30 October 2013

Four Favorite Halloween Specials

I don't go to Halloween parties and stopped trick-or-treating a decade ago, but Halloween remains one of my favorite holidays. I love Halloween's atmosphere of magic and mystery, and one of the ways that I keep this excitement alive is by watching Halloween movies and television specials. Watching old childhood favorites brings up memories of Halloweens past, while adding new viewing into the rotation keeps the tradition fresh.

Since Halloween is tomorrow, I thought I'd share my four favorite Halloween specials. I'm not a fan of anything too scary or gory, and I thought that this list might help others who are like-minded to find something suitable to watch on Halloween night!

Favorite Halloween Children's Special: Boo to You Too, Winnie the Pooh

VHS cover art for Boo to You Too, Winnie the Pooh

Yes, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a classic, and I've watched it every Halloween for as long as I can remember. But even though I love The Great Pumpkin, I think that this newer special featuring Winnie the Pooh and pals holds first place in my heart. I'm a major fan of the original Pooh books, and this special surprisingly captures a lot of the witty, verbal humor that Milne employed in his writing. For example, when Pooh devises a plan to dress up as spookables to avoid being accosted by said supernatural beings on Halloween, he explains, "Then they shall think we are them, and we shall think they are us!" The special also has two excellent musical numbers and a heartwarming ending.

Favorite Halloween Television Episode: "Epidemiology," Season 2, Episode 6 of Community

Still from Community, Season 2, Episode 6: "Epidemiology"

Anyone who followed this blog January through May of this year knows that Community is one of my favorite T.V. shows. They've done a Halloween-themed episode every season through season four, but season two's zombie apocalypse homage is by far the best. It's got hilarious lines, an epic ABBA soundtrack, and is mild enough that I don't mind the zombie theme even though I get too grossed/creeped out to watch anything else in the zombie genre.

Favorite Spooky Television Episode: "Blink," Series 3, Episode 10 of Doctor Who

Still from Doctor Who, Series 3, Episode 10: "Blink"

This isn't a Halloween episode, but it's definitely spooky enough to make my Halloween viewing list. Series Three was my least favorite of the Tenth Doctor's era of Doctor Who, but "Blink" is a standout episode of the show. It's a "Doctor-light" episode since the Tenth Doctor and his companion Martha feature very sparsely, but the plot featuring a character called Sally Sparrow, a creepy old house, and angel statues that send you back in time is more than good enough to make up for this.

Favorite Spooky Movie: The Canterville Ghost (1996)

Still from The Canterville Ghost

I love Oscar Wilde's story "The Canterville Ghost," and this is my favorite of its many movie and television adaptations. The filmmakers set the story in the present rather than the time during which the story was written, but overall it's a very faithful retelling. I could have done without the angst-ridden relationship between teenaged Virginia and her father, but it's a small element of an otherwise excellent production.

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