Trick 'r Treat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Trick 'r Treat
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Dougherty
Written byMichael Dougherty
Produced byBryan Singer
CinematographyGlen MacPherson
Edited byRobert Ivison
Music byDouglas Pipes
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • December 9, 2007 (2007-12-09) (Butt-Numb-A-Thon)
  • October 6, 2009 (2009-10-06) (United States)
Running time
82 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[2]
Budget$12 million[3]
Box office$27,909[4]

Trick 'r Treat is a 2007 American anthology horror film written and directed by Michael Dougherty (in his directorial debut) 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 trick-or-treating demon wearing 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 only a limited number of screenings at film festivals, the film received positive reviews and has since garnered a cult following.[5]


The film takes place on Halloween night in the fictional town of Warren Valley, Ohio. The plot follows a nonlinear narrative, with characters crossing paths throughout the film. At the center of the story is Sam, a peculiar trick-or-treater in an orange footie pajama costume, 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. Emma (who hates Halloween) blows out their jack-o'-lantern before midnight against Henry's superstitious advice. As Henry relaxes and falls asleep in the house, Emma begins tearing down the decorations; but is then ambushed and murdered by an unseen assailant. Hours later, Henry discovers her mutilated corpse on display with the decorations.


Charlie, a child who vandalizes jack-o'-lanterns, is caught stealing candy from an unattended bowl previously left by the school principal Steven Wilkins. Seemingly taking the offense in a stride, Wilkins offers Charlie a candy bar while lecturing Charlie on the importance of respecting Halloween rules and traditions. Charlie gradually feels more unwell until he begins to vomit chocolate and blood. As Charlie dies, Wilkins reveals that he laced the candy with cyanide, remarking "You should always check your candy."

While clumsily attempting to hide the murder, he hands out candy to trick-or-treaters, including Sam. Wilkins attempts to bury Charlie in his backyard along with the body of another victim, but is continually interrupted by his young son Billy, his cantankerous elderly neighbor Mr. Kreeg, and Kreeg’s dog Spite. The other victim turns out to still be alive and struggles in his sack, forcing Wilkins to violently beat him to death with a shovel before anyone can discern the noise.

When Wilkins returns indoors, he briefly notices Kreeg screaming for help at the window; Wilkins brushes him off before something seems to attack him. Wilkins guides Billy downstairs to carve a jack-o'-lantern, hiding a knife behind his back. After some hesitation, Wilkins appears to stab Billy. However, Billy is unharmed and it is revealed that the knife was plunged into Charlie's severed head, the "jack-o'-lantern" they are about to carve.

Halloween School Bus Massacre[edit]

A group of teenage trick-or-treaters—Macy, Chip, Schrader, and Sara—are collecting jack-o'-lanterns when they meet devout Halloween traditionalist Rhonda. The group, led by Macy, visits a flooded quarry where she recounts the urban legend of the "Halloween School Bus Massacre". In the legend, the weary and resentful parents of eight monstrous children bribed their bus driver to dispose of them. Before the driver could complete his plan, one child escaped his shackles and took control of the bus; accidentally driving it off a cliff, into the quarry. The children all drowned, though the driver survived yet was never heard from again. No one tried to find the bus, as the people didn't want it to be found.

Macy leaves eight jack-o'-lanterns by the lake as a tribute to the deceased. The group splits up, leaving Rhonda and Chip behind. Rhonda gets separated and is then pursued by horrifying figures; but once she is hurt while being chased and reduced to tears the other teens reveal that it was them, disguised as the dead children in an attempt to prank her, all planned by Macy. Schrader realizes that the trick has gone too far and tries to comfort the terrified Rhonda while a bitter Macy kicks a jack-o'-lantern into the water. The actual undead ghosts of the children emerge from the lake and attack the teens. Rhonda coldly abandons them to their deaths as revenge for their prank. As she leaves, Rhonda encounters Sam and exchanges a nod of respect toward him.

Surprise Party[edit]

Laurie, a self-conscious 22-year-old from out of town, joins her older sister Danielle and friends Maria and Janet for Halloween. The girls all select fairy tale princess costumes, encouraging Laurie to wear a "Little Red Riding Hood" costume. A devout Halloween traditionalist, Laurie misses trick-or-treating and is uncaring of her friends and sister's talks of dates.

