13 Great Batman Halloween Stories

01
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13 Great Batman Halloween Stories

DC Comics

One of the most acclaimed Batman stories of all-time is Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's year-long event, The Long Halloween. A mysterious serial killer stalks Gotham City early in Batman's career, murdering people on all of the major holidays (the killer becomes known as Holiday). The thirteen-issue series began and ended on Halloween. When it comes to Batman Halloween stories, then, this one is a bit of no-brainer. The other twelve comics on the list, though, might be new to you!

02
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"Night of the Reaper"

DC Comics

Early 1970s Batman comics stood apart in that they were so collaborative. Editor Julius Schwartz encouraged anyone with an idea to suggest it, whether they were a regular writer on the series or not. This tale, for example, was based on an idea by artist Berni Wrightson (that he talked over with writer Harlan Ellison) and was written by Denny O'Neil and drawn by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. The result was a Halloween classic. This is the first time that Batman visited Rutland, VT, the home of a real-life Halloween festival that would show up in DC and Marvel Comics of the era. The secret behind the Reaper was very much of the time (it involves the Holocaust) but Adams' stunning artwork makes this more than worth the read. 

03
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"A Stranger Walks Among Us"

DC and Marvel used the Rutland Halloween Festival to have unofficial crossovers with each other. DC Comics

A year after "The Night of the Reaper," writers Steve Englehart, Len Wein and Gerry Conway got together to write an unofficial crossover between three of the titles that they were writing at the time (Amazing Adventures, Justice League of America and Thor, respectively), where all three men (plus Wein's then-wife, colorist Glynis Wein) travel to Rutland for the Halloween festival. They each appear in all three stories, going through progressively bigger problems in the background of the stories. In any event, in the Justice League issue, "A Stranger Walks Among Us," the Phantom Stranger brings the Justice League to Rutland to stop a plot by the villainous Felix Faust to kill the Leaguers and Batman and his teammates face off against possessed festival attendees, who happen to be dressed in costumes based on Marvel characters, thus allowing Batman and Spider-Man to sort of fight. 

04
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"Choices"

This Halloween party scene is filled with easter eggs to famous comic characters like Madman and Milk and Cheese. There's even a Waldo to find!. DC Comics

Before their work on the classic The Long Halloween, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale had already made their mark on the Batman mythos with a series of one-shot Halloween specials. The first one, "Choices," came out in 1993. It is a pretty bare bones story in which Batman faces off against the Scarecrow (who is a perfect Halloween foe) while falling in love with a mysterious woman who his butler, Alfred, does not trust. There is a great Halloween party scene where Sale works in drawings of independent comic book characters like Milk and Cheese and Madman. 

05
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"Madness"

DC Comics

Loeb and Sales's second Halloween special, 1994's "Madness," is set in the early days of Batman's career and features a pre-teen Barbara Gordon (years before she became Batgirl), who gets caught up in a twisted version of Alice in Wonderland orchestrated by the Batman villain, the Mad Hatter. 

06
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"Ghosts"

DC Comics

 The last of their annual Halloween specials before launching The Long Halloween, 1995's "Ghosts" has Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale putting Bruce Wayne through Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, only with it being a Halloween version of the Christmas classic. The ghosts who visit Bruce are his father, Thomas Wayne, in the Jacob Marley role, Poison Ivy as the Ghost of Halloween Past, Joker as the Ghost of Halloween Present and a mixture of the Grim Reaper and Batman himself as the Ghost of Halloween Future. Like the past two specials, this was set in the early days of Batman's career and this turns out to be the inspiration for Bruce to form his charity organization, The Wayne Foundation. 

07
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"Trick or Treat!"

