Fangirl Thursday: What’s a Must-Watch For Your Halloween?

With Halloween right around the corner, it seemed fitting to have this week’s Fangirl Thursday post be an ode to all the spooky or silly (or maybe both?) movies or TV shows that you simply can’t miss during this time of year.

I will freely admit that I am not a horror movie fan. I’m the world’s biggest chicken when it comes to scary movies, so my tastes lean much closer to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown than The Exorcist. I think this is also the time to fess up to the fact that I still have yet to see Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas, two Halloween classics. (Someone please tell me where I go to turn in my nerdy girl card after admitting that.)

While I’m not one for most traditional Halloween media, I do love some staples of the season: the aforementioned It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a favorite of mine, and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I have been known to enjoy The Rocky Horror Picture Show at this time of year (especially when I was in college).

However, most of my Halloween favorites come from the world of television. I’m a sucker for any and all of the Halloweentown movies from The Disney Channel, and I’m sure one of those will be on in my house at some point this weekend. But I’m also a huge fan of Halloween episodes of TV shows—from the ones that are completely themed to the holiday (Castle’s “Demons”) to the ones that have Halloween as merely a backdrop to some of my favorite moments in TV history. (I’m looking at you, “Halloween Surprise” from Parks and Recreation.)

Another, lesser-know Halloween favorite of mine is the Even Stevens Halloween episode, “A Very Scary Story.” Even Stevens was one of my favorite shows when I was in junior high (Now I’m thinking I should write a letter to Ren for my book…), and that episode is nothing but ridiculous, Halloween-themed fun. From Louis’s penguin jockey costume to the weird twists involving stolen eyes and cravings for milk, every moment of that episode brings me nostalgic joy.

Speaking of nostalgia, the one Halloween TV episode I have to re-watch every year is the Boy Meets World classic, “And Then There Was Shawn.” I love genre-savvy characters and episode of television, so this is tailor-made for me with its tongue-in-cheek references to so many different horror movie tropes. As a kid (and—let’s face it—even now), some parts of it genuinely freaked me out: the masked figure (I have a very intense fear of people wearing masks.), the creepy song…But this episode was all about poking fun at the horror genre (and then getting to some of the deep themes underneath it) rather than recreating anything truly scary. It’s fun, it’s smart, and it’s an episode I can’t miss watching at this time of year.

Now it’s your turn to tell me what Halloween movies and TV episodes you have to watch every year! And if you want to tell me what you’re dressing up as this year, I am always excited to talk about Halloween costumes. This year I’ll be going as Princess Leia in her Hoth gear, how about you?

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23 thoughts on “Fangirl Thursday: What’s a Must-Watch For Your Halloween?

  1. My kids (even my 17 year old) all insist on all the Halloween Town movies each year. I had to buy 2 of them on Amazon because they just couldn’t wait. I’m not a big horror movie fan either but I do like old classic Alfred Hitchcock films like Psycho and especially Rear Window (Grace Kelly is spectacular!). This is really the first year where I’ve sort of thrown in the towel on costumes. My 3 oldest are just putting them together from thrift store purchases or stuff we already have. And all 3 are going to friends houses so I don’t have to trek around collecting candy. And my son has opted to go to a NHL hockey game ( as long as I fulfill my promise to get him whatever candy he wants). Hey, it’s cheaper than buying a costume and I can avoid the bugs and usual heat of walking all over the neighborhoods where about 70% of the people aren’t home or are on lockdown. Please don’t think I’m unhappy at all. I’m thrilled.

    • I’m so happy I’m not the only one who still loves those Halloweentown movies! 😉

      It’s crazy for me to think that there are places that have bugs and heat on Halloween! Where I live, we’re usually dodging snowflakes and trying to find ways to fit winter coats under our costumes!

  2. Hmmm. I’m not much for horror, either. As for TV . . . I do like Toy Story of TERROR. 🙂

    I am a classic movie kinda girl, so I enjoy Hammer horror (I mean, c’mon, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing) as well as some of the classic Universal movies.

  3. Charlie Brown ❤

    Believe it or not, Hocus Pocus scares me more now than it did as a kid? I have no idea when I became such a chicken but here we are.

