Now that Halloween is finally here, here are a few seasonally appropriate episodes I’d recommend for this evening or the coming days (In no particular order, here we go).
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
In an entertaining plot twist, the gang including our eponymous heroine are cursed to become their costume characters on Halloween night. Like many of the apocalyptic issues Sunnydale faces, this makes for a fun but insightful inspection into the characters’ through their choice of disguise. As they forget their normal lives, a frustrated ghost Willow has to usher a damsel and a soldier to safety, with tiny demon-children roaming the streets and the real demons making the most of the vulnerable population.
Not set in Halloween but perhaps one of the most iconic episodes: everyone in Sunnydale wakes up without their voices, victims of a dangerous spell by invading demons called The Gentlemen. In the collision of their worlds, the gang and Riley’s military organisation simultaneously take on the task of defeating this evil. Having to resort to alternative communication helps resolve relationship issues that haven’t been talked through, (not unlike the infamous musical episode Once More With Feeling) and the hilarity of the miming shows the silly side of the show that kept me watching. The episode is worth it for this scene alone…
A Halloween party at Greendale turns into a fright-fest with the outbreak of a zombie virus. In the brilliant genre bending that defines this comedy (and to the tune of the Dean’s ABBA hits playlist, obviously), a fight to escape and save the college within a six-hour quarantine ensues.
Even though the stories of this show take place over Dipper and Mabel’s summer staying with their crazy Grunkle Stan, that didn’t stop them incorporating a Halloween homologue into their show. Dipper is torn between trick-or-treating and a cool party, but a huge, scarecrow-like trickster forces his hand, kidnapping a kid with a ransom of 500 sweets.
Though a season premiere that might spoil the season 1 finale, this may be one of my favourite spooky episodes (there are many, this cartoon is gold). Dipper inadvertently causes a zombie apocalypse at his and Mabel’s birthday party, finally getting the attention of a government agency – one of the agents is voiced by Parks and Recreation legend Nick Offerman.
Halloween II (2×04)
Halloween III (3×05)
Halloween IV (4×05)
If you mind spoilers, you may not want to watch these in isolation but as an introduction to the show and the highlight of every season, these heist episodes are legendary. The iconic ensemble take sides as Holt and Jake battle for the title of Amazing Detective / Genius. It becomes an annual tradition of wits and trickery on the busiest night of the year and it brings out the ingenuity of the characters in the funniest way.
…and the Zombie Island (1998)
…and the Witches Ghost (1999)
These are a few of the pre-2003 TV movies that will take you right back to your childhood in the best way. With the laughable heteronormativity and fiendish villains, as ever, we revisit the perennial questions about these meddling kids: Will Shaggy and Scooby stop being hungry? Will Velma ever get a chain for her glasses? Is the monster… real? Upon our illustrious Millicent’s request: the latter features the introduction of the Hex Girls and bonus, a character voiced by the ever so spooky, Rocky Horror icon Tim Curry.
Honourable Mention: Over The Garden Wall (2014)
A gorgeous animated mini-series with just ten episodes of ten minutes each; the perfect autumnal escapism. Brothers Wirt (Elijah Wood) and the lovable Greg (Collin Dean) find themselves within a mysterious forest world and go on a convoluted journey to get back home.
Funny and intriguing, that concludes my spooky yet wholesome repertoire of television. If you have any similar recommendations or disputes about anything on this list, I can be found on my Twitter account… Happy Halloween!
by Fatima Sheriff
Fatima is a third year biomed at the University of Sheffield. For insight into her personality, her favourite films are: Bright Star, Paddington 2, Taare Zameen Par and Pride & Prejudice and in 2017 she listened mostly to the Hidden Figures soundtrack. Mainly she is an avid TV watcher, particularly shows with original concepts, witty writing and diverse casting. Examples include Legion, Gravity Falls, The Hour, Gilmore Girls, Sense8... and for more, her Twitter and TVShowTime are both @lafatimayette.