DC Comics

Batman: Gotham After Midnight was a twelve-issue series that ran in 2008-09 by writer Steve Niles and artist Kelley Jones. Similar to Jeph Loeb's "Hush" storyline and The Long Halloween, the series is designed around the introduction of a mysterious new villain/anti-hero known as Midnight. Also like The Long Halloween, the individual issues of the series revolve around whichever holiday is being celebrated that given month. In #6, "Trick or Treat," Batman and Midnight are both invited to a Halloween party by the Joker, who has taken a group of children hostage to force Batman to attend. When Midnight turns on Joker, Batman must make a difficult choice regarding his greatest foe.

08
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"Sweet Dreams"

DC Comics

In 2009's Superman/Batman #65, writers Peter Johnson and Matt Cherniss put Superman, Batman, Lex Luthor and the Joker through the wringer, courtesy of Scarecrow, who uses his special fear gas to give them all unique and torturous nightmares (sort of a variation on the classic Superman Annual, "For the Man Who has Eveything"). Superman is unable to protect his loved ones, the Joker is seen as a joke and Luthor is viewed as an ineffectual fool. Scarecrow wonders what kind of nightmares a man like Batman will have, as his life is a walking nightmare. As it turns out, his nightmare is that he is living a happy life with his parents alive, Catwoman as his wife and Dick Grayson as his ward, but he knows that this cannot be the truth. He is eventually able to wake himself from the nightmare and save the day. 

09
of 13

"Halloween"

DC Comics

Batman: Li'l Gotham was a charming series by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs that took an all-ages approach to the Batman mythos, with tiny versions of all of the major characters. The book also often spotlighted holidays, including their very first issue, which tells the story of Batman introducing his latest Robin (Damian Wayne) to the very concept of Halloween. Damian was raised by his mother Talia Al Ghul and the League of Assassins, so the concept of trick or treating is quite foreign to him. He gets the hang of it by the end of the issue!

A later issue of the series was also set around Halloween, when Batman and Damian visit Talia at her home, which is under attack by zombies. 

10
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"Red Rain: Blood Lust"

DC Comics

As part of the 2007 DC Infinite Halloween Special #1, writers ​Peter Johnson and Matt Cherniss tell a tragic tale from the alternate universe known as "Red Rain," named after the graphic novel trilogy where Batman becomes a vampire. Original Red Rain artist Kelley Jones draws this short story where Batman himself finds himself taking on the role of the killer in Crime Alley, robbing a young boy of his parents. 

11
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"The Last Halloween"

DC Comics

In this tale from 2008's DC Universe Halloween Special #1, writer Brian Reed and artist Darick Robertson show us two kids at the awkward age where they're unsure of whether it's acceptable to go trick-or-treating. One friend wants to continue knocking on doors for candy, like in the old days, but the other would rather hang out with the "cool kids." As it turns out, the "cool kids" are jerks (surprise, surprise) and throw something important into the sewers. The two kids have to debate whether to actually go into the Gotham City sewers, all the while imaging the terrible horrors that could be down there, like the Penguin or the Joker. They end up actually coming across Batman fighting a foe. Batman's reaction to the two boys is classic. It is well worth picking up just for the ending. 

12
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"Trick and Defeat"

DC Comics

Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani wrote this cute story, with art by Sergio Carrera, for 2009's DCU Halloween Special '09 #1. In it, a Halloween party at Wayne Mansion is crashed by Killer Moth. Luckily, Robin and Batgirl show up as a trick or treaters to save the day!

13
of 13

"Trick for the Scarecrow"

DC Comics

Billy Tucci was nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Short Story for this amusing tale (which he wrote and drew) of Batman actually having to come to Scarecrow's rescue after the villain runs afoul of two young suburban Batman fans who douse the fearsome fiend with his own fear toxin. 

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Cronin, Brian. "13 Great Batman Halloween Stories." ThoughtCo, Oct. 18, 2016, thoughtco.com/great-batman-halloween-stories-327081. Cronin, Brian. (2016, October 18). 13 Great Batman Halloween Stories. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/great-batman-halloween-stories-327081 Cronin, Brian. "13 Great Batman Halloween Stories." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/great-batman-halloween-stories-327081 (accessed November 18, 2017).