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Students weigh in: Best comfort TV shows, movies to watch during fall

September 30, 2023

With summer coming to an end and the crisp fall weather rolling in, the changing leaves are bringing autumn vibes back to campus. Familiar autumn traditions like hayrides, carving pumpkins, bobbing for apples and cider with cinnamon donuts make their way back into rotation, exciting fall lovers all around

For many Michigan State University students, the best way to celebrate this transition is by reaching for their favorite autumn film classics. From Halloween horror movies to Stars Hollow drama, here are some comfort TV shows and movies students think are perfect for the pumpkin spice season.

"Gilmore Girls"

This highly rated 2000s TV show follows young, witty mother, Lorelai Gilmore, and her intelligent teenage daughter, Rory, as they both take on different challenges of life in the colorful, fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Filled with heartwarming family lessons and vibrant characters, this show is the perfect embodiment of fall itself.

“I feel like Gilmore Girls is a great autumn TV show.” business freshman Anna Rhees said. “In the first season of the show, it takes place in autumn, and with the weather and soundtrack, it really just sets the tone for the show moving forward. It’s what I find myself watching most during [fall].”

Rhees, who enjoys the autumn season, said Gilmore Girls is an “easy watch" and "perfect for fall-lovers."

"Dead Poets Society"

An underrated, autumn-esque movie starring Robin Williams as Professor Keating, "Dead Poets Society" takes place in the late '50s at a prestigious New England boarding school. Two students, along with their friends, meet Keating and instantly become inspired by his view of life. If you're looking for a film with wide-angle shots of multicolored trees and red-gold leaves fluttering through the air, then this coming of age story is the one for you.


"Halloween" is a 1978 slasher classic featuring cold blooded killer Michael Myers and his unlucky victims. Myers, who was imprisoned in a mental hospital for 15 years, escapes and starts a violent rampage on his hometown. Highschool student Laurie Strode and her friends, Annie and Lynda, try to survive the spree.

“This is one of the best movies that you can watch around this time,”  communications sophomore Juan Hammonds said. “I like horror movies and I like watching this genre around this season. It’s a classic scary movie, and who doesn’t like watching scary movies around Halloween?” 

"It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"

This nostalgic '60s animated movie features iconic characters, like Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy and Sally ,as they embark on their playful adventures during Halloween night. The gang goes trick or treating, Snoopy creates his own Halloween persona and Linus goes to the local pumpkin patch.

Creative advertising sophomore Ellery Beck said she thinks this movie is the best in the "Charlie Brown" franchise.

“I think it’s the cutest thing when Charlie Brown goes around in his little ghost costume made out of sheets while getting rocks instead of candy," Beck said. "The movie really represents fall, and really gives off the autumn vibes.” 

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"Stranger Things"

Small town, mysterious disappearances, supernatural forces and Halloween. "Stranger Things" has it all.

The first season of this Netflix show starts just as autumn rolls around, and its story follows a group of young middle schoolers as they tackle their Midwestern town's mysteries and uncover terrifying experiments.

If nothing else, "Stranger Things" can help you get in a spooky mood just in time for Halloween.


A peaceful town in the suburbs of California becomes a bloodbath after a masked killer terrorizes a teenage girl and her highschool friends. The killer, dressed in a easily recognizable black robe and white mask, makes mysterious phone calls and picks them off one by one. In the end, it’s a deadly race to figure out who the killer is. 

 “I love to watch the movie Scream, and honestly I’d say it’s my overall favorite autumn movie,” physiology junior Jack Pruyn said. “It seems like every year around October I find myself constantly watching it."

Pruyn is a big horror movie fan. He said in addition to the thrill that "Scream" gives him, he also enjoys its comedic elements.

"It’s a classic that everyone should watch," Pruyn said.

Pruyn added that "slasher” movies work best for this time of the year.

"Knives Out"

This 2019 murder mystery satire, which stars an ensemble cast, follows Detective Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig, investigating the death of Harlan Thrombey, an old crime novelist. Blanc interviews Harlan's eleven dysfunctional family members and friends on his quest to find the killer.

Perhaps the seasonal star of this movie is the character Ransom Drysdale, played by Chris Evans, and his chunky knit sweater.

Supply chain management freshman Salaar Kashif said that though he doesn't know much about fall movies, he's excited to get into the spirit by watching films like "Knives Out."

“If I had to pick something that represented the season it would be Knives Out,” Kashif said. “It’s a very good movie, and from what I’ve seen so far on campus, this movie fits the so-called ‘autumn vibe’.” 


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