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Film/Television Editor, Copy Editor Devin D. O'Leary served as film/television editor at Weekly Alibi for 28 years. He wrote and produced four feature films here in New Mexico and has been the booker/host of Midnight Movie Madness screenings at Guild Cinema for 13 years.

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Halloween Around the Dial

Trick or treating is more or less cancelled across the nation, and Halloween parties are basically off the table—all thanks to the great bugaboo of 2020, the Coronavirus. So now, more than ever, we turn to television to entertain us in appropriate style. Come Halloween night you can buy that bag of fun-size Kit-Kats at Walmart with full knowledge that you won’t be sharing it with any random kids in homemade ghost costumes. And you can fire up the old Idiot Box and shelter in place, sure in the fact that no one will be interrupting your seasonal scares with juvenile shouts of “Trick or Treat!” … So what does TV have to offer us this Oct. 31? Let’s root through the candy bag and see what’s in store. 

What would Halloween be without a viewing of the seminal animated special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”? The answer is, of course, it would be the year 2020. For the first time in its 53-year history, the beloved “Peanuts” special will not be broadcast on network television. Turns out Apple snatched up rights to all the “Peanuts” cartoons and is hoarding them over on Apple TV+. Allegedly, however, if you really want to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” Apple is allowing people to log on and stream it for free. 

If you’re in the mood to marathon some classic chillers, Turner Classic Movies is there for you. TCM starts Halloween dark and early with Todd Browning’s 1932 cult film Freaks (TCM 4am). That’s followed by 1932’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (TCM 5:15pm), 1953’s House of Wax (TCM 7am), 1964’s Children of the Damned (TCM 8:45am), 1956’s The Bad Seed (TCM 10:30am), 1945’s The Picture of Dorian Grey (TCM 12:45pm), 1941’s The Wolf Man (TCM 2:45pm), 1963’s The Haunting (TCM 4pm), 1964’s Dr. Strangelove (TCM 6pm), 1954’s Them! (TCM 8pm), