What to watch this Halloween season

**This was our 2009 Halloween preview. To see what’s coming up for Halloween 2010, click here.

Whether you’re looking for hardcore horror, family-friendly frights, or something in between, here’s a selection of some of the shows and movies to get you in a macabre mood this Halloween season. For more detail on the scary movies listed here, and to search for others throughout the month, visit our online movie database.treehouse-of-horror

GoosebumpsCartoon Network, weekdays at 4:30pm ET through Oct. 29. Episodes from all three seasons of the show that adapted R.L. Stine’s spooky book series for television.

The Othersiders Cartoon Network, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30pm ET; entire week of episodes Oct. 26-30, culminating in special episode Oct. 30 at 9pm ET. Twelve new episodes of this series, in which five young friends investigate haunted locations, air this month. In a one-hour presentation on Oct. 30, the gang visits the abandoned prison Alcatraz to check out reports of ghostly activity.

Celebrity Ghost StoriesBIO Channel, Saturdays at 10pm ET. This new series is a spinoff of last year’s successful special in which celebrities shared their real-life personal experiences with the paranormal. More details here.

Ghost Lab Discovery Channel, Tuesdays at 10pm ET. In this new, 13-part series, brothers Brad and Barry Klinge investigate the paranormal through their team, Everyday Paranormal, founded in 2007. They have explored more than 70 locations and given a new twist to paranormal research through sophisticated equipment housed in a decked-out traveling “ghost lab.”

Starz Inside: “Zombiemania” Starz, Oct. 13 at 10pm ET. This special takes a look at the zombie craze around the world, featuring clips from a vast library of zombie films, and including comments from zombie “experts” like George Romero. Zombiemania also explores the evolution of the zombie, from its roots in African folklore and Haitian voodoo to its current status as pop-culture icon.

13 Scarier Movie Moments — Bravo, Oct. 16 at 9pm ET; Oct. 31 at 10pm ET. This new special handpicks new shockers to highlight this year’s spooky countdown compilation, featuring behind-the-scenes talent behind the scares.

The Simpsons: “Treehouse of Horror XX”FOX, Oct. 18 at 8pm ET; encore Nov. 8 at 7pm ET. In the 20th anniversary installment of this annual Simpsons favorite, three new chilling tales unfold. First, in “Dial ‘M’ For Murder or Press #,”when Lisa becomes livid with Miss Hoover, she sets out for revenge in a series of homages to classic Hitchcock. Next, in a parody of 28 Days Later, Krusty’s latest fast-food sandwich transforms Kent Brockman into an enraged zombie, and 28 days later, cannibal zombies have overrun Springfield. In the final tale, a nod to Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Homer accidentally falls through a trapdoor in Moe’s Tavern and impales himself on the pipes of Moe’s microbrewery. Moe then serves his patrons beer flavored with Homer’s blood and Homer — now half-man, half-brewing apparatus — returns for vengeance. The Oct. 18 premiere is preceded at 7:30pm by last year’s “Treehouse of Horror XIX.”

13 Nights of Halloween — ABC Family, Oct. 19-31. Nightly airings of spooky shows and movies, beginning Oct. 19 at 10pm ET with a Halloween episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Includes the network premiere of Edward Scissorhands on Oct. 25.

TCM Halloween Horrors Marathons — Turner Classic Movies offers horror movie marathons on various days throughout the month. Oct. 20 features films by William Castle, such as The Tingler; Oct. 25 features sci-fi horror films like The Blob; Oct. 27 is all about movies featuring psychic powers, including The Power; and Boris Karloff films are spotlighted on Oct. 30, such as The Mask of Fu Manchu. An all-day movie marathon of monsters, ghouls, mad scientists and more airs Oct. 31, with everything from The Abominable Dr. Phibes to The Body Snatcher.

Fearfest AMC, Oct. 23 at 8pm ET through Nov. 1 at 6am. Sorry, Mad Men fans, but monsters take over AMC this week! (Although there will be at least a couple of actual madmen you may encounter). The network’s annual marathon is a nonstop feast of scary movies, kicking off with the AMC premiere of Alien, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Other notable titles during the fest include the network premiere of Night of the Living Dead (1968 version) and The Shining; Aliens; Halloween (1978); The Innocents; and Return of the Living Dead. For more titles and airdates, see our online movie database.

Shriek Week Nickelodeon networks, Oct. 23 at 8pm ET through Oct. 31. Kids from tots to tweens will have plenty of thrills and chills this week as Nick offers Halloween marathons of hit series, and new spooky episodes of favorite shows. The week kicks off with a Halloween-themed premiere episodes of  The Troop on Oct. 23. New Halloween episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants, The Penguins of Madagascar and True Jackson, VP air Oct. 24. On Oct. 25, Halloween specials of Back to the Barnyard and The Mighty B! air. Preschoolers will have a Haunted Halloween Playdate on Oct. 26 with premiere episodes of The Backyardigans and The Wonder Pets! TeenNick includes marathons from Oct. 26-29, featuring episodes from hits like Degrassi, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and more. On Oct. 26, Nick at Nite airs a night of Halloween-related programming beginning with a new Glenn Martin, DDS. Nick.com will also be getting into the spooky act with a “Shriektober” mini-site.

