As October begins and the weather starts to get crisper and chillier each day, we get further situated in the autumn months — which happen to be my favorite time of the year. Believe me, I've been counting down the days until fall and now that it’s here, I’m looking for ways to celebrate, which I often do by watching my favorite fall-themed movies.
Though many of us await spooky season with excited anticipation, some of us might prefer the cozy fall vibes to outright horror. So I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite non-horror autumn movies and shows that are perfect for the season.
“Gilmore Girls” (2000-2007)
This is the classic fall show, which is somewhat odd considering it takes place year-round. I just think that no show represents the changing seasons quite like “Gilmore Girls,” and autumn is its best execution. The sets in the background are perfect for watching around the fall holidays and will make you wish you could jump right into the television and celebrate the fall season in Stars Hollow.
It's a great show to cuddle up with a blanket and some hot chocolate. Not all of the episodes take place in autumn, as I said before, so you might want to search up some specific fall ones before watching (or just binge the whole show if you love it as much as I do). The show has a really great Thanksgiving episode called “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” which I watch every year.
“Over the Garden Wall” (2014)
This show is perfect for people who like both cozy fall and spooky vibes, but prefer leaving jump scares out of it. While it is a kid’s show, it’s still very much something that adults can watch and enjoy as it’s really well-made.
The storyline throughout is very interesting, and each episode contains both funny and bone-chilling moments that don’t quite cross the line of horror. The show takes place around Halloween, so it’s best to watch before the end of October but it still works as an overall autumn show.
“The Blustery Day” is a short I love to watch in late September or early October because I think it’s the perfect start to the season. There’s something about The Hundred Acre Woods that makes me think of fall and changing leaves, and “The Blustery Day” is perfect to put on at the beginning of the season. It sets the tone and can be perfect for both kids that want to experience something new or adults looking for a little autumn-themed nostalgia trip.
“The Blustery Day” is a part of “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh,” so you can skip through the movie or just watch all the shorts, because they all provide the cozy autumn vibes we’re looking for.
There’s something about the first three “Harry Potter” movies that just feel like fall. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” has the iconic Halloween scene, and the Great Hall is decorated with pumpkins and treats, all of which are then followed by the famous troll in the dungeon scene.
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” definitely feels like a fall movie to me with the mystery of the Basilisk, the spiders in the Forbidden Forest and a petrified cat with a warning written in blood.
The third movie, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” is also perfect for fall, and I often listen to the soundtrack in the background while I study during autumn. The film features a werewolf, an escaped prisoner and yet another mystery for the main characters to solve.
The later movies have less of this autumn vibe so I feel like the first three are best for this time of year. But you really can’t go wrong with movies about witches, wizards and magical creatures during spooky season.
“Knives Out” (2019)
Not only does this movie take place in the fall and feels like it, but also it's a murder mystery, which fits the Halloween/autumn vibes quite well. The murder isn’t scary the way other murder mysteries and thrillers can be, and is instead oddly fun which is one of the reasons this thriller is so unique.
I love watching this movie during fall partly just because of all the amazing sweaters the actors wear in it — which seems like an odd reason, but it has honestly provided me with a lot of fashion inspiration for the chilly months. While this is a comfort movie for me, if you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and go watch “Knives Out” without looking up any further information about it.
Unfortunately, “Knives Out” is no longer on Netflix, but you can still rent it on other platforms.
“When Harry Met Sally” (1989)
One of my favorite romantic comedies of all time, “When Harry Met Sally” doesn’t have the most overt fall vibes, but there’s nothing quite like autumn in Manhattan, especially in a Nora Ephron movie.
The movie does contain other seasons, but doesn’t stop me from watching it in the fall, it just gives me more excuses to watch it again and again. It’s an incredibly great movie to watch with your partner if you find yourself with one this season.
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009)
Of all the movies and TV shows on this list, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” might be the most perfect non-horror autumn movie. The color palette is focused on reds, oranges, yellows and browns, like the colors of the changing leaves themselves. The outfits are the perfect inspiration for cute autumn fits and the score makes me think of fall every time I hear it.
The plot also revolves around cider — which farmers make and Mr. Fox loves to steal — which is perfect for fall. Though made for children, the movie has deeper themes that only adults watching can truly appreciate.
It also features a dysfunctional family that grows closer together throughout the chaos of the plot, and shares in a feast at the end, which makes it the perfect movie to watch with your own dysfunctional family during Thanksgiving.
Don’t get me wrong: I love a good horror movie, but my favorite parts of the season aren’t haunted houses or anything spooky. I prefer the less scary, more fun vibes of Halloween and autumn as a whole.
All of the movies on this list are ones I watch every year and they really set the tone for the whole season as well as make for great comfort movies if you’re looking for something a little cozier this fall.