Halloween is a time for ghost stories, scary costumes, sugary candy, and—of course—spooky commercials. Every October, as kids plan their costumes and parents begrudgingly buy giant bags of candy, major companies have their own ritual: finding ways to use Halloween to sell their products. Some of the Halloween commercials from the last few decades are loving tributes to classic horror films, while others are just, well, bizarre. From Mrs. Bates slinging Bud Lites to Elvira selling soda, here are some of our favorite Halloween commercials from the past 60 years.
1. MUG ROOT BEER
In this 1989 Hitchcock-inspired root beer commercial, viewers could win a chance to “Go Psycho” with Elvira.
2. BUD LITE
From the same era as the Elvira commercial, Bud Lite’s canine parody of Psycho plays like the Wishbone remake of the classic thriller.
3. HOSTESS SNO BALLS
Travel back to the 1950s for this Howdy Doody commercial for Hostess Sno Balls, featuring an unintentionally creepy clown and a whole lot of information about the Hostess product.
4. PIZZA HUT
Pizza Hut's 1990s-era googly-eyed mascot explores a haunted mansion in this very special Halloween episode of The Pizza Head Show.
This 1978 commercial for the now-defunct Woolworth department store advertises a range of superhero and Star Wars-themed costumes starting at $2.38. It seems like Halloween costumes haven’t changed that much since 1978—but the prices sure have.
6. MILLER LITE
This Miller Lite commercial from the 1980s presents a twist on the zombie classic Night of the Living Dead. In this version, the zombies are out for beer, not brains.
7. SOLAR CALCULATORS
Texas Instruments proves that any product can be Halloween-ified in this vampire-themed commercial.
8. HONEY NUT CHEERIOS
Back in the '90s, the Honey Nut Cheerios bee was always getting into some kind of trouble. Fortunately, in this spooky commercial, it turns out that Frankenstein's monster can be placated with a bowl of Cheerios with "real golden honey."
9. REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS
If commercials are to be believed, Frankenstein’s monster really had a sweet tooth. In this 1986 commercial, the man-made monster has his own world-changing creation: chocolate-peanut-butter candy.
10. MONSTER CEREAL
Monster Cereal is, of course, Halloween-themed all year round. But this compilation is a rare treat for fans of old-school commercials: Watch the evolution of Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and more in this mash-up of Monster cereal commercials from the 1970s through the 2000s.