Halloween is fast approaching. It hits this Thursday. And frankly, Thursday is a crummy night for Halloween. It’s not on the weekend, so adults can’t go to any good parties. And it’s on a weeknight, so the kids have to go to school the very next morning. It’s a bummer for everyone. But it’s what we get this year.
Since there’s no point in going out, you might as well just stay home and watch TV. (Which, if you haven’t figured it out at this point, is Idiot Box’s advice for every holiday.) So what kind of scary stuff do we have waiting for us around the TV dial this Halloween?
Well, if you wanna spend your Halloween squinting at some grainy night-vision footage, hunting for “real” ghosts, you’ve got a couple choices. History Channel pokes around haunted locations with “Haunted History” (History 6am to 2pm), while Travel Channel does the same with “Ghost Adventures” (Travel 6am to 5pm). Travel Channel tops its day off with a brand new special: “Ghost Adventures: Curse of the Harrisville Farmhouse” (Travel 7pm), which has Zak and the gang looking for dark paranormal entities in Rhode Island.
If you like your scares of the fictional variety and are in the mood for a seasonal classic, you can catch the witchy Disney comedy Hocus Pocus (Freeform 10:30am to 9pm). It airs five times in a row. If Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (Spike 5pm to 11pm) is more your speed, it airs three times in a row. (Get it? Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!). If you want a little more scare and a little less silly, just watch the original 1990 TV mini-series of Stephen King’s It (Spike 7:30am to noon) starring Tim Curry, and then compare it to 2017’s theatrical remake It: Chapter One (TBS 6pm) starring Bill Skarsgard. Both are guaranteed to leave scars on your childhood psyche.
Speaking of classics: Amid its day-long marathon of classic fright films, Turner Classic Movies offers up some favorites from the king of Halloween himself, Vincent Price. You can catch the suave spook in 1959’s The Bat (TCM 7:45am), 1959’s House on Haunted Hill (TCM 9:15am), 1953’s House of Wax (TCM 4:15pm), 1960’s The House of Usher (TCM 9pm), 1961’s The Pit and the Pendulum (TCM 10:30pm) and 1963’s The Haunted Palace (TCM midnight).
If your taste runs to the bloodier end of the spectrum, American Movie Classics treats audiences to its annual, holiday-appropriate slasher marathon. This year—just like every year—it starts off with John Carpenter’s influential 1978 film Halloween (AMC 7am). That’s followed by 1988’s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (AMC 9am)—sorry Halloween’s 2 and 3, you got the ax this year. After that it’s 1989’s Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (11am AMC), 1995’s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (AMC 1pm), 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection (AMC 3pm), a rerun of the original Halloween (AMC 5pm), 1998’s Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later (AMC 7pm) and 1981’s Halloween II (AMC 9pm)—ah, there you are! (Sorry, Halloween III: Season of the Witch; You didn’t have Michael Myers anyway.)
Finally, if you don’t have the patience (or the guts) to watch an entire scary movie, there’s a solution! You can head straight to “The Very VERY Best of the 70s” (AXS TV 6pm). This special episode features period stars such as Catherine Bach (“The Dukes of Hazzard”), Morgan Fairchild (“Falcon Crest”) and Anson Williams (“Happy Days”) talking about their favorite horror movies of the ’70s. If that’s not enough, “The 13 Scariest Movies of All Time” (KWBQ-19 7pm) spreads the net a bit wider, covering all decades—but adding Dean Cain as host, which makes it kind of a toss-up. And frankly, if at least one of the countless dog-based holiday movies Dean Cain has made (The Dog Who Saved Christmas, The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation, The Dog Who Saved Halloween, The Dog Who Saved Easter, The Dog Who Saved the Holidays, etc.) doesn’t end up on that list, somebody fixed the voting. Now those are some scary-ass movies!