I’m a nostalgic son of a gun. I’m sure you’ll notice that on a lot of my forthcoming blogs. So be that as it may, I’ve decided to combine my love of nostalgia with my love of October to bring you this list of my favorite Halloween specials from my youth. Basically, I considered anything that I might have seen before entering high school. Which therefore brings me first to my honorable mentions:
Donnie Darko – This used to be one of my favorite movies, but it’s a completely different experience watching it now that nearly the whole cast has moved on to bigger and better things. Despite it’s influence on my creativity and all around awesomeness, I first saw this during my sophomore year of high school. Too late to be added to the list.
Dead Like Me: “Haunted” – For the record, this is an awesome show. If you’ve never seen it, check it out. It’s about reapers who live on earth like regular folk, and this particular episode takes place on Halloween; the one day when reapers are seen in their true form. The main character is seen by her younger sister and…the show was cancelled. SOBs.
Trick ‘r Treat – I actually just saw this last weekend. It’s a horror anthology film that’s been trying it’s damndest to come out for years now. It’s finally available on DVD as of today, so you should at least rent it.
Goosebumps/Are You Afraid of the Dark? – I thought about including these, but I didn’t want to add full series to my list. Instead I wanted to focus more on individual things. Nevertheless, these were still awesome shows that I’d be happy to discuss with you at any given moment.
#8: UNDER WRAPS
One of the earliest Disney Channel Movies. I remember seeing commercials for this movie and saying how stupid it looked. One weekend afternoon I happened to catch about half of the movie and was hooked. Disney Channel didn’t have as much of a library to show back then, so this was pretty much played all October long. I never sat and watched it in its entirety, but I’ve seen bits and pieces of the movie dozens of times. I remember the scene where the three kids were riding their bikes and the girl told the dorky kid that she slept in the nude. The dorky kid wrecked his bike. That totally would have been me in middle school. They don’t incorporate that kind of humor into the Disney Channel these days.
#7: MOM’S GOT A DATE WITH A VAMPIRE
I don’t have anything witty to say about this one; I just liked watching it. I remember seeing it for the first time at my grandma’s house on a Saturday afternoon, and thus that is what I think of everytime this movie crosses my mind. Oh, and kudos to whoever designed that poster. I’ve never seen a movie poster that manages to make every single cast member look ridiculous.
#6: PHANTOM OF THE MEGAPLEX
Clearly there’s a theme brewing, but I promise it stops here. This is the third Disney Channel Movie in a row to make the list. Maybe that’s because I didn’t get out much in my younger years. Regardless, this was a movie about people who loved movies so I loved it from the get go. It made me want to work in a movie theater (I actually applied to two of them before getting my current job at Blockbuster, BTW). Though I always thought the outcome was kind of lame, I remember being really into the mystery the first time I watched this. It also didn’t hurt that 7th-grade-Michael found this movie to have a lot of attractive young ladies. All of these are reasons why this ultimately became my favorite Disney Channel Movie of all time.
#5: SCOOBY DOO STRAIGHT-TO-VIDEO MOVIES
Now these got a lot of watching when I was a kid. I remember borrowing Zombie Island from my cousins and watching it like five times within a two-day span. That one’s the best of all, followed closely by Boo Brothers and Witch’s Ghost.
I don’t care what you think, this movie’s badass. Unlike its sequels, this one still holds up well over time. I know because I still watch it around this time of year. I went many years without even thinking about it and then stumbled upon it a couple years back when it was airing on ABC Family. I got sucked into it and was taken aback how sad some scenes were: Casper re-telling the story of his death while he remembers it for the first time; Casper finally getting a chance to come back to life and hook up with Christina Ricci, only to give away the potion-thing to her father who they just learned had died. Odd that those struck me as sad in my late teens, but didn’t bother me as a kid. If I were the type to cry during movies, this one might get me. Alas, I’m dead inside.
#3: BOY MEETS WORLD: “AND THEN THERE WAS SHAWN”
This one is technically a bit of a stretch. Being the BMW dork that I am, I know that this episode wasn’t originally aired as a Halloween special. In fact, it originally aired during February. However, every year after that for as long as the show was on (including years of re-runs) it was re-run as a Halloween episode. In my opinion, it’s the best and most quotable episode of Boy Meets World of all time. *NOTE* I didn’t remember until after already preparing all of this, but I feel the need to mention now that the episode where Cory thought he was becoming a werewolf (it was actually puberty), which was actually a Halloween episode, was also pretty badass.
#2: HOCUS POCUS
Hands down my favorite Halloween-time movie. Like the Grinch at Christmas time, I always looked forward to catching this on TV. It took me until a couple weeks ago to actually own this on DVD. Haven’t watched that yet though.
#1: THE SIMPSONS: TREEHOUSE OF HORROR EPISODES
Notice I called Hocus Pocus my favorite Halloween-time movie. I used to consider it my favorite thing to watch at Halloween, but while I was making this list I realized that it wasn’t exactly true. I come from a Simpsons lovin’ family, and quite frankly I can’t imagine what my childhood would have been like if I hadn’t seen these episodes a million times each. The last few years’ haven’t been too memorable, but the earlier years were all classics that were consistantly hilarious, memorable, and all around awesome.