A Nerdy Parent’s Guide to Halloween TV


While some households are all about the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, my family was always more of a It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown kinda group. Christmas specials are fine, and I just may be writing about those too in a month’s time, but there’s just something a little more, well, special about Halloween TV specials. Halloween is a time for satire and spookiness, and I know there are those of you out there who would take humor over a heart-warmer any day.

In the era of downloadable or recordable TV, we may have forgotten that feeling of community that happens when we know we’re watching something special at the same time as everyone else. October is a great time to rekindle your family’s relationship with TV, but if your DVR or online watching has spoiled your patience for the unavoidable onslaught of commercials, it doesn’t really matter how you watch these shows. Just make sure you don’t miss them.

The Simpsons is arguably the king of Halloween episodes, every year cramming their “Treehouse of Horror” episode with more and more hilariously creepy satire. I’m not really sure how they can top this year’s episode, which featured a long opening by Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro. This episode aired on the 6th, but will have an encore showing on October 25th.

Here’s a video that helps unravel the quick litany of references in the opener.

Another that you don’t want to miss is the Toy Story of Terror, which you may have read about on NWC last month. This TV movie created in full Pixar glory is sure to be floating around online and on TV for years to come.

If you have AMC, don’t miss all of their classic horror movie showings this month (just make sure whatever you’re about to watch isn’t too scary or gory). I was pretty excited to see that they’re showing the classic Mel Brooks comedy Young Frankenstein, which my family’s been watching repeatedly and relentlessly since before I can remember (even though it has some sexual humor). This movie’s also on Netflix, by the way (if you’ve never seen it, DO IT. Trust me.)

Among their younger kids’ fair this year, PBS Kids will be showing their new Curious George Halloween special, Haunted Boo Fest, on October 28th.

If the TV Halloween offerings just aren’t doing it for you, check out The Ultimate Spider-Man Halloween Event. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, why not have yourself a good old fashioned Goosebumps marathon?

Once the kids have returned with their candy bounty on Halloween night, don’t forget to catch the old favorite It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, as always.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *