By Jay Bobbin, Zap2it
OK, now, don’t be scared: Some networks have been celebrating Halloween already, but here comes the real trick-or-treat deal.
The new week begins on the eve of the annual visits from little candy-seeking goblins and witches — along with the occasional Spider-Man and Disney princess — and television is well aware of the occasion. Between movies, specials and appropriate series episodes, the home screen will have viewers well covered Sunday and Monday, Oct. 30 and 31.
Here’s a look at many of the horrifying highlights.
ABC: Sunday’s “Desperate Housewives” goes for the macabre with a story about moving the body of Gaby’s slain stepfather … with Tony Plana, who played the now-deceased man, directing the episode. And “Dancing With the Stars” hadn’t confirmed its plans for Monday at this writing, but with costuming a big element of that show anyway, it would be surprising if at least one duo didn’t fold in a Halloween salute.
CBS: The “CSI: Miami” team faces an eerie challenge Sunday, courtesy of a maid who appears to have died from a vampire’s neck bites. On Monday, Katie Holmes pays a visit to “How I Met Your Mother” as the so-called “Slutty Pumpkin,” then “Mike &Molly” attend a Halloween party, and Robert Englund (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”) appears in a “Hawaii Five-0” case about a Hawaiian burial site.
NBC: There’s no question “The Sing-Off” will be in the spirit of the evening Monday, since the set will be done up as a cemetery, and the seven remaining a cappella groups will perform tunes on the order of “Ghostbusters” and “Werewolves of London.”
Fox: What would a season of “The Simpsons” be without another “Treehouse of Horrors” episode? Volume XXII airs Sunday, with Aron Ralston — the climber whose survival story fueled the movie “127 Hours” — voicing his cartoon likeness to help Homer out of a similar plight.
ABC Family: “America’s Funniest Home Videos” repeats on both Sunday and Monday have a Halloween theme, but mainly, the last two days of the network’s “13 Nights of Halloween” festival involve movies … “The Addams Family,” “Practical Magic” and “Van Helsing” Sunday, and “Casper” and “Hocus Pocus” Monday.
AMC: The series “The Walking Dead” provides chills on a weekly basis, but coming the night before Halloween, Sunday’s new episode — set largely in a school that just happens to be filled with the undead — should have special relevance. And both Sunday and Monday, the roster of movies boasts several of the “Halloween” thrillers, including the 1978 original that put star Jamie Lee Curtis and director John Carpenter on the map.
Animal Planet: “Finding Bigfoot: Birth of a Legend” plunges into California’s Redwoods for two hours Sunday in a high-tech-driven search for Sasquatch.
Cinemax: The pay channel has many horror movies in store Monday, but the clear standouts are two Alfred Hitchcock-directed classics, the cautionary shower story “Psycho” and the feathered-friends-in-attack-mode saga “The Birds.”
Comedy Central: Halloween is the common link among Monday’s encore episodes of such series as “South Park,” “30 Rock” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
Disney Channel: It’s a trip to “Halloweentown” in a big way Sunday, with several of the Debbie Reynolds-starring movies in the fantasy franchise scheduled.
Food Network: A “Frightfully Good” episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” a “Halloween Wars” installment and a “Food Network Challenge” involving “Outrageous Pumpkins” are in Sunday’s lineup.
FX: The first “Twilight” movie — with Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner — is the centerpiece of the network’s Halloween weekend schedule Sunday, but also worth noting are two efforts from spooky specialist filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, “The Sixth Sense” with Bruce Willis and “The Happening” with Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel.
Hallmark Channel: A “Good Witch” festival of Catherine Bell-starring TV movies is on tap Sunday, including the newest one, “The Good Witch’s Family.” And Monday offers Halloween-oriented repeats of “The Waltons,” “Little House on the Prairie” and “Frasier.”
Spike TV: Sunday, the underrated movie melodrama “The Unborn” with Odette Yustman — who’s now Odette Annable of “House” — will be followed by Sara Paxton (“Shark Night 3D”) in the 2009 remake of “The Last House on the Left.”
Syfy: “Ghost Hunters Halloween Live” pretty much says it all, as Monday’s annual evening-long special takes investigators from both “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Hunters International” to and through a now-abandoned Pennsylvania asylum.
Travel Channel: “Halloween Crazy” (Sunday) and “Ghost Adventures: The Beginning” (Monday) are among the trips the channel plans to take to unusual locales.
Turner Classic Movies: Always a Halloween haven at this time of year, the channel gives chillers “starring” Frankenstein, Dracula and the Mummy a television home Monday … along with the original, still-hair-raising version of “Night of the Living Dead.”
TV Land: Halloween stories were trademarks of “Roseanne,” which now is a staple of this nostalgia-oriented network. Thus, those episodes are compiled into “Roseanne’s Wicked Halloween Bash” Sunday.
USA: The Muppets and the WWE aren’t the likeliest combination, but Oct. 31 can make for strange bedfellows … as will be proven Monday when Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang guest-host a “WWE Monday Night Raw” Halloween special.