Sneakers and Halloween have gone hand-in-hand for well over a decade now.
Whether it’s off-the-wall themed releases with wild patterns and accessories or subdued, tongue-in-cheek nods to horror movie icons, each October always brings at least a small crop of spooky releases and scary good drops. While Halloween 2020 might feel a little bit dull in the general absence of costume parties or trick-or-treating, we’re highlighting some of our favorite Halloween-themed sneakers to ever release to get you in the season’s spirit regardless of the current situation.
Nike Dunk Low Pro SB “Freddy Krueger” (2007)
Any Halloween sneaker list would be woefully incomplete without one of the most famous (or infamous) sneaker non-releases to ever occur. Considered by many to be the pinnacle of the SB Dunk mystique, the Freddy Krueger Dunks never hit the market due to a cease-and-desist letter from New Line Cinema, the owners of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.
Because of both factory employees, store owners, and slip ups, the company’s request for all pairs to be pulled from shelves and destroyed was somewhat subverted. While some say there are as little as 30 pairs in circulation, Freddy Dunks are still occasionally seen in big sales and on the shoes of intense collectors or big-name rappers (like, for example, Travis Scott).
The Dunks feature a chrome Swoosh to symbolize the killer’s claws, a green and red striped corduroy that reflects his sweater, and suede overlays that recall his blood-splattered, severely burnt skin. Because of both their rarity and the sheer boldness of their execution, the shoes are some of the most highly sought-after Dunk Lows—if not sneakers period—to ever exist.
Nike Dunk High SB “Jason Voorhees” (2007)
While the Jason Dunks are considered by many to be a “sister model” of the Freddy Kruegers, this pair actually made it to production in 2007. Jason is an equally formidable killer, but his Dunk model is somewhat scaled-back in terms of gory details; blood-soaked suede paneling overlays a black suede and a white heel/eyestay wing that represents the machete killer’s signature hockey mask. Most famously reinterpreted by Warren Lotas, the model also serves to highlight the playful and legendary golden age of Nike SB.
Nike Air Force 1 “Savage Beast” (2009)
Unlike other shoes on this list that recall specific icons of horror, 2009’s Air Force 1 “Savage Beast” simply evokes any given hairy monster that could be lurking behind any tree or in any closet. The shoe is made up of pumpkin-orange hairy suede (even on its midsole!) and features “SAVAGE BEAST” embroidered on its heel tabs. While this brutal reinterpretation of an icon is less known than many of its Halloween-themed companions across Nike’s lineup, it’s no less deserving of recognition.
Laika x Nike Air Foamposite One “Paranorman” (2012)
Produced to commemorate the release of Laika Studios’ 2012 stop-motion movie Paranorman, this model sees ethereal green flames grace the molded sidewalls of the Nike Foamposite One. The model is striking and downright gorgeous, but they’ve never been easy to get their hands on; just 800 pairs were produced and given away via a Twitter contest. Slime green outsoles and “WEIRD WINS” branding on the heel (alongside an embroidered silhouette of Paranorman’s eponymous main character) complete the shoe’s design.
While these shoes aren’t always in the “holy grail” conversation, they’ve clearly (and rightfully) earned that status for many; pairs have sold for up to $6,000 within the past year according to StockX.
Nike LEBRON XXIII “Horror Flick” (2015)
While many shoes on this list are reinterpreted versions of sportswear classics, this shoe stands out in its bloody redress of an aggressively futuristic basketball shoe. The 2015 “Horror Flick” Lebron 13 lives up to its numerical value, and anyone having to face these on the court can most certainly be considered unlucky. The shoe’s white upper is punctured by sprays of red blood on the model’s midsole. A gory LEBRON logo on the tongue matches a drippy red “LJ” on the shoe’s heel.
Reebok Instapump Fury OG “Halloween” (2016)
Originally released in 2016, the Halloween Instapumps are often left off of Halloween sneaker roundups. It’s hard to understand why; the model is both wearable and extremely striking, featuring spiked metal studs on the heel and pull tabs that compliment reflective paneling near the toe. An ink-black upper and skull-patterned insole complete the model’s design, and they’d be just at home at a punk rock show as they would in an evil dungeon. Pairs are still in circulation since the model’s 2016 release, and the sneaker feels like an underappreciated gem among the legends of the spooky sneaker scene.
Nike Kyrie 4 “Halloween” (2018)
A much more accessible option for fans of the skeletal green glow of the Paranorman Foams, 2018’s Halloween Kyrie 4s hold their own with an oozing green slime motif splattered atop a jet-black upper. Ectoplasm drips from the model’s Swoosh and KI tongue badges and into the shoe’s wrap-around outsole, forming a basketball sneaker that’s as eerie as it is eye-catching.
OFF-WHITE x Nike Blazer “Halloween Pack” (2018)
Originally released in fall of 2018, the “All Hallows Eve” and “Grim Reaper” colorways of the OFF-WHITE x Nike Blazer are modern icons of the Halloween sneaker landscape. The two models’ signature overset and oversized swooshes (orange and white respectively) are set against neutral backgrounds that call to mind both a carved jack-o-lantern and the cloaked, skeletal specter of death. Both models came with colorful alternate laces, but the OG options stay true to the spirit of the holiday.
2019 – Nike Dunk Low SB “Night of Mischief”
Echoing the legendary “Day of the Dead” Dunk Lows of old, 2019’s Night of Mischief Dunks dropped just barely before the 2020 Dunk craze got off the ground. A black upper with spiderweb accents, orange Swoosh and matching jack-o-lantern perforated toebox, and bright green outsole add up to a spooky and playful reinterpretation of one of the most well-loved silhouettes in Nike’s catalog.
Ghostbusters x Reebok “Ghost Smashers” (2020)
A standout in this year’s Halloween releases, the Chris Hill-designed Reebok Ghost Smasher reinterprets a shoe from another horror classic—Alien—to match the far more approachable and tongue-in-cheek tone of the movie it’s based on. A slime-green proton pump is attached to the shoe’s heel with faux metal hoses, and green and blue tubing runs from the bottom of the cylinder into the shoe’s heel cup. Haphazard caution tape motifs and Ghostbusters branding warn inexperienced operators to stay away, and the vintage, aged look of the shoe suggest years of use in spectral combat.
Adidas Forum Low “Killer Clown” (2020)
One of the newest models on this list, the upcoming “Killer Clown” adidas Forum Low stands out in an extremely stacked Halloween Pack cooked up by the Three Stripes for 2020. The model clearly takes inspiration from Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the horrific antagonist of Stephen King’s IT. The shoe incorporates the clown’s shock of orange hair on the heel, makeup lines down the lateral side, and terrifying fanged jaws on the toebox. Blood splatters on the midsole and detachable strap ruffle cement this as one of the gorier shoes seen in recent memory, and reflective evil eyes atop the Three Stripes branding mean that passers-by will feel the fear even more in the dark.
2020 – Nike Air Max 95 “Freddy Krueger”
Nike’s second stab (or rather, slash) at a Nightmare on Elm Street sneaker is set to arrive very soon. The shoe once again borrows the clawed killer’s striped sweater pattern and chrome claw textures for a more tastefully-bloodied model; a detailed glance at the shoe’s tongue stripe and heel badge reveal red splatters and drips all over the panels. Finally, blood-filled air bubbles and outsole accents cement the shoe as a tribute to one of the most legendary horror movie villains of all time. We can only hope New Line signed off on the project this time around, because we truly can’t wait for their release.