‘Halloween Ends’ and Ten of the Worst Babysitting Gigs in Horror Movies

Of all the jobs depicted in horror movies that are hazardous to your well-being, babysitting ranks high among the most dangerous. The low hourly rate doesn’t compensate for the utter terror a babysitter will endure from masked intruders or worse.

Halloween Ends opens with a life-altering tragedy of babysitting gone wrong, a shocking twist on the franchise’s babysitting origins. It makes for another fright-filled reminder of the high-risk, low-reward job in the world of horror movies.

This week we’re saluting the babysitter with a look back at ten of the worst babysitting gigs in horror movies. There’s not enough money in the world to make these gigs worth it…


babysitting horror halloween ends

John Carpenter’s seminal slasher didn’t just ignite the slasher craze; it started a wave of babysitter horror. Teens Laurie Strode and Annie Brackett were tasked with babysitting on Halloween night, unaware that a masked killer was on the loose until far too late. It proved so effective that many on this list drew overt inspiration from this classic, so we’re knocking the obvious off the list straight away.

The Innocents

This quintessential entry in babysitting horror is one adaptation of many based on the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw. It’s easy to see why this story gets revisited; a first-time governess discovers that this isn’t the career path for her when she’s haunted by unruly children and ghosts. Or is she? The haunting psychological horror sees Miss Gidden slowly unravel thanks to the estate’s dark secrets and a ward with a penchant for bad behavior.

Annabelle Comes Home

babysitting horror annabelle comes home

Sometimes all it takes is one bad night. Mary Ellen frequently babysits Judy Warren, the daughter of demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. So much so that the pair have developed a genuine friendship. Their routine gets interrupted when Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela invites herself over and then lets Annabelle loose. The demonically possessed doll wakes up all the other Warren artifacts, forcing the girls to fight for their lives. Dealing with demonic possession is far above a babysitter’s pay grade.

Bloody Birthday

Three children born at the peak of a solar eclipse reveal themselves to be murderous psychopaths around their tenth birthday. It’s up to teen Joyce and her younger brother to stop them. The children set up a trap for Joyce; they plan a full-scale murder attempt while she babysits. Horror often creates external threats for babysitters to contend with, but Bloody Birthday subverts it with three young sociopathic murderers.

The House by the Cemetery

Obvious statement: there’s no safe career path in a Lucio Fulci film. If you’re anywhere near one of Fulci’s Gates of Hell, well, you’re doomed. Ann, the babysitter, shows up shortly after the Boyle family moves to a New England home with a sordid history. Never mind that there’s a red herring quality to Ann, who often behaves as though she’s hiding something. She’s tasked with caring for one of horror’s loudest screamers, Bob, and among the first to discover the house’s horrifying secret: Freudstein.

Trick or Treats

Babysitting on Halloween night always spells disaster, and Linda can’t catch a break. Her charge, Christopher, refuses to ease up for a minute on the taunts and pranks. It’d be enough to make anyone rip their hair out in frustration, but then there’s the pesky problem of Chris’s escaped mental patient father on the loose. Linda gets terrorized by both an unhinged killer and a ruthless child for the entire run of this slasher. It doesn’t break the slasher mold, and logic proves slippery for its characters, but there’s no denying that Linda has one of the absolute most unenviable babysitting gigs in horror.

The Gate

Being left alone with your younger brother for the weekend should make for the most straightforward babysitting job in the world. Fifteen-year-old Alexandra wastes no time ignoring younger brother Glen and inviting friends over for a party. But Al’s weekend of fun gets turned upside down when Glen unwittingly summons demons from the hole in their backyard. Al gets terrorized by demons and undead construction workers in the bid to undo Glen’s summoning. Worst of all, she’s deemed one of the sacrifices to complete the ritual. 

When a Stranger Calls

A classic urban legend plays out in horror movie form, solidifying an effective genre trope in the process. Jill Johnson is babysitting one night when the phone rings. The stranger on the other line asks if she’s checked the kids lately. The calls increase with regularity and menace until Jill enlists the police. “The calls are coming from inside the house” still elicits chills, and it’s only the start of Jill’s peril in this horror classic.

Better Watch Out

babysitting horror better watch out

Chris Peckover’s home invasion horror movie follows 12-year-old Luke Lerner (Levi Miller) as he’s left alone for the night with babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) while his parents attend a holiday party. Harboring a longtime crush, Luke is hoping to seduce Ashley. Their quiet night of pizza and horror movie watching is interrupted first by Luke’s best friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould) and then by a masked and armed intruder. All hell breaks loose. Poor Ashley must deal with so much more than the unwanted advances of her charge. Full of biting, pitch-black humor, expect this one to get mean.

The House of the Devil

babysitting horror house of the devil

Ti West’s ‘80s set cult horror movie sees a young college student, Samantha, taking on an unusual babysitting gig. She’s so desperate for money that she ignores any ill omens or red flags about the job, including that she never once meets her ward before accepting. Samantha realizes too late that her eccentric clients have ritualistic plans for her. West’s fantastic slow burn brings the atmosphere, allowing its shocking bursts of violence and terrifying imagery to pack a harder punch.

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