The spooky season has arrived, baby, and I’m so excited.
Honestly, I don’t care about much of anything anymore, but October? It still means something to me, because it’s the one month in which everyone gets universally weird. A little bizarre, quite macabre, occasionally murderous.
So throughout October, you’ll be treated (or tricked?) to all kinds of Halloween or Halloween-adjacent content. Knowing me, it’ll probably just be this one article, but I’ll do my best.
Anyhow, with all that being said, let’s delve into the ten Pokemon you’ll need to make your party go from bad to boo-d.
…I-is that really the lede we’re going with? …It is? …Well jeez, I guess it works…
1. Pumpkaboo or Gourgeist
Obviously, dude. Why wouldn’t we have included the jack-o-lantern Pokemon?
Pumpkaboo and its evolution, Gourgeist, are grass/ghost beasties that actually contain more allusions to Halloween than meets the eye. As noted on Bulbapedia, Pumpkaboo’s little fangs are similar to those of a bat or a black cat, while Gourgeist’s strand-like hair resembles wax from a dripping candle.
Even if these details are circumstantial, the pair are as emblematic of Halloween as it gets. When trying to determine which of the two you should select, it comes down to personal preference. Pumpkaboo, as its name would suggest, is quite pumpkin-like, however Gourgeist has the more impressive grin carved into its body.
Pumpkaboo suffers from what I call Piplup plumage syndrome; in other words, it looks like it has nipples. That’s much less cool than being a potential homage to Yotsuya Kaidan, a story that features a paper lantern yokai (as we established, there are a lot of yokai-inspired Pokemon in this series…)
Odds are, I’ll run into the same issue I had a few years back when I tried to anoint the franchise’s scariest monsters and just end up with a slew of ghost-types. I’ll try to be creative, I swear.
Regardless, Mismagius is a sneaky little witchypoo, another icon synonymous with the holiday. Should you want to stray from the path of spectres, Hatterne also shares this distinction, however her vibe isn’t quite what we’re looking for here.
She’s really more of a white witch, the kind whose magic is used for blessing crops and channelling the elements. We need someone who’s going to conjure up a toxic brew, then fly off into the night sky while cackling like the Sanderson sisters.
That’s where Mismagius comes in. She’s so well-suited to this visage, I named mine Addie Fitch in honour of Stephen Gammell’s dastardly curse-caster. Does Mismagius also break people’s arms and have a mighty hankering for sugar? You can never be sure, so it might be best to prepare accordingly.
Don’t even dare think of giving her Stevia as a substitute.
And where would a witch be without her black cat? In the case of Addie Fitch, filled with vengeful malice, it would seem. Carpathian kitten loss is an ugly, ugly thing, y’all.
We’ve gotta have a kuroi neko, then, to maintain the peace. Litten is one of my favourite starters of all (at least, until Sprigatito has landed on my lap), a mischievous little puss with a penchant for hawking up flaming hairballs.
Of course, if you want to keep it as the ideal witch accessory, you’ll have to ensure it’s carrying an Everstone with it at all times. Torracat is a little too burly to be carried about on a broomstick, and its colour scheme begins to trend more towards the fiery side than shadowy.
If, somehow, you manage to allow it to proceed any further and become an Incineroar, you’ve really blown it. Evil wrestler kitty is not a Halloween tradition, no matter what it tells you, and if you’re going to be so irresponsible, you may as well just stick with an Umbreon.
“Close enough,” you’d mutter in resignation, as you add another eye of Numel to the bubbling cauldron.
The highlight of any Halloween night, short of watching Garfield’s Halloween Adventure, is all of that sweet, delicious candy candy candy candy candy candy candy!!
Steady yourself! Despite there being more food-based Pokemon than you could count on one hand (unless you’ve got some superfluous digits on offer), few of them would make for appropriate offerings to ravenous children.
The closest we’ve got, by my estimation, would be Swirlix; a miserable creature that is part puppy, part cotton candy. Would you feel comfortable ingesting a sentient sweet snack? Morality aside, it might be worth just a little lick here and there, as a treat.
Just make sure you thoroughly inspect any Pokemon before offering it to your loved ones, and never accept Swirlix that is outside of its packaging. You don’t want them to unwittingly ingest a razor blade, after all, or even worse: an entire Honedge. Ouch!
