Trick 'r Treat

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For other uses, see Trick or treat (disambiguation).
Trick 'r Treat
Trick r treat.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Dougherty
Produced by Bryan Singer
Written by Michael Dougherty
Music by Douglas Pipes
Cinematography Glen MacPherson
Edited by Robert Ivison
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • December 9, 2007 (2007-12-09)
Running time
82 minutes
  • United States
  • Canada
Language English
Budget $12 million[1]
Box office $13.5 million

Trick 'r Treat is a 2007 American-Canadian horror anthology film written and directed by Michael Dougherty. The film stars Dylan Baker, Brian Cox, Rochelle Aytes, Lauren Lee Smith, Leslie Bibb, and Anna Paquin. It centers on four Halloween-related horror stories. One common element that ties the stories together is the presence of Sam, a mysterious child trick-or-treater wearing shabby orange pajamas with a burlap sack over his head, that makes an appearance in all the stories whenever someone breaks Halloween traditions.

Despite being delayed for two years and having a very limited theatrical release, the film received much critical acclaim and has since garnered a strong cult following.[2] In October 2013, the filmmakers announced that a sequel, Trick 'r Treat 2, is in the works.



In the fictional Warren Valley, Ohio, Emma (Leslie Bibb) and her holiday-obsessed husband, Henry (Tahmoh Penikett), have set up numerous ghost-scarecrows for Halloween in their yard, despite the fact that Emma hates Halloween. After returning home from a Halloween party, Emma tries to blow out a jack-o'-lantern, but Henry tells her not to because it is against tradition to extinguish a jack-o'-lantern on Halloween; she blows it out anyway. While Henry is inside waiting for Emma to take down the decorations, she is murdered by an unknown assailant with a large blade-shaped pumpkin lollipop in front of the kids who were trick-or-treating, who run away in horror. Later, Henry goes outside and notices limbs hanging out of wires. Just then, one of the scarecrows lights up. He approaches it and takes down the cover, only to see Emma's decapitated head stuck onto the stick and wrapped in decorative lights, with her limbs chopped off and her mouth stuffed with a large lollipop, and screams in horror.

The Principal[edit]

Steven Wilkins (Dylan Baker), the town principal, spots his young neighbor Charlie (Brett Kelly) stealing candy from his yard as he returns from the store. Smiling, he places him down at his front door and talks to him about candy and stealing, carving out a jack-o'-lantern, and he gives him a candy. Charlie eats the candy, which turns out to be poisoned with cyanide, and throws up large amounts of chocolate and blood before he dies. While Wilkins is trying to take Charlie's corpse to the backyard to bury it, his doorbell rings. The trick-or-treaters, among them a small boy wearing orange footed pajamas and a burlap sack on his head, take their candy without finding out what Wilkins has done. Wilkins then buries Charlie in his backyard, along with another unknown body, and has a run-in with his neighbor, Mr. Kreeg (Brian Cox), and his dog. After finishing the burial, Wilkins sees Kreeg screaming from his window, begging for help; Wilkins disregards this and Kreeg is knocked down by an unknown assailant. Later, Wilkins arrives in his basement, where he helps his son Billy carve a "jack-o'-lantern" in their basement, which is revealed to be Charlie's severed head. The sequence ends with Billy saying "But don't forget to help me with the eyes."

The School Bus Massacre Revisited[edit]

Four kids— Macy Rutherford (Britt McKillip), Sam "Schrader" Hader (Jean-Luc Bilodeau), Sara Perry (Isabelle Deluce), and Chip Winslow (Alberto Ghisi), the same trick-or-treaters who earlier visited Wilkins—meet up with Rhonda Curran (Samm Todd), a savant, and journey to the local rock quarry where Macy tells them the local urban legend of "The Halloween School Bus Massacre". Thirty years ago, in 1977, there was a group of mentally challenged kids. Their parents were embarrassed by their conditions and saw them to be a burden to them, and as such, they were sent off to a school in another town so they would not face the townspeople's mocking. One day, on Halloween, they paid the bus driver to kill the kids so they would be freed of their burden. He drove the bus to the quarry, chained the kids to the seats, and while he was checking them, one kid managed to get free and went to the steering wheel, wanting to drive back home; however, he set the gear in forward instead of reverse and drove into the lake, drowning them all. However, the bus driver managed to get out alive & was never heard from again. Some say the school bus sank so deep it couldn't be found. Others say the town didn't want the school bus to be found.

The group plays a prank on Rhonda in which they pretend to be the undead children, and chase Rhonda until she trips and knocks herself out. Macy kicks a jack-o'-lantern into the lake, whereafter the school bus children suddenly rise from the water. The undead children chase the group and manage to grab hold of the chains which Sara is wearing as part of her costume, dragging her away to be killed before she can reach the elevator. Meanwhile, Rhonda has locked herself in the elevator leading out of the quarry. Despite the others begging her to open it, she ignores them and rides it up herself as the School Bus children corner them as revenge for the prank. As Rhonda steps out of the elevator, the other kids are heard being dismembered and eaten alive. As Rhonda begins walking home, the small boy in the orange footed pajamas and burlap sack looks on at a distance.

Surprise Party[edit]

Laurie (Anna Paquin), a self-conscious 22-year-old virgin, is getting ready for a party with her older sister Danielle (Lauren Lee Smith) and their two friends Maria (Rochelle Aytes) and Janet (Moneca Delain). Annoyed by their talk about boys, she stays behind and plans to join them later. The other girls find local men to bring along with them. Later, alone on her way to the party, Laurie is attacked by a vampire dressed in black. Meanwhile, Danielle, Maria, and Janet party at a bonfire with the men they brought, with Danielle worried about Laurie. The vampire's body suddenly drops from a tree onto the party and Laurie appears. The "vampire" is revealed to be Principal Wilkins in disguise wearing fake fangs. The girls at the party, along with Laurie, suddenly transform into werewolves, removing their skin. It is revealed that Laurie's "virginity" actually signifies that she has never killed anyone before. The girls then proceed to devour their dates along with Wilkins, while the same small boy in the orange footed pajamas and burlap sack looks on.

