The film is an anthology of four Halloween-related scary stories. One thing that ties the stories together is the presence of Sam, a mysterious pint-sized trick-or-treater wearing shabby orange pajamas with a burlap sack over his head, who makes an appearance in all the stories as a 'friendly-reminder' to those who break the Halloween traditions.
Emma and Henry have set up numerous ghost-scarecrows for Halloween decorations. Emma tries to blow out a jack-o'-lantern by their fence, but Henry tells her not to because it's against tradition; she blows out the jack-o'-lantern anyway. While Henry is inside waiting for Emma to take down the decorations outside, she is murdered with a pumpkin sucker by an unknown assailant hiding under one of the ghost-scarecrows. Later, Henry goes outside and finds Emma's severed head hung up on one of the ghost-scarecrows.
A boy, Charlie, is poisoned by the town principal, Mr. Wilkins, after he is caught stealing candy from Wilkins' porch. Wilkins buries Charlie in his backyard, along with another body, and has a run-in with his neighbor Mr. Kreeg and his dog. Wilkins then helps his son Billy carve a "jack-o'-lantern" in their basement, which is revealed to be Charlie's severed head.
The School Bus Massacre Revisited
Five teenagers, Macy, Schrader, Sara, Chip and Rhonda, journey to the local rock quarry where Macy tells them the local legend of "The Halloween School Bus Massacre". Thirty years ago, a school bus containing eight children, all mentally challenged and disturbed to the point of needing to be chained to their chairs, was driven into the quarry and crashed into the lake at the bottom. Their parents, no longer able to stand the strain and humiliation of caring for them, paid the bus driver to take them to the rock quarry to get rid of them. As the driver went around checking each child's restraints, one managed to get free and tried to drive the bus, only to have it plunge into the quarry lake below. The driver survived but was never heard from again, and the bus was never recovered. As the group investigates the quarry, a prank meant for Rhonda instead turns deadly when the school bus children return from the grave and kill all but Rhonda, who gets revenge against the group by escaping up the quarry's lone elevator.
Laurie, a self-conscious 22-year-old "virgin", goes into the woods after deciding to separate from her group. There, she is attacked by a vampire, while her sister and her friends party nearby with men they picked up along the way. The vampire's body suddenly drops from a tree into the party and Laurie appears. The "vampire" is revealed to be Wilkins in disguise wearing fake teeth. The girls at the party, along with Laurie, suddenly transform into werewolves and devour their dates along with Wilkins.
Kreeg, a cantankerous, Halloween-hating, old man lives alone with his dog, Spite. While in his house, Kreeg is attacked by a small boy, Sam. During the struggle, Kreeg rips off the sack over the Sam's head to reveal his head to be a cross between a jack-o-lantern and a skull. Kreeg gains the upper hand when he manages to fire his shotgun at Sam seemingly killing him. As Kreeg dials 911, Sam attacks him again, stabbing him with a pumpkin sucker which lodges in a candy bar sitting on Kreeg's chest. Sam proceeds to eat the candy bar and then leaves the house. Meanwhile, pictures burning in a nearby fireplace are not all burnt and a class photo of the children from the bus accident and the bus driver, Kreeg himself, sit next to the flames.
Later on, Kreeg's answers his door, bandaged and bruised from his encounter with Sam, to give candy to some children. While on his porch he sees Sam go to Emma and Henry's house just as she is blowing out the jack-o'-lantern. Rhonda then walks across the street and is almost hit by, and ignores, the laughing, human-form werewolf girls in their car. Billy is sitting on his porch handing out candy wearing a "Principal Wilkins" costume. Kreeg then walks back inside when the bell rings again. He opens the door to find the kids from the bus massacre standing there with their bags outstretched. A view of comic book pages briefly showing the bus driver's fate at the hands of the zombie children are shown
- Quinn Lord as Sam: The Spirit of Halloween
- Brian Cox as Mr. Kreeg
- Dylan Baker as Steven Wilkins
- Connor Christopher Levins as Billy Wilkins
- Anna Paquin as Laurie
- Leslie Bibb as Emma
- Rochelle Aytes as Maria
- Moneca Delain as Janet
- Tahmoh Penikett as Henry
- Lauren Lee Smith as Danielle
- Samm Todd as Rhonda
- Britt McKillip as Macy
- Isabelle Deluce as Sara
- Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Schrader
- Alberto Ghisi as Chip
- Brett Kelly as Charlie
- Christine Willes as Mrs. Henderson
- Patrick Gilmore as Bud
- C. Ernst Harth as Giant Baby
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 2008 Los Angeles Screamfest on October 10, 2008, a free screening in New York sponsored by Fangoria Magazine 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. The film was also screened during the Montreal Fantasia Festival on July 29 and 30, 2009 as well as at the film festival Terror In The Aisles 2 in Chicago, IL on August 15, 2009. It was also screened at the After Dark film festival in Toronto on August 20, 2009, at The Bloor. The movie was screened at the first annual Long Beach Comic Con in southern California on October 3, 2009. Trick 'r Treat will also be screened at the upcoming Silver Scream Film Festival at the University of Southern Indiana, October 30, 2009.
It is currently available for purchase via Virgin Media's FilmFlex.
Based on 17 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating from critics of 88%, with an average score of 7.7/10.
Despite only a handful of public screenings, the film has been reviewed extensively by online journalists and bloggers, especially in the genre/horror communities, and reviews are nearly unanimously positive. Dread Central gave it five out of five stars and stated "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." The film earned a 10 out of 10 from Ryan Rotten of ShockTilYouDrop.com. It also earned an 8 out of 10 from Bloody-Disgusting.com. IGN attended a screening of the film and concluded, "This well-crafted Halloween horror tribute is a scary blast.", rating it a 8/10 overall. Bloody Disgusting ranked the film ninth in their list of the 'Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade', with the article saying "[It's] so good that its lack of a theatrical release borders on the criminal
- 2008 - Audience Choice Award, Los Angeles Screamfest
- 2009 - Silver Audience Award, Toronto After Dark Film Festival
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. 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 of 2009.
Michael Dougherty announced on October 8, 2009 that he is planning a sequel.
Edited by Brandon Clay 2010(C)