Butt-Numb-A-Thon film festival in Austin, Texas, on December 9, 2007.[10] Subsequent screenings included the Sitges Film Festival on October 7, 2008, the 2008 Screamfest Horror Film Festival on October 10, 2008, a free screening in New York sponsored by Fangoria on October 13, 2008, and another free screening in Los Angeles co-sponsored by Ain't It Cool News and Legendary Pictures on October 23, 2008. The film was also screened at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International, the Fantasia Festival on July 29 and 30, 2009,[11] the film festival Terror in the Aisles 2 in Chicago on August 15, 2009, and the After Dark film festival in Toronto on August 20, 2009 at The Bloor.

Home media[edit]

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures released the film direct-to-DVD and on Blu-ray in North America on October 6, 2009, in the UK on October 26, and in Australia on October 28. Shout! Factory released a "Collector's Edition" Blu-ray on October 9, 2018, with all extras from previous DVD/Blu-ray releases included as well as new extra content.[12]


  • Sideshow Collectibles created a 15-inch vinyl figure based on the film's scarecrow-like character Sam.
  • NECA created a ​5 12-inch scale figure of Sam that has been released as part of NECA's "Cult Classics" line of movie figures; the figure includes a stand, pumpkins, "candybar", lollipop, sack, and interchangeable, uncovered head.[13]
  • Palace Press and Insight Editions published a 108-page coffee table book entitled Trick 'r Treat: Tales of Mayhem, Mystery & Mischief. It documents the making of the film, and includes storyboards, concept art, cast and crew biographies, and behind-the-scenes photographs.
  • Funko created a deluxe POP! figurine of Sam sitting on a boulder, alongside a jack-o-lantern and a burlap sack; it was released as a Spirit Halloween exclusive September 24, 2020.[14]

Comic books[edit]

DC Comics partner Wildstorm Comics had planned to release a four-issue adaptation of Trick 'r Treat written by Marc Andreyko and illustrated by Fiona Staples, with covers by Michael Dougherty, Breehn Burns and Ragnar.[15] The series was originally going to be released weekly in October 2007, ending on Halloween, but the series was pushed back due to the film's backlisting. The four comics were instead released as a graphic novel adaptation in October 2009.[16] Legendary Comics set the second Trick 'r Treat comic book, titled Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead, for an October 2015 release date,[17] and features Arts of Artist Fiona Staples and Stephen Byrne.[18] The comic was released alongside the graphic novel tie-in of Dougherty's Krampus.[19]


Critical reaction[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 81% based on 26 reviews, with an average rating of 7.32/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends, Trick 'r' Treat hits all the genre marks with gusto and old fashioned suspense."[20] Dread Central gave it 5 out of 5 stars, stating, "Trick 'r Treat ranks alongside John Carpenter's Halloween as traditional October viewing and I can't imagine a single horror fan that won't fall head over heels in love with it."[21] The film earned 10 out of 10 from Ryan Rotten of[22]

IGN called it a "very well-crafted Halloween horror tribute" and "a scary blast", rating it a score of 8 out of 10.[23] Bloody Disgusting ranked the film ninth in their list of the "Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade", calling it "so good that its lack of a theatrical release borders on the criminal."[24]



Michael Dougherty announced in October 2009 that he is planning a sequel,[27] but later stated that there were "no active development nor an attempt at a pitch."[28] He went on to say that "[the] more fans continue to support and spread the movie, the more likely it is that Sam will rise from the pumpkin patch once more."[29] Dougherty helped create a short promotional Easter trailer for FEARnet's Trick 'r Treat 24-hour marathon for Halloween 2011; the trailer showed a family's Easter celebration turning into one of horror, with Sam watching the chaos outside while wearing rabbit ears.[30]

In October 2013, Dougherty and Legendary Pictures officially announced a sequel, titled Trick 'r Treat 2. Dougherty said he plans to "shake it up a little bit" with the sequel.[31]

In October 2017, Dougherty stated: "My hope is that once Godzilla has been put to rest that I can dive back into it ... I would love to finish writing it in post-production and then I'd love to make it my next project. But we'll see."[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Trick 'r Treat (2007)". British Film Institute. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Barone, Matt (2013-10-28). "The Scary-Good Afterlife of "Trick 'r Treat," The Movie That Should Be Halloween's Answer to "A Christmas Story"". Complex. Retrieved 2015-01-12.
  3. ^ "Cult-Favorite Halloween Flick Trick 'r Treat Streams on Facebook Tonight". Retrieved 2013-02-11.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Squires, John (August 17, 2017). "'Trick 'r Treat' Scare Zone Coming to Halloween Horror Nights!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  6. ^ Sposato, Sean (September 7, 2017). "VIDEO: Sam invades Halloween Horror Nights 2017 in new Trick 'r Treat scare zone at Universal Orlando". InsideTheMagic. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  7. ^ Pearson, Ben (May 16, 2018). "'Trick 'r Treat' Mazes Coming to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights". /Film. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  8. ^ "Cool Horror Videos: Michael Dougherty's Season's Greetings – the short that inspired Trick 'R Treat". JoBlo. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  9. ^ Lane, David. "FEARnet Airing a 24-Hour Marathon of TRICK 'R TREAT's on Halloween with Giveaways and New Content by Director Michael Dougherty". Collider. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  10. ^ Carolyn, Axelle (October 23, 2009). "The Problem with Trick 'r Treat". IGN. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  11. ^ (translator) Rupert Bottenberg. "Fantasia 2009 Schedule". Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  12. ^
  13. ^ [1] Archived June 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Sam Funko Pop Figure Deluxe - Trick 'r Treat -". Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  15. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade". Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  16. ^ "Trick 'r Treat: Tales of Mayhem, Mystery and Mischief by John Griffin, Insight Editions, 110 pages". 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  17. ^ "Legendary Comics Haunt Your Holidays With Trick 'r Treat and Krampus Graphic Novels". 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  18. ^ "Legendary Comics to Run "PACIFIC RIM," "TRICK R' TREAT" Sequel Tie-ins". 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  19. ^ 'Trick 'r Treat' and 'Krampus' Get Graphic Novel Adaptations!
  20. ^ Trick r' Treat (2007) at Rotten Tomatoes
  21. ^ "Dread Central Review of Trick r' Treat". Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  22. ^ Turek, Ryan (2008-10-16). "Review of Trick r' Treat". Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  23. ^ Cindy White. " Review of Trick r' Treat". Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  24. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 3". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
  25. ^ 2008 Screamfest Winners Archived March 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "2009 Toronto After Dark Film Festival Winners". Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  27. ^ "'Trick 'r Treat' Sequel in the Pipeline?". Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  28. ^ "Michael Dougherty Talks Potential 'Trick 'r Treat' Sequel!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  30. ^ "Half Way To Halloween". FEARnet. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  31. ^ Highfill, Samantha (October 29, 2013). "'Trick 'r Treat' gets a sequel: Michael Dougherty talks what's next". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  32. ^ "'Trick 'r Treat' was almost made by George Romero, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, and Stan Winston". Entertainment Weekly. 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2017-10-25.

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