    They actually have the Evan Stevens episode on demand. I was watching it two days ago! Such a fun one + the Lizzie McGuire one! And OMG, "And Then There Was Shawn"! YES! I can quote that episode from beginning to end without it even being on because I've seen it so many times it's ridiculous. Halloweentowns are my favorites too and I really love Phantom of the Megaplex + Moms Got A Date With A Vampire. I'm too much of a chicken to branch out of Disney's "horror" movies. Since we've gotten 3 good ones every year in a row, I'm starting to think B99's Halloween themed episodes are going to be a must watch every year.

    — G

    • I’m pretty sure we have the exact same taste in Halloween media. 😉 I love the Lizzie McGuire Halloween episode, too! I also might have jumped up and down in my office a little bit when you mentioned Phantom of the Megaplex and Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire. Both of those are waiting for my sister and I on our DVR for this weekend!

  4. I am not a fan scary movies at all. My boyfriend always wants to watch one on Halloween, so we have an every-other-year rule. Last year I watched ‘Nighmare on Elm Street’, so this year I get a free pass.

    My favorite Halloween movie is defiantly ‘Casper’, for obvious reasons. My younger sister and I would watch it every year growing up. She preferred Capser and Wendy, but I would always win because I was six years older and would threaten to tickel her if I didn’t get my way.

    We would also watch Charlie Brown and the Garfield Halloween special. Let me tell you, that Garfield Halloween special still scares me as an adult almost as much as it did as a kid.

    I have a friend’s party to go to this year. I’m going to be a magician and the bf is going to be my white rabbit!

    • Oops, I forget TV eps! Most of the shows I watch don’t have Halloween eps, but Buffy had a couple great ones I like to revisit once in awhile.

    • You are far braver than I am, Shauna. I would be curled up in a ball on the floor just thinking about watching A Nightmare on Elm Street.

      Your love for Casper always makes me smile. It’s been a few years since I’ve watched that; I should do that again soon.

      I can’t wait to see pictures of your costume! I still think your one from last year might have been one of my favorite costumes anyone I know has ever put together.

  5. I have a list of Halloween movies I dearly love and watch every year, which would basically be the first three Halloweentown movies, Casper Hocus Pocus (Bette Midler is fantastic in this movie) The Nightmare Before Christmas and I do love Corpse Bride as well. Out of all of these though Hocus Pocus and Casper tie for my favorites (I will fully admit to having the Casper soundtrack on my ipod I love that music) since they have everything I’d want in these movies to get me in the mood for Halloween.

    TV episode wise I have watched quite a bit but the more memorable Halloween tv episodes are Lizzie Mcguire’s Halloween episode where they all scared Kate in an awesome way haha and another that comes to mind is the one you mentioned Castle’s Demons.

    My Halloween night will be spent handing out candy to all the kiddies who come our way to my house and probably dying over their adorable costumes as I tend to every year haha.

    • How could I forget about Corpse Bride?! I actually really like that movie, and now I need to go watch it ASAP.

      I hope you have an excellent Halloween night and get to see plenty of little kids with adorable costumes. We hardly get any trick-or-treaters (living on a dead-end street will do that), but I luckily have all my adorable dance students to see on Halloween this year.

