On the surface, this Halloween’s TV schedule looks decidedly un-scary. There’s plenty of college football and major league baseball on the broadcast networks, but that hardly gets you in the holiday spirit. So if you wanna spend all day watching TV and still feel like you’re participating in the holiday, you’re going to have to dig deep.
Several cable networks are sticking close to their themes. Food Network is handing out “Spooky Cake & Candy Cook-Off” (Food 6 p.m.) and two episodes of “Challenge” featuring “Haunted Gingerbread Houses” (Food 7 p.m.) and “Horror Cakes” (Food 8 p.m.). TV Land roots through its dusty video vault and comes up with a Halloween-themed marathon featuring multiple episodes of “Three’s Company” (TV Land 4 p.m.), “The Cosby Show” (TV Land 6 p.m.) and “Roseanne” (TV Land 8 p.m.). WGN goes old-school with marathons of “The Addams Family” (WGN 1 p.m.) and “The Munsters” (WGN 4 p.m.). If you need more TV star action, there’s a three-hour run of “Celebrity Ghost Stories” (Biography Channel 6 p.m.) with the likes of Barry Williams (“The Brady Bunch”), Scott Baio (“Joanie Loves Chachi”) and Teri Polo (“Northern Exposure”). I’m not sure the stories count as biographies ... then again, I’m not sure the tellers count as celebrities. Fine Living Network offers up “Martha Stewart’s Halloween: Bad Things, Good Things” (FLN 9 p.m.). I’m gonna go with Halloween among the “good things” and Martha Stewart among the “bad things.” In case you missed it, there’s a rebroadcast of Friday night’s seven-hour special “Ghost Adventures Live!” (Travel Channel 3 p.m.). Not to be outdone in the realm of squinting at bad video and straining over miserable audio, SyFy Channel hits the repeat button on an all-day, 18-hour marathon of “Ghost Hunters” (SyFy 7 a.m.). Feel free to turn it into a drinking game, and take a shot every time someone whisper-screams, “What was that?”
If you have a taste for movies instead, there are plenty to choose from. Comedy Central sticks with its network theme, delivering rude parodies Scary Movie (Comedy Central 5 p.m.) and Scary Movie 3 (Comedy Central 7 p.m.). Desperate to stick to its network theme, Black Entertainment Television offers up Frankenhood (BET 5:30 p.m.), the story of “two morgue workers who enlist the aid of a resurrected corpse to help them win a basketball tournament.” Sounds awesome. Independent Film Channel goes non-Hollywood with the excellent teen werewolf movie Ginger Snaps (IFC 6 p.m.). Figuring ladies would rather weep than get scared, Women’s Entertainment Network shows the Demi Moore / Patrick Swayze romance Ghost (WE 4 p.m.).
Turner Classic Movies, as always, has an excellent all-day marathon of fine old fright flicks. Highlights include The Haunting (TCM 8 a.m.), The Abominable Dr. Phibes (TCM 10 a.m.), Cat People (TCM 3 p.m.), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (TCM 6 p.m.) and Circus of Horrors (TCM 10:45 p.m.). Fox Movie Channel goes ape with a five-film Planet of the Apes marathon, starting with 1968’s original Planet of the Apes (FMC 4 a.m.) and ending with 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes (FMC 11:30 a.m.). The whole cycle repeats at 2 p.m. American Movie Classics delivers only one movie for its eight-hour marathon. But it’s the right movie: 1968’s original Night of the Living Dead (AMC 4 p.m.). Grab a bucket of Butterfingers and you’re set for the day.