Pumpkin Hill (Sonic Adventure 2)
From the outset, the music at Pumpkin Hill isn’t all that spooky. For some reason, it was decided that all of Knuckles’ stages would have rap music as the background music. There’s no typical spooky Halloween track here.
Even though the music isn’t very festive, the pumpkin motif is well represented. There are rock spires adorned with pumpkins on top. The orange squashes are also littered throughout the level.
Best of all, there are mechanical skulls that breathe fire and spooky ghosts that startle you in the graveyard. To top it all off, there’s a ghost train that’s constantly running around one of the hills.
Ghost Houses (Super Mario World)
The ghost houses in Super Mario World are the place where nightmares are born. The music, gameplay, environment, and just about everything else in these levels make for fantastic Halloween levels.
The Boos are a classic enemy that keeps you on edge. Theses mind-bending labyrinth-like levels keep you questioning your sanity as the end of the stage is constantly held just beyond your reach.
Running and jumping will only get you so far in these spooky courses. You need to use your mind to navigate these levels, or else you might lose it wandering the halls of the Ghost Houses.
Shade Man’s Stage (Mega Man 7)
I don’t think anything screams Halloween more than a haunted castle filled with robotic pumpkins just waiting to take you out. To put the cherry on top, this castle is owned by the robotic vampire, Shade Man.
As his name would suggest, Shade Man loves to stay in the dark. He also feeds like a vampire by sucking the oil from the bodies of other robots. It would be a truly terrifying fate for Mega Man.
The music in Shade Man’s stage is certainly a Mega Man track, but it’s about as spooky as typically up-tempo can get. The use of the organ being played in a minor key gives it an ominous sound that keeps you uncomfortable.
T.K. Baha’s Bloody Harvest (Borderlands 2)
Even though it’s not technically a level, it’s hard to deny this Borderlands 2 DLC a spot on the list. T.K. Baha’s Bloody Harvest. It has all the pumpkins and low lighting you would expect from a Halloween level.
The twisted and mangled leafless trees reach to dark and ominously cloudy night sky. The biggest source of light is a massive full moon that hangs low just beyond the cloud cover.
Best of all, the final boss of the DLC is a giant abomination made from pumpkins, vines, and other plant matter. Once you beat this boss, then you can add his beautifully lumpy pumpkin dome to your list of wearable heads.
Halloween Town (Kingdom Hearts)
Skeletons, ghost dogs, undead brides, and a sentient burlap sack filled with insects are all common sights in the world of Halloweentown. Even Sora, Donald, and Goofy don fittingly spooky attire.
While Halloweentown focuses more on the whimsical and mischevious sides of the holiday, the music and setting are undoubtedly Halloween. It’s dark and colorless, but in a magical way that only Kingdom Hearts can pull off.
The constant loop of This is Halloween playing in the background makes sure to remind you of where you are. Luckily, the track doesn’t contain the lyrics, which I imagine would strain your ears after a short time.
There’s nothing out there that’s quite like the EarthBound franchise. Its quirkiness was unmatched at the time of release and the different areas are all exceptionally unique.
Going from the bright and happy town of Twoson to Threed is quite a shocking experience. From the outset, the change of color from green grass to a darker blue and purple hues set the tone.
The zombies roaming Threed and the unsettling graveyard help to make this Halloween level complete. What’s more, Threed has a boss battle against an evil circus tent with a terrifying demonic face.
Shadow Temple (Ocarina of Time)
This is undoubtedly one of the most disturbing dungeons in any Legend of Zelda game. The Shadow Temple in Ocarina of Time has all the makings of a great Halloween level.
First, there are textures smattered throughout the dungeon that look like the stacks of skulls you would see in Parisian catacombs. It also has that enemy. You know, the horrifying hunched-over gray monster known as a Dead Hand.
There are also plenty of other monsters throughout the Shadow Temple that give it a Halloween feel. The ReDeads (zombies) and Gibdos (mummies) give you plenty to be scared here.
Junkenstein’s Revenge (Overwatch)
It’d be hard to have a Halloween level list without including Junkenstein’s Revenge. It’s one of the best examples of how to do a Halloween-themed level in a game that is constantly receiving updates like Overwatch.
Although the event isn’t canon you can at least still get and use the skins that are exclusive to Junkenstein’s Revenge. There are plenty of fantastic Halloween-themed skins that have been added to the event since its first run.
The best part of the whole event is the PvE mode, Junkenstein’s Revenge. In this mode, you team up with three friends to take down extra-powerful Halloween-themed versions of Junkrat, Roadhog, Mercy, Reaper, and Symmetra.
Lavender Town (Pokemon)
The music in Lavender Town is already 100% certified spooky. There are plenty of urban legends surrounding the little Kantonian town. Yet, it’s the combination of everything that makes this a worthy Halloween level.
The Pokemon Tower houses cemetery for deceased creatures and Ghost-type Pokemon. It’s filled with numerous headstones and an ominous low-hanging purple mist.
The whole town’s ties to the afterlife make it worth a visit on Halloween. Just stay away from that girl who talks about ghosts and the pale white hand on your shoulder. That always freaked me out when I was a kid.
Lich Yard and Explodatorium (Shovel Knight)
Shovel Knight is a fantastic game and both of these levels are great levels that are perfect for Halloween. When it comes to this season you can do much better than a graveyard and a mad scientist’s lair.
The Lich Yard is the domain of the scythe-wielding necromancer known as Specter Knight. The skeleton enemies and lightning all help set the mood for what is one of the best Halloween-themed levels I’ve played.
The Explodatorium is one of the most memorable levels in Shovel Knight. Plague Knight’s lair also uses a mostly dark background with erratically colorful sections that match the alchemist’s madness.
Mad Monster Mansion (Banjo-Kazooie)
Monsters, mansions, dark colors abound in this Halloween level. I hope you’re starting to see a trend here. If the spooky setting isn’t enough to get you scared, then maybe the graveyard will.
There are plenty of freshly dug grave plots that have evil headstones that will chase you down if you get too close. The mansion is also filled with ghosts and terrifying monsters that pop out of paintings.
The simple fact that you can’t take anything at face value in this level is a fantastic Halloween trick. At the same time, it’s a Banjo-Kazooie level, which means there are plenty of treats to collect as well.
Big Boo’s Haunt (Super Mario 64)
Think of the Ghost Houses in Super Mario World and make them 100 times scarier. That’s what you get in this fantastic Halloween-themed level. Chairs and books will come flying after you.
You can finally defeat Boos without any items, but as the dissipate they warn you that they can never die and question if you’ll be able to make it out of there alive. That’s dark stuff for what’s considered a game for kids.
If you want to talk about scaring children, then you don’t need to look any further than the grand piano in Big Boo’s Haunt. Get too close to this monstrosity and it’ll start chomping away at you with its knife-like teeth.