  6. I’m not a horror fan either. This year I figured that Crimson Peak looked not tooo scary, and since I fell in love with Guillermo del Toro after I watched Pacific Rim (and especially the BTS special about it) I decided to be brave and take the risk. And it was pretty amazing. But yeah, I cannot watch really scary stuff. I’d heard that Scream was funny… and no one explained that it was only funny if you like slasher flicks. I hid my face for the entire movie. (I’d kind of love to see the amazing NZ horror film Black Sheep. It’s every NZers worst nightmare – when the sheep revolt and start lunging for farmer’s throats! odd, I know, but we are outnumbered 20:1 by sheep, so as soon as I saw the trailer for this film I knew it had to be made by a NZer! lol. But yeah, I can’t watch that kind of thing.)
    I enjoy Halloween episodes on the shows I watch, but I don’t really seek them out to rewatch. I like all the Treehouse of Horror Simpsons episodes, but again, I don’t seek them out. I only have 2 movies I bought for seasonal re-watching – Coraline and The Nightmare before Christmas. Coraline is the most fantastic thing (I love that Laika studios popped three-quarters of a million kernels of popcorn and painted them to make the cherry blossoms for one scene – I mean, O.M.G. !) and the Nightmare Before Christmas is a fun transition between Halloween and the Christmas season. And I like singing “this is Halloween, this is Halloween.” Actually I don’t think I love the film the way some people do, but it’s a good background when I’m crafting or pumpkin carving. Or maybe I do love it and I’ve just forgotten because I haven’t watched it yet this year.
    I absolutely despise Hocus Pocus! I watched it in my 20s and I hated it. I hate Bette Middler in it, and everyone else too. I know that’s an extremely unpopular opinion, but I’m not even willing to give it another chance. lol. It’s a generational thing I think. If I’d been a kid like my friends were when they watched it maybe it would have been different.
    I have to mention one more new movie that I just watched – it’s called What We Do in the Shadows, and it’s a NZ film made by Jemaine of the Flight of the Chonchords. It’s a mockumentary about some kiwi vampires trying to get along in the world, flatting, going out, falling in love, feeding on human blood… the whole thing is totally played for laughs so it’s not the slightest bit scary – the arterial blood squirting everywhere is funny, not scary. At first I thought the film was totally lame, but it actually got really good. In a very odd kind of way.
    Happy Halloween!

    • Happy Halloween to you, too, Jo!

      You’re the first person I know to tell me they don’t like Hocus Pocus! But you might be right about it being a generational thing. Everyone who’s recommended it to me is generally right around my age (mid to late 20s).

      I’m glad you enjoyed Crimson Peak. It seems like an awesome movie if I was brave enough to watch it!

    • I absolutely loved ‘What we do in the Shadows’! It was hilarious, especially for someone who likes vampires like the Buffy fan in me does!

  7. Hocus Pocus is probably my all-time favorite Halloween movie. The Sanderson sisters are creepy enough to be good villains but the tone of the movie isn’t super scary to me. It’s such a fun movie and it’s one that gets random parts quoted by Sam and I year-round.

    My other two favorites were made for TV movies. Of all of their Halloween originals, Under Wraps is my favorite Disney Channel Original Movie. I remember loving the mummy a ton and loving it every time I watched. The other was an ABC Family original called The Hollow that I only watched because Nick Carter is one of the stars but ended up really loving, even when I rewatched it a few years ago. It’s a retelling of Sleepy Hollow and it’s spooky without being intense horror.

    As far as TV shows go, “And Then There Was Shawn” is probably one of my favorite episodes of all time. I think it sparked my love of genre-savvy characters and methods of storytelling. It is a true classic.

    I had other thoughts but then I reread your review of “Halloween Surprise” and watched the proposal again and I am incapable of other thoughts. I don’t care if it wasn’t a Halloween moment, the proposal made it the best Halloween episode and there is no other competition.

    But speaking of Mike Schur and Halloween episodes, I also love the Halloween Brooklyn Nine-Nine trilogy and Queen of Everything Amy Santiago.

    • I really do need to sit down and watch Hocus Pocus. Our similar tastes in everything lead me to believe I will really love it. 🙂

      Under Wraps is another great Disney Channel Halloween movie; I’m so glad you mentioned it! And how did I miss out on The Hollow? I need to rectify this oversight. 😉

      I also love that I sent you down into the pit of Halloween Surprise feels with me. I will definitely be watching that today when I get home from work. And I’m pretty sure Mike Schur should just oversee all shows that want to do Halloween episodes between that one and the awesome trifecta of Brooklyn Nine-Nine ones we’ve had so far.

  8. The Rocky Horror Picture Show comes to mind. Outside of that, there aren’t any other movies and TV episodes I traditionally watch every year.

    If I am go out on Halloween, I’m going out as Charlie Chaplin which I dressed up as for a 1920’s-themed fundraiser event. A lot of people there love it.

  9. How could I have forgotten? “psych” Halloween episodes! (Sometimes I miss USA’s “blue skies” programming . . .) NOBODY screams like Gus.

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