Wear a costume.
Check your candy.
Don't blow out a Jack o' Lantern.
Give out treats.
Trick 'r Treat is quite possibly the most perfect Halloween movie I've seen. Before you get all excited, let me emphasize that I said "Halloween movie", and not "horror movie". There are a lot of movies that refer to the season, like the obvious Halloween series, but they don't capture the season quite the way Trick 'r Treat does.
Like a skilled seamstress, Trick 'r Treat eloquently weaves together four separate tales, each based on four separate rules of Halloween. 1) Always wear a costume. 2) Always check your candy. 3) Never blow out your Jack O' Lantern. and 4) Always hand out treats.
We see what happens when each of those rules are broken, and as you would suspect, it's never good. As a way of monitoring those rules, we have the antagonist, Sam, short for Samhain. Samhain, one of the oldest traditions marked by Gaelic festivals, celebrates the divide between summer and winter, a time when the boundary of the "otherworld" is at its thinnest. There could not be a better name for the small, childlike figure serving as the film's mascot.
Sam, dressed as a scarecrow, stands by watching everyone, observing who is and isn't following the rules. Meant to instill a creepy factor, I believe it works well here. Add to that all of the festivities happening around the town, from trick-or-treaters walking down the streets, to parades celebrating the dead, and to adult Halloween parties, and you end up with a film that manages to capture the spirit of the season at its fullest.
When I watched this, I found myself thinking in terms of horror films, and with that mindset, my feelings for this movie were lukewarm, at best. With some additional thought, and watching parts of it again, I understand what Trick 'r Treat is - A Christmas Story for Halloween.
So, if you are looking for the perfect Halloween film to celebrate the season, look no further. Please note that this is an R-rated film, so for those with young kids, I'd stick with Nightmare Before Christmas.
My overall score? 5 bits out of 8.
(Note - I'm giving you a chance to enter a drawing. If you've not already read it, check out last night's review here and look for what you missed. Hurry, you have until 11 pm Central Time! http://ibytefilms.com/blog/2016/10/17/day-10-alex-the-evil-dead-2-dead-by-dawn)
Here are a few places you can rent this for streaming: