Clarissa's 31 Days of Halloween Challenge: TV Edition
Though you’ve probably been adding pumpkin spice to everything (right down to your toothpaste & condom flavours of choice) ever since September 1st, we all know that Halloween is officially on the second that October rolls around.
That doesn’t just mean turning your home into a fabulous skull strewn hellscape and adding meticulous details to that Babadook costume you’ve been working on all year (no shame, babes) - it also means solely watching nothing but horror.
There’s plenty of movies you can opt for to celebrate the season (and our Movie Edition of this here 31 Days of Halloween challenge is definitely one we recommend you follow), but there’s a whole bunch of TV shows, nostalgic Halloween specials, and standout scary episodes worth watching too.
On our TV Edition of the 31 Days of Halloween Challenge you’ll find singular episodes for the weekdays and bumper bingewatch recommendations for the weekends. Get that Jiffy Pop on the hob & let’s do this!
Mon Oct 1st: Boy Meets World: “And Then There Was Shawn”
Boy Meets World’s slasher parody is (no exaggeration) one of the greatest gifts to television ever created. It’s stacked full of terrific horror trope references, lovable OTT acting, and even stars 90’s scream queen Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Tues Oct 2nd: Dawson’s Creek: “Escape From Witch Island”
Remember when Dawson’s Creek did a tribute to The Blair Witch Project? No?! Well, shame on you because it’s amazing. Dreadful, but amazing.
Weds Oct 3rd: Beverly Hills, 90210: “Halloween”
This is one of those very special episodes of the 90’s teen drama where it’s all fun and spooky times until someone almost gets raped. Kelly dresses up as a sexy witch and some trash Brock Turner type sees her outfit as an open invite for his dick. Luckily her pals save her because THAT’S HOW THEY ROLL IN THE 90210. There’s some great costumes & some super important lessons to learn here, folks!
Thurs Oct 4th: Riverdale: “Tales From the Darkside”
As well as being full of the threat of local serial killer The Black Hood, an intro straight out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and a guest appearance from horror legend Tony Todd this episode is a horror treat.
Fri Oct 5th: Pretty Little Liars: “This is a Dark Ride”
Back in the heyday of the teen horror mystery show, this Halloween special was proof of just how exciting, camp, horrifying, and witty Pretty Little Liars could be. The whole thing is set during a Halloween party on a train (because, of course it is) and features an inexplicable live performance from Adam Lambert.
Saturday Oct 6th: Scream: The TV Series (Season 1)
We can probably all agree that Scream: The TV Series should have never bore the name of the iconic meta slasher franchise and should have instead been developed as it’s own unique property. Get past all of that though and S1 of the show is actually an absolutely hoot.
The kills are often as ludicrous & gory as you could want and the writing hits enough witty, self-aware, and referential notes to please a cross-section of viewers who love teen dramas as much as slashers.
Sunday Oct 7th: Harper’s Island
This slasher mini-series is one of the most underrated horror shows of all time. It’s packed full of audacious kills and bogus twists and you’ll want to bingewatch it in one sitting - trust us.
Monday Oct 8th: Felicity: “Spooked”
Ya girl Keri Russell dresses up as the bride of Frankenstien - what more could you want?!
Tues Oct 9th: Parks and Recreation: “Meet ‘n’ Greet”
Relive the sacred, golden era of Chris Pratt’s party paunch (we miss it so) with one of the best Halloween episodes Parks and Recreation ever busted out. April Ludgate is our fucking hero.
Weds Oct 10th: Will & Grace: “Boo! Humbug”
As usual, the Jack and Karen subplot of this episode is the only one you really need to know about (who the fuck cares what Will & Grace were up to?). The besties party downtown & Karen’s getup has her mistaken for a well-dressed drag queen where she finds herself leading an entire squadron of drag superstars. It isn’t spooky but it does capture the wonder of what April Ludgate once called “gay Halloween”.
Thurs Oct 11th: My So Called Life: “Halloween”
You’re all big girls here, right? We don’t need to explain this one? Good. It’s amaze.
Fri Oct 12th: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Halloween”
A classic crazy curse strikes the long-suffering residents of Sunnydale when they take on the identities of their costumes. Buffy is a weak-ass damsel, Willow is an invisible ghost (and wearing the sexiest ensemble ever under her Boo sheet), and Xander is inexplicably more infuriating than ever as some kind of military dude with a gun. It’s a gem!
Sat Oct 13th: Slasher: Guilty Party
Season 2 of the Canadian slasher series is absolutely batshit insane in parts & delicously dark and comedic in others. Wanna see a snowman wear the steaming entrails of a murder victim like a scarf? Look no further than Guilty Party!
Sun Oct 14th: Castle Rock
We’re still completely blown away by this enigmatic horror series & eager to rewatch it ASAP. Halloween is the perfect excuse to do so, right?
Mon Oct 15th: Ghostwatch
This groundbreaking horror mockumentary about a young girl possessed by the spirit of an evil entity known as Mr Pipes was presented as a legit live broadcast in Britain in 1992. That might be why it caused such a ruckus during the fateful Halloween night that it premiered when many audience members thought all this scary shit was legit happening. Call the priest, Maureen! There’s demons in the televisual box!
Tues Oct 16th: Stranger Things: “Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak”
Those Ghostbusters costumes kill me. As does proud mom Joyce Byers taking every picture possible & the Hawkins nerds being the only ones turning up to school on Halloween in fancy dress. KILLS ME.
Weds Oct 17th: Freaks & Geeks: “Tricks And Treats”
From Halloween in the ‘80s to Halloween in the ‘70s. In our humble opinion, this is the best episode of the short lived show & it captures everything that fans continue to love about Freaks & Geeks. It’s hilarious, a little heartbreaking, and perfectly captures the pains of growing up while reflecting on the often awkward behaviours of childhood Halloween festivities.
Thurs Oct 18th: Hey Arnold: “Headless Cabbie / Friday the 13th”
A bonafide classic, ladies and gentlemen.
Fri Oct 19th: Goosebumps: “The Haunted Mask”
The perpetually terrified Carly Beth is one of the more obnoxious child leads of R. L. Stine’s entire series, but she’s also weirdly relatable for it. Take that to mean whatever you like. Twenty two years after it was first released and it remains one of the genuinely most creepy child horror productions ever made.
Sat Oct 20th: Scream Queens (Season 1)
It’s not that we hated season 2 of Scream Queens, but it sadly just didn’t compare to the non-stop genius of the first season. The performances from a cast including Emma Roberts, Jamie Leigh Curtis, and Niecy Nash are near-perfect, the horror references are spot-on, and the comedy is magnificently and blisteringly dark. Season 1 is a goddamn horror comedy masterpiece.
Sun Oct 21st: Crazyhead (Season 1)
It only lasted one season, but it was good’un. Crazyhead has commonly been compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer which is a fair assessment considering they share similar bouts of supernatural intrigue and an unabashed biting wit.
Mon Oct 22nd: iZombie: “Zombie Bro”
It’s a Halloween episode that never actually mentions the “H” word but we’re going to go ahead and count it as one anyway. Liv eats the brains of a beloved bro which in turn makes her a party prankster and total bro-hard. There’s some amazing costumes, including Liv’s tribute to Lady Gaga’s "police tape ensemble from “Telephone”.
Tues Oct 23rd: Dawson’s Creek: “The Scare”
Dawson’s Creek creator Kevin Williamson had just scored huge hits with Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer when this horror episode was released. It includes Jen Lindley playing out a Scream parody moment and Dawson thinking he’s a natural-born-Randy by relaying the rules of horror movies every chance he gets. We get it! You like movies!
Weds Oct 24th: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Fear Itself”
Worth it if just for the running joke of Anya’s fear of rabbits given further dimensions when she turns up to the Halloween party in the scariest costume she can imagine - a bunny.
Thurs Oct 25th: Sabrina the Teenage Witch: “Good Will Haunting”
Oh hey, Blumhouse? Yeah, we saw Annabelle. It sucked. This episode of Sabrina did the whole demon doll thing wayyyy better.
Fri Oct 26th: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Season 1)
From one Sabrina adaptation to another, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s highly anticipated TV adaptation of his sinister comic book reboot of the classic Archie comics character looks the shit. If it’s even half as dark, creepy, and gloriously satanic as this trailer makes it look then we won’t be disappointed.
Sat Oct 27th: Santa Clarita Diet (Season 1)
It’s a total gore party & it’s funny as fuck. Plus, Timothy Olyphant is ageing extremely well.
Sun Oct 28th: Santa Clarita Diet (Season 2)
Season 2 of the Netflix Originals sitcom was somehow even funnier, and more horrific, than the first. Between debates regarding the ethics of eating a Nazi sports team and Nathan Fillion’s disembodied talking head, this season knocked horror comedy right out of the park.
Mon Oct 29th: Are You Afraid of the Dark?: “The Tale of the Twisted Claw”
I mean, if you have the time then by all means treat yourself to a colossal bingewatch of all the best Are You Afraid of the Dark episodes ever made since they’e all up on YouTube to watch for free. But for Halloween, this special is by far the best and offers a fun twist on the classic horror story, “The Monkey’s Paw”.
Tues Oct 30th: Masters of Horror: “Cigarette Burns”
Unpopular opinion, but we aren’t the biggest fans of Norman Reedus here at Clarissa. But on the flipside, this episode of the underrated early ’00s horror anthology series is directed by horror master John Carpenter & features a movie with the ability to instil death and murder upon anyone who watches it.
Weds Oct 31st: Twin Peaks: The Return: “Part 8”
Make no mistake, this terrifying and unique episode might be the single greatest horror achievement showcased on television in recent years. Put it on in the background while you’re suiting up for the night to really set a fucked up tone. And remember, if anyone asks you for a light - run the fuck away as fast as you can.