You’d be wise to keep your wits about you while searching for those lollies, however, as the deeper you enter the woods, the more it feels as though someone is watching…
The walls have ears, potatoes have eyes and the trees have malcontent. You have fallen into the trap of the Trevenant!
These ghastly ghouls of weary wood will make sure you never leave — get it, leave? — which is very spooky and Halloween-like, though admittedly, not necessarily going to delight at a party, which was ostensibly the original point we were trying to make.
Perhaps instead you could cultivate a miniature, bonsai version that can march about the home delivering snacks and drinks to your guests. A tiny Trevenant butler sounds like an awesome conversation starter, I reckon.
Not all Halloween activities need to be eerie, of course, so a wholesome game is sure to amuse young and old alike.
Bobbing for apples is one of the staples of the spooky season, and as luck would have it, there is a Pokemon perfectly suited to this. Applin is a tiny dragon that burrows into an apple from the moment it is born, providing it with protection and nutrients, as well as an amazing pun that it has a “sweet hiding spot”.
Because the Pokemon’s body isn’t the apple itself, but the wriggly, worm-like creature protruding from it, you won’t have to feel guilty about dunking your head into the water and sinking your teeth into its flesh.
That being said, bobbing for apples was an unsanitary practice to begin with, let alone apples that have a dragon inside of them. It does allow for an excellent prank, though, as you could theoretically evolve it into Appletun while it is already in someone’s mouth.
At over one foot in height and weighing nearly 30 pounds, this will probably kill the victim of said prank. Hopefully your Trevenant butler knows how to hide a body.
We already touched on bats earlier, so you had to know an entry of the Chiroptera variety was incoming sooner or later.
Zubat and its family are the most famous bats in Pokemon history, hounding your cave spelunking endeavours at every turn. For Halloween, however, we’re going to take things a step further by offering an animal that looks like it wants to commit homicide in five different ways at once.
Gliscor is an enormous monstrosity that is part bat, part gargoyle, part scorpionfly and all business (he works in accounting). This is even a twofer, as its large wings look just like the cape of a vampire; yet another Halloween must-have.
I sure hope you appreciate the amount of thought and effort I’m putting into this, as it’s the likely culprit behind why I lost my day job.
I know we’ve already covered witches, so I won’t pontificate too thoroughly on the fact that Murkrow’s crown feathers are perfectly shaped to emulate a pointy hat. No need to cry fowl.
Instead, I’m focussing on the avian aspects, as chattering black crows are very much in line with All Hallow’s Eve. This competition was actually more fierce than you may have assumed, as I was very much tempted to opt for Corviknight and its menacing glare. Then, I gave a lot of thought towards Murkrow’s evolved form, Honchkrow, who is a motherfucking crime lord bird wearing a fedora.
But cooler heads prevailed, and since we thought outside the box with Gliscor we went right back into our cosy little box with the most crow-like crow available. If my cats have taught me anything, it’s that boxes are often the best place to be.
What’s that? You’ve been so focussed on the candy and party games, you’ve neglected to decorate your pad at all?
Rookie mistake, my friend! I can see the shame in the Trevenant butler’s cycloptic eye. Fortunately for you, having a Spinarak around can really spruce the place up.
The importance of spiders cannot be understated for peak Halloween aesthetic. Think about it: when you’re approaching the decked out doorstep, what will you almost certainly see? Jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and bats draped in… that’s right, spiderwebs!
They really complete the look, though they can be a pain to clean up afterwards. Hopefully next gen introduces a vacuum Pokemon to expedite the process. Or Hatori. Give me Hatori, you cowards.
We’ve pretty much covered all the bases now, except there is one glaring omission that doesn’t really have an obvious solution.
Skeletons are one of the most prevalent Halloween accoutrements, dangling from the ceilings and beckoning you to come hither. Skeleton Pokemon, it would seem, are in short supply.
Cubone is the first one that comes to mind, known to wear the skull of its fallen mother. That’s metal as fuck, and the Alolan variety even evolve into a flame-wielding ghost! What more could you ask for?
In the end, I decided that the Pokemon with rib-like protrusions would be as close as we’d get for full skeleton goodness. Additionally, it’s a hellhound, and hell is kind of Halloweeny, right? There’s definitely a few children romping about in devil costumes, in a bold display of sacrilege.
Call it a stretch, call it a reach… Personally, I called mine Mr. Bitey. You may boop his snout, if you’d like.