While the other girls pick up dates and head to a party in the woods, Laurie chooses to stay and enjoy the town festival instead. Later, on the way to meet up with her friends, she is attacked by a hooded man dressed as a vampire. A bundle of red cloth later falls out of a tree by the girls' bonfire, revealing the injured and frightened vampire. After an arriving Laurie remarks that he bit her, Laurie's friends unmask the man, revealed to be Steven Wilkins, who had been seeking out victims at the festival.

Laurie's sister and friends all shed their clothing and skin and transform into werewolves. With it being her first time killing someone, and having sought out someone who deserves it, Laurie transforms and slaughters Wilkins before devouring him. Sam, sitting on a nearby log, watches as the werewolves feast on their deceased dates.


Kreeg, a curmudgeonly Halloween-hater, dresses up his dog to scare trick-or-treaters off his doorstep. As the night proceeds, Kreeg encounters escalating phenomena: The front of the house is egged; the lawn is filled with ornate jack-o'-lanterns; and the hallways and ceiling are scrawled with Halloween and Samhain greetings.

Kreeg is ambushed by Sam. In their struggle, Kreeg eventually manages to unmask his assailant; whose head resembles a grotesque hybrid of a skull and a jack-o'-lantern. Kreeg shoots Sam several times with a shotgun, apparently killing him. However, Sam begins to reanimate, and incapacitates and corners Kreeg. Instead of killing him, Sam impales a candy bar in Kreeg's lap, completing the tradition of "handing out" candy on Halloween. Satisfied, Sam spares a confused Kreeg and ominously departs. Meanwhile, photographs burning in the fireplace reveal that Kreeg was the driver from the School Bus Massacre who went missing.


A heavily-bandaged Kreeg gives candy to trick-or-treaters. On his front porch, he witnesses other characters in the film mill about observing and upholding Halloween traditions: Billy sits on his father's porch, handing out candy and enjoying himself; Rhonda crosses the street casually pulling her wagon filled with jack-o'-lanterns; Laurie and her friends drive by, laughing to each other; and Emma and Henry arrive home. Sam witnesses Emma prematurely extinguishing the jack-o'-lantern and moves in to kill her as punishment. Kreeg answers another knock at his door, only to be greeted by the undead ghost children from the bus who brutally tear him apart in retribution for their murder.




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.[6] 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.[7]


"The Halloween School Bus Massacre" segment initially took place in a graveyard and had the kids luring the girl to play with them. It was going to be revealed that they were all ghosts and that the girl had forgotten she was one of them. Dougherty ultimately had to rewrite the whole segment because he felt that the twist of someone being dead all along had become an overused trope.[8]


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.[3]


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.[9] 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,[10] 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.

The film had a theatrical release for the first time on October 6, 2022.[11]

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]

Box office[edit]

As of October 26, 2023, Trick 'r Treat grossed $27,909, in the United Kingdom.[4]


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.[13] 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.[14] Legendary Comics set the second Trick 'r Treat comic book, titled Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead, for an October 2015 release date,[15] and features Arts of Artist Fiona Staples and Stephen Byrne.[16] The comic was released alongside the graphic novel tie-in of Dougherty's Krampus.[17]


Critical reaction[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 83% based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 7.40/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "A deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends, Trick 'r' Treat [sic] hits all the genre marks with gusto and old fashioned suspense."[18] Dread Central gave it five out of five 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."[19] The film earned ten out of ten from Ryan Rotten of[20]

IGN called it a "very well-crafted Halloween horror tribute" and "a scary blast", rating it a score of eight out of ten.[21] 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."[22]


Possible sequel[edit]

Dougherty announced in October 2009 that he was planning a sequel,[25] but later stated that there was "no active development nor an attempt at a pitch."[26] A sequel was announced in October 2013,[27] but there was a change in Legendary's management. Dougherty has continued to express interest in a sequel but said the film stands on its own.[28]

