Halloween is the start of the holiday season, and an usher of television specials. Over the next two months, your TV will be plagued with halloween themed commercials. At least you can offset the blatant consumerism with some good-old fashioned, family friendly TV entertainment. Look for the following in your local listings:
MIchael Jackson’s “Thriller”
I suppose this may only qualify under a technicality, as this video was originally released in December, but this 14-minute long video where Michael Jackson as a teenager chides his date after a scary movie before leading a hoarde of dancing zombies is iconic. It would honestly only scare the youngest of viewers, and make everyone over the age of ten want to do the ‘Thriller” dance. Still, its a stable of modern music culture and probably an indespensible part of halloween for anyone over the age of 10.
The Worst Witch
This 1980s classic has been arguably made obsolete by Harry Potter, but younger kids really won’t care. It’s the story about a witch in a witch academy who just can’t seem to do anything right. Meanwhile, the evil twin of the school’s headmistress is plotting some wickedness. The musical numbers are surprisingly good, especially the creepy ditty done by Tim Curry, who plays a very creepy “Grand Wizard”.
The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror”
Every year, The Simpsons produce three servieable mini-stories about the family and their beloved Springfield, rife with homages to various horror flicks, “Twilight Zone” episodes, and of course pretty much every pop culture phenomenon ever. Although it never disappoints, notable episodes include Treehouse I (featuring a reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”), Treehouse VI (nominated for a primetime Emmy), and Treehouse X (my personal favorite, focusing on Flanders turning into a werewolf, Comic Boy Guy’s obsession, and the Y2K glitch).
South Park “Pinkeye”
In perfect South Park form, the series combines the implausible/impossible with points about conformity and the idiocy of the masses to tell a tale of how a full-scale zombie outbreak is dismissed as a pinkeye outbreak. Complete with a “Thriller” parody, this episode is just as exciting and hilarious as we’d expect Trey and Matt to do with any respectable episode.
Peanut’s “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”
Yeah, it’s clicheed, but it stands the test of time. Shulz had a knack for combining the whimsy and innocence of childhood with all the pressures, annoyances, and stressors that makes this episode stand the test of time. Although print comics are falling by the wayside, every season a new generation of kids are treated to the antics of Charlie Brown as they try to celebrate halloween while coping with the supposed existance and the terror of the Great Pumpkin.