Meet Sam[edit]

Kreeg, a Halloween-hating man, lives alone with his dog, Spite, as his only companion. Kreeg shows his disgust for Halloween by scaring away trick-or-treaters. While at his house, Kreeg is attacked by Sam (Quinn Lord), the same small boy in the orange footed pajamas who has watched over all of the events of the evening. During the struggle, Kreeg rips off the sack over Sam's head to reveal his head to be a cross between a jack-o-lantern and a human skull. Kreeg runs to his window calling for Mr. Wilkins to help him, but is tackled by Sam. Kreeg gains the upper hand when he manages to fire his shotgun at Sam, seemingly killing him, as well as shooting off one of Sam's hands in the process. As Kreeg dials 9-1-1, Sam re-attaches his hand and rises. Sam then attacks him again, stabbing at him with a large pumpkin lollipop out of which he has taken a bite, rendering it sharp. Sam finds that the lollipop has lodged itself into a piece of chocolate from which Kreeg had earlier taken a bite. Sam takes the lollipop wedged into the chocolate and walks away, now satisfied that Kreeg has fulfilled a tradition of Halloween. Meanwhile, pictures burning slowly in a nearby fireplace show a class photo of the masked children from the "School Bus Massacre" and the bus driver, who is revealed to be Kreeg.


Bandaged and bruised from his encounter with Sam, Kreeg answers his door to give candy to trick-or-treaters. While on his porch, he spots Sam walking over to Emma and Henry's house just after she blows out the jack-o'-lantern, revealing himself as Emma's killer in order to punish her for not following Halloween's rules. A traumatized Rhonda walks across the street and is almost hit by the laughing, human-form werewolf girls in their car, on their way back from the surprise party. Billy is sitting on his porch handing out candy, unaware that his father is now dead. Kreeg then walks back inside when there is another knock at the door. He opens the door to find the kids from the School Bus Massacre standing there with their bags outstretched, saying, "Trick 'r Treat", and, suddenly recognizing them, stares in shock. A series of comic strip panels shows Kreeg being murdered and dismembered by them.



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.[3] The movie 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.[4]

Trick 'r Treat[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 video in 2009.[1]


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. 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,[5] 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 Blu-ray on October 6, 2009 in North America, October 26 in the UK, and October 28 in Australia.


  • Sideshow Collectibles created a 15" vinyl figure based on the film's scarecrow-like character Sam.
  • NECA created a 5½" 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.[6]
  • 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.

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.[7] 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.[8] Legendary Comics set the second Trick 'r Treat comic book, titled Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead, for an October 2015 release date,[9] and features Arts of Artist Fiona Staples and Stephen Byrne.[10] The comic will be released alongside the graphic novel adaptation of Dougherty's Krampus.[11]


Critical reaction[edit]

Despite only a handful of public screenings, the film has received critical acclaim. Based on 21 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall "Fresh" approval rating from critics of 86%, with an average score of 7.4/10 and a critical consensus that the "deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends, Trick 'r' Treat hits all the genre marks with gusto and old fashioned suspense."[12] 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."[13] The film earned 10 out of 10 from Ryan Rotten of[14] IGN called it a "very well-crafted Halloween horror tribute" and "a scary blast", rating it a score of 8 out of 10.[15] 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."[16]



Michael Dougherty announced in October 2009 that he is planning a sequel,[19] but later stated that there were "no active development nor an attempt at a pitch."[20] 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."[21] 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 whilst wearing rabbit ears.[22] 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.[23]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ "Cult-Favorite Halloween Flick Trick 'r Treat Streams on Facebook Tonight". Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  3. ^ "Cool Horror Videos: Michael Dougherty's Season's Greetings - the short that inspired Trick 'R Treat". JoBlo. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ — translation: Rupert Bottenberg. "Fantasia 2009 Schedule". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  6. ^ [1] Archived June 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  8. ^ "Trick 'r Treat: Tales of Mayhem, Mystery and Mischief by John Griffin, Insight Editions, 110 pages". 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  9. ^ "Legendary Comics Haunt Your Holidays With Trick 'r Treat and Krampus Graphic Novels". 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  10. ^ "Legendary Comics to Run "PACIFIC RIM," "TRICK R' TREAT" Sequel Tie-ins". 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  11. ^ ‘Trick ‘r Treat’ and ‘Krampus’ Get Graphic Novel Adaptations!
  12. ^ Trick r' Treat at Rotten Tomatoes
  13. ^ "Dread Central Review of Trick r' Treat". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  14. ^ Turek, Ryan (2008-10-16). "Review of Trick r' Treat". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  15. ^ Cindy White. " Review of Trick r' Treat". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  16. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 3". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  17. ^ 2008 Screamfest Winners Archived March 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "2009 Toronto After Dark Film Festival Winners". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  19. ^ "'Trick 'r Treat' Sequel in the Pipeline?". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  20. ^ "Michael Dougherty Talks Potential 'Trick 'r Treat' Sequel!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "Half Way To Halloween". FEARnet. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  23. ^ Li, Shirley. "'Trick 'r Treat' gets a sequel: Michael Dougherty talks what's next | Inside Movies |". Retrieved 2013-10-29. 

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