Anime doesn't often mix with Halloween, so when we are graced with a blend of the two, it's best to embrace it.
If you look back at anime over the years, Halloween themed episodes or arcs are extremely limited — so much so that it's typically jovial in the few situations we've seen it, without much stock going into anything thematic. One of the rare exceptions is the cult-classic (and top tier) anime title Cowboy Bebop, with Cowboy Bebop: The Movie taking place right before and during Halloween.
The film doesn't have a drastic shift in tone to go straight-up horror or anything, but it has plenty of reasons it's a title worth revisiting annually as a Halloween tradition.
The importance of a strong setting
The Cowboy Bebop movie knows that when you're making something with the intent to set a timeline of events, there needs to be instances to establish your world. The feature-length version has Halloween themed decor everywhere throughout the film, in liquor stores with the iconic introduction scene, or Ed's use of Trick-or-Treating to obtain information about the whereabouts of an active bounty.
Up to the film's climax, there's a Halloween parade with massive Thanksgiving Day Parade sized floats that's actually a key detail in the film's intense final battle between Spike and the film's villain. You don't necessarily have to make it a Halloween special, but using that time to build a more detail-oriented world with a unique anime backdrop makes Cowboy Bebop: The Movie a title that flourishes in creating ambiance.
Anime, Halloween, and a movie?!
As mentioned earlier, Halloween is a rarity in anime. As is the evolution of a series receiving a cinematic addition to a franchise, Cowboy Bebop brings all of those things together for one glorious ride. Even more impressive, the film feels true to the series origins and has a grander story to accommodate the cinematic adaptation and the fun of Halloween without going overboard.
Because this is such a rare find in a sea of anime content, the wonderful theatrical fall-festivities make it a film that stays true to any Halloween content desires you hope to fulfill in the month of October. At least that's what I tell myself as an excuse to return to the film every year.
It has substance
The most important thing aside from Halloween's spirit is that Cowboy Bebop: The Movie is truly worth watching. The film takes on a plethora of stories, expanding our core four characters' values in some capacity, giving them individual journies that are still connected by one another.
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie also heavily focuses on societal issues and conflicts through anime-goggles, making it one of the most well-rounded anime films of all time. Remarkable writing, essential character development, atmospheric importance, Halloween-time fun, and so much more make Cowboy Bebop: The Movie a title that's a genuine must-watch for fans of not just the franchise but fans of cinematic storytelling.
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie is a title that has, without a doubt, stood the test of time, and this Halloween tradition of annually returning to the film is something I can wholeheartedly say I won't be changing anytime soon.