Many have their own specific game to play during this frightening time, this is mine.
It's that terrifying time of year again. A time when we dress up as disturbing creatures of the night and (depending on your age) go from house to house in search of candy. During this time we do things that get us into the creepy spirit of the holiday, such as watch scary movies or decorate the house with elaborate ghosts and skeletons. One of my favorite traditions is to play a spooky game during the month of October, and for me there's usually one game that I always go back; Luigi's Mansion.
Luigi's Mansion is a game that I originally got when I first got my Nintendo Gamecube as a ten year old kid. When I first played it I fell in love with the characters, the music, the "Ghostbusters" style gameplay, and the atmosphere. The atmosphere is what particularly stuck with me both then and now. The first game strikes this perfect balance between light hearted and genuinely creepy, which is something the other games weren't able to do. While I do like the sequels, there was always just something a little off about their atmosphere. Some of the later games leaned to hard into the cutesy aesthetic which made it feel a little less spooky.
When you play the original you genuinely feel like you're in a haunted mansion. The game isn't horror, there are enough goofy elements to make it fun, but this mansion can't help but give you this feeling of unease as you enter each dark room. While all of the Mario characters look and feel cartoony, the mansion feels real. It's old and rundown, there's dust everywhere, and there's barely any light except for a few candles and the occasional lightning strike to illuminate these dark rooms. What also elevates the atmosphere is the music.
The music move at a playful pace, but the instruments give off a sense of eeriness and dread. The piano sometimes plays the theme of the mansion alone, with the strings coming in every now and then. The music would fit a haunted house perfectly. The games bosses also get great music with tracks that help emphasize the danger Luigi's in. The music, like the rest of the game, manages to balance kooky fun with genuine creepiness. All of this culminates in a game that's perfect for the Halloween.
Halloween, for me at least, was always about balancing childhood fun with some really terrifying atmosphere. If you make it too scary than it frightens the kids away from the holiday. If you make it too kid friendly, than it loses the genuine edginess and scares that give the holiday its identity. A good Halloween is one that aims for what children and adults find universally scary. Dark hallways, old houses, creatures of the night, and the thought of things lurking in the shadows waiting to attack are scary to almost everyone. Luigi's Mansion is a game that embodies that universal horror that makes something like Halloween both genuinely scary and fun.