In October 2022, Dougherty revealed that he was in "active development" of a sequel with Legendary Pictures, although the film had not been officially greenlit yet.[29] In October 2023, Dougherty confirmed that several screenplay drafts were complete, confirming that progress had only recently continued due to the end of the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike. He also clarified that he hoped to be looking at budgetary and scheduling concerns afterward; while also stating: "I mean, I love all of our favorite horror franchise characters as much as any of us, but not all of them are great. And I know we've grown to love even the lesser chapters of our favorite horror series. There's always a cheese value to them, but if I'm gonna do a sequel, I want it to be as good if not better than the original, and good things take time. The last thing I would want is to see Trick ‘r Treat Part 9: Sam Goes to Space, you know? Although that does have potential, I will say."[30][31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Trick 'r Treat (15)". British Board of Film Classification. October 16, 2022. Retrieved October 31, 2023.
  2. ^ "Trick 'r Treat (2007)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on November 19, 2017. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Barone, Matt (October 28, 2013). "The Scary-Good Afterlife of "Trick 'r Treat," The Movie That Should Be Halloween's Answer to "A Christmas Story"". Complex. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Trick 'r Treat (2007) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  5. ^ Watercutter, Angela. "Cult-Favorite Halloween Flick Trick 'r Treat Streams on Facebook Tonight". Wired. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  6. ^ "Cool Horror Videos: Michael Dougherty's Season's Greetings – the short that inspired Trick 'R Treat". JoBlo. October 23, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  7. ^ Lane, David (October 28, 2013). "FEARnet Airing a 24-Hour Marathon of TRICK 'R TREAT's on Halloween with Giveaways and New Content by Director Michael Dougherty". Collider. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  8. ^ Massoto, Erick (October 31, 2023). "'Trick 'r Treat' Director Reveals Original Version of "School Bus Massacre" Segment". Collider. Retrieved October 31, 2023.
  9. ^ Carolyn, Axelle (October 23, 2009). "The Problem with Trick 'r Treat". IGN. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  10. ^ Bottenberg, Rupert. "Fantasia 2009 Schedule". Archived from the original on March 7, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  11. ^ @wbclassicfilms (September 2, 2022). "WB Classic Films on Twitter" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "Trick 'r Treat [Collector's Edition] - Blu-ray :: Shout! Factory".
  13. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade". December 17, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  14. ^ "Trick 'r Treat: Tales of Mayhem, Mystery and Mischief by John Griffin, Insight Editions, 110 pages". October 18, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  15. ^ "Legendary Comics Haunt Your Holidays With Trick 'r Treat and Krampus Graphic Novels". October 18, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  16. ^ "Legendary Comics to Run "PACIFIC RIM," "TRICK R' TREAT" Sequel Tie-ins". October 18, 2009. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  17. ^ 'Trick 'r Treat' and 'Krampus' Get Graphic Novel Adaptations!
  18. ^ Trick r' Treat (2007) at Rotten Tomatoes
  19. ^ "Dread Central Review of Trick r' Treat". July 29, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  20. ^ Turek, Ryan (October 16, 2008). "Review of Trick r' Treat". Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  21. ^ Cindy White (October 7, 2009). "Trick 'r Treat DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  22. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 3". Bloody Disgusting. December 17, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  23. ^ 2008 Screamfest Winners Archived March 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "2009 Toronto After Dark Film Festival Winners". Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  25. ^ "'Trick 'r Treat' Sequel in the Pipeline?". October 8, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  26. ^ "Michael Dougherty Talks Potential 'Trick 'r Treat' Sequel!". Bloody Disgusting. October 18, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  27. ^ Highfill, Samantha (October 29, 2013). "'Trick 'r Treat' gets a sequel: Michael Dougherty talks what's next". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  28. ^ "Michael Dougherty Offers Latest Thoughts on 'Trick 'r Treat 2'; Is It Ever Happening? Should It Ever Happen?". October 22, 2019.
  29. ^ "'Trick 'r Treat' Sequel in "Very Active Development" According to Michael Dougherty!". October 2, 2022.
  30. ^ "Trick 'r Treat 2 Director Shares Exciting Update 16 Years After Original Release". Screen Rant. October 25, 2023.
  31. ^ "Why a Horror Cult Classic Took 15 Years to Move Forward with a Sequel". Screen Rant. October 31, 2023.

External links[edit]