Zombie Day Cartoon Network, Oct. 24 at 1pm ET. An eight-hour salute to the living dead, with animated tales such as Frankenthumb, and Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island.

Poltergeist TCM, Oct. 24 at 2:15pm ET; Oct. 27 at 8pm ET. Producer Steven Spielberg and director Tobe Hooper updated the antiquated haunted-house thriller in this 1982 classic, moving it from a creaky old mansion on the hill into modern suburbia in a highly effective and scary way.

The Haunted History of Halloween — History, Oct. 25 at 7pm ET; Oct. 26 at 11pm ET; Oct. 30 at noon and 6pm ET. The history of the scariest night of the year, from the Celtic festival of Samhain to the mumming tradition and the Christian feast day of All Hallows’ Eve.

Werewolves: The Dark Survivors Animal Planet, Oct. 25 at 9pm ET; Oct. 29 at 9pm ET. Like it did in the special Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real a few years back, Animal Planet now imagines what it would be like if werewolves weren’t a myth, but instead a small segment of today’s society. Shot in a faux-documentary style, the world of werewolves is explored as a deeply disturbing murder mystery unravels within their clan. As the investigation heats up, a picture is painted of every aspect of these creatures’ lives, from how they breed to how they remain undetected, all backed up by scientific explanations that the network claims are “so plausible that even the hardest skeptic will struggle to spot where reality ends and fantasy begins.”

Halloween Freak Week WGN America, Oct. 26-31. All week long WGN America airs a mix of Halloween movies, shows and marathons. Things kick off on Oct. 26 with three back-to-back Halloween episodes of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Other highlights throughout the week include the movie Gremlins on Oct. 28, a marathon of Munsters episodes on Oct. 30, and a marathon of The Addams Family episodes on Oct. 31.

Bloodlines: The Dracula Family Tree — History, Oct. 26 at 10pm ET. When a team of Dracula hunters, notably members of a family linked to the real-life Prince Vlad Dracul, tries to unearth the truth about the tyrant, they are haunted by mystifying events.

It’s the Great Pumpkgreat-pumpkinin, Charlie Brown ABC, Oct. 27 at 8pm ET; Oct. 28 at 8pm ET. The classic Peanuts special! Not to ruin it, but Charlie Brown still gets a rock.

Modern Marvels: Halloween Tech — History, Oct. 27 at 8pm ET; Oct. 31 at 7pm ET. Visit to Knott’s Berry Farm’s Halloween Haunt; how to apply Hollywood-grade monster makeup; extreme jack-o-lanterns.

Scream 2009 — Spike, Oct. 27 at 10pm ET. The annual celebration of all things sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comic book. This year features a tribute to George Romero, a tribute to Stan Lee, and for some reason a special award to Keith Richards.

The Real Wolfman — History, Oct. 28 at 9pm ET; Oct. 31 at 5pm & 10pm ET. A documentary that seeks to explain murders that took place in a small French village in the 1760s, which led to legends of a werewolf.

The Haunting (1963) TCM, Oct. 28 at midnight ET; Oct. 31 at 10am ET. Robert Wise directed one of the best haunted house thrillers ever with this spooky adaptation of the Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House.

The House of the Devil HDNet Movies, Oct. 28 at 8pm, 9:45pm and 11:30pm ET. A preview of the theatrical retro-’80s horror flick about a young woman who answers an ad seeking a baby-sitter and ends up in a bloody fight for her life.

Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space — NBC, Oct. 28 at 8pm ET (repeats at 8:30pm). Based on the hit animated film Monsters vs. Aliens, this special features the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherlmonstersand and Rainn Wilson. The story continues after the events of the movie, as Susan Murphy (Witherspoon) and the Monsters now work with the U.S. government as special operatives. When an alien presence is detected in Susan’s hometown, right before Halloween, the team must investigate. Everything appears normal, right down to the jack-o-lanterns. But when Halloween arrives, those innocent-looking carved pumpkins are revealed for what they really are — mutant aliens with a plan to take over Earth.

Bio Classics: Bram Stoker BIO Channel, Oct. 29 at 8am & 2pm ET. The life of the author who brought us Dracula.

Bio Classics: Anne Rice BIO Channel, Oct. 29 at 9am & 3pm ET. A look at the New Orleans native and author whose vampire stories remain popular and influential.

Bio Classics: Stephen King BIO Channel, Oct. 29 at 10am & 4pm ET. The amazing life of the frighteningly successful horror master.

America Haunts 4 Travel Channel, Oct. 29 at 8pm ET. This new special looks at America’s most unique, diabolical and theatrical haunted houses.

Haunted Houses BIO Channel, Oct. 30 at 8am & 2pm ET. Investigates haunted houses, including Louisiana’s Myrtles Plantation, and the Joshua Ward House in Massachusetts, where a curse can be traced back to the Salem witch trials.

Primal Fear — History, 8am & 2pm ET. A look at what drives our deepest fears, and the science of how the body reacts to fear.

Exorcism: Driving Out the Devil — History, Oct. 30 at 10am & 4pm ET. A two-hour special tracing the history of the mysterious ritual of exorcism, and how the practice has evolved with changing times.

More Haunted Houses: Tortured Souls and Restless Spirits BIO Channel, Oct. 30 at 10am & 4pm ET. Five haunted houses are examined, including Donnelly Farm in Ontario and Rue Royale in New Orleans.

Mediums: We See Dead People BIO Channel, Oct. 30 at noon and 6pm ET; Oct. 31 at 9am ET. A two-hour look into the world of psychic mediums as they speak to the dead, solve crimes, photograph spirits, explore hauntings and more.

Biography: Witches BIO Channel, Oct. 30 at 8pm ET. A profile of the myths and truths about witches, from ancient history to the modern day.

Fear Fest Encore, Oct. 30 at 8pm ET through early morning Nov. 1. A day of nonstop horror movies, kicking off with the original Final Destination. Other titles during the marathon include 30 Days of Night, Prom Night (2008), Twilight Zone: The Movie, Hellraiser and Mimic.

Ghost Adventures LiveTravel Channel, Oct. 30 Live at 8pm ET. Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin embark on a live, seven-hour investigation after locking themselves inside one of America’s most haunted places — the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Wadventuresest Virginia. The team will have unprecedented access to the building’s 2 1/2 miles of corridors, from the seclusion cells where the most violent patients were shackled, to the medical center where primitive “ice-pick” lobotomies were performed. The investigation will be interactive, with viewers able to participate at this website, where they will have access to the goings-on thanks to webcams. Viewers can also e-mail, text, IM and fax the guys with any evidence they might see. A marathon of previous Ghost Adventures episodes airs all day beforehand. A replay of the investigation airs Oct. 31 at 5pm. A special episode featuring the best moments from this live event airs Nov. 6 at 8pm.

My Ghost Story: Hauntings Revealed BIO Channel, Oct. 30 at 9pm ET; Oct. 31 at 6pm ET. Stories of the paranormal as told by the people who lived through them, and claim to have captured their hauntings on tape.

Ghostly Encounters BIO Channel, Oct. 30 at 10:30pm ET. “Danger Detectors from the Great Beyond” episode.

Ghostly Encounters BIO Channel, Oct. 30 at 11pm ET. “Watery Awakenings” episode.

Ghostly Encounters BIO Channel, Oct. 30 at 11:30pm ET. “The Ghostly Catalyst” episode.

Psycho (1960) TCM, Oct. 31 at midnight ET. Hitchcock’s original classic hasn’t lost its power to chill — or to keep you out of the shower.

Haunted Universal HD, Oct. 31 at 6am ET. A daylong marathon of the short-lived 2002 TV series.

Dead of Night TCM, Oct. 31 at 8am ET. Outstanding and influential 1945 horror anthology film, about guests at a country estate sharing stories of the supernatural.

Ghost Hunters Marathon Syfy, Oct. 31 at 9am ET. Spend a day with the TAPS team to relive some of their scariest investigations.

Halloween Marathon Cartoon Network, Oct. 31 at 10am ET. Cartoon Network offers 12 hours of movies and specials, including Ed, Edd n Eddy’s Boo-Ha Ha!; Billy and Mandy; and Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins.

The Unexplained BIO Channel, Oct. 31 at 11am ET. “Speaking With the Dead” episode.

The Unexplained BIO Channel, Oct. 31 at noon ET. “Hauntings” episode.

The Unexplained BIO Channel, Oct. 31 at 1pm ET. “Amityville: The Haunting” episode.

City Confidential BIO Channel, Oct. 31 at 2pm ET. “Horror in Amityville” episode.

The Silence of the Lambs BIO Channel, Oct. 31 at 3pm ET. Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in the terror classic about an FBI agent using a captured serial killer’s advice to capture another madman.

Cat People (1942) TCM, Oct. 31 at 5pm ET. The original, Val Lewton-produced suspense classic about a woman who fears that an ancient curse will turn her into a bloodthirsty beast.

Paranormal USA: The Mothman BIO Channel, Oct. 31 at 5:30pm ET. A look at the mysterious sightings of an alien-like being in a small West Virginia town.

My Ghost Story 2: Hauntings Revealed — BIO Channel, Oct. 31 at 7pm ET. More firsthand accounts, along with video and photos, of people’s experiences with the supernatural.

Celebrity Ghost Stories Marathon – BIO Channel, Oct. 31 8pm-5am ET.

Roseanne’s Wicked Halloween Bash — TV Land, Oct. 31 10pm-2am ET. A night of Halloween-themed episodes of Roseanne.

Dying For the Weekend — MGM HD, Oct. 31 through Nov. 1. A couple of days filled with high-def horror flicks, including the original Last House on the Left, The Company of Wolves, The Last Man on Earth, Crawlspace and many more.


Treehouse of Horror: © 2009 Fox Broadcasting. The Simpsons ™ & © 2009 TTCFFC

Charlie Brown: © 1966 United Features Syndicate Inc.

Monsters vs. Aliens: © Dreamworks

Ghost Adventures: Credit Travel Channel