Every year countless TV shows get into the holiday spirit and host a special Halloween episode. These usually involve the main characters dressing up and partaking in your typical Halloween festivities such as costume parties or trick-or-treating. But some shows, such as The Simpsons’ annual Treehouse of Horror episode, actually veer into the realm of the spooky and supernatural and drop the characters we know and love into alternate universes filled with the wondrous and weird. Many video games do the equivalent of this via downloadable expansions.
We’ve already described in detail how some games add completely unnecessary zombies to up the fun factor. These Halloween DLC add-ons are built on the same idea of taking our favorite games and adding in ghouls, ghosts, and goblins to give them a spooky makeover. Here are five of our favorite Halloween DLC packs to get you in the mood for the season.
Saints Row IV – Gat Out of Hell
Somewhere along the way, Saints Row went from a Grand Theft Auto clone to a superhero parody where anything can believably happen. The final piece of Saints Row IV DLC is all the proof you need. Gat Out of Hell sees the resurrected Johnny Gat chase the kidnapped Boss of the Saints to the underworld to battle Satan himself. Somehow this is all canonical, even setting up the sequel/reboot coming in 2017.
Since the campaign takes place in Hell, you’ll meet characters from past games, as well as historical figures like William Shakespeare and Blackbeard. You also prevent a Satanic wedding, get a favor from God, and participate in some Disney-esque musical numbers. Even when indulging in demonic DLC, Saints Row knows how to have fun.
Red Dead Redemption – Undead Nightmare
The story of Red Dead Redemption is poignant, reflective and ultimately a tragedy. When Rockstar returned to that world for some Halloween DLC, all that went right out the window for some spooky, gory fun. In Undead Nightmare, John Marston is hunting zombies on the prairie, and that’s just the start.
Taking place in an alternate timeline to the campaign, a mythical MacGuffin appears to resurrect many of the people killed during RDR‘s campaign. Beyond the undead, you’ll also run into sasquatches, unicorns, mummies, ad even the four Horses of the Apocalypse. After so much fun with Red Dead Redemption, Undead Nightmare was a cute (if bloody) coda.
Infamous 2 – Festival of Blood
The Infamous series is a relatively self-serious rumination on a somewhat realistic approach to superpowers. When it was time for some Halloween DLC in 2011, all that composure goes out the window for some silly, scary fun. Because who didn’t want to see what happens when a vampire fights a dude with lightning powers?
Festival of Blood is standalone DLC that begins as a story told by Infamous comic relief Zeke, meaning anything goes. Series lead Col battles vampires all across the city as part of Pyre Night, trying to avoid becoming a vampire himself. It’s some goofy scares that added some levity to a series in need of it. It even ends with the classic “it was all a dream… Or was it!?!”
Sleeping Dogs – Nightmare in North Port
In this Halloween DLC pack for the severely underrated Sleeping Dogs, Chinese undercover office Wei Shin must save his girlfriend, Not Ping, from the ghost of notorious gangster Big Scar Wu and his undead army of Jiang Shi (basically vampire/zombie hybrids). The ghost seeks revenge against the Sun On Yee Triad organization for how they murdered him: By stabbing him 42 times and grinding his corpse into cat food, which is how he got the nickname “Smiley Cat” while in Hell.
Seriously, Nightmare in North Port is much better than how this sounds unless this all sounds awesome. Either way, give Sleeping Dogs and this DLC a shot this Halloween. And pour one out for shuttered developer United Front Games while you’re at it.
Borderlands – The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned
In The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, you must travel to Jakobs Cove to face a horde of undead enemies. These monstrosities were created by the nefarious Dr. Ned, who is in no way related to or associated with Dr. Zed (wink wink). The pack contains new enemies, loot, and 25 new missions that take place in six horror-themed zones.
The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned was the first piece of DLC for Borderlands, and it would serve as the template for several amazing content packs to follow. The DLC set the precedent that all the familiar Borderlands characters were fair game to appear in the game’s DLC, and you shouldn’t be too concerned with their fate in these packs. Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep would never have been possible if Island of Dr. Ned hadn’t gone before it to help developer Gearbox Software get their feet wet and figure out what worked and what didn’t in a downloadable content pack.
Honorable Reverse Mention — Costume Quest: Grubbins on Ice
What happens when the main game is all about Halloween, and it’s time for DLC? Go all in on winter holidays! Costume Quest is the Halloweeniest game ever made, so when Double Fine made post-release DLC they sent the heroes on some non-denominational winter adventures. Grubbins on Ice is brief fun that reminds you that it’s fun to dress up, no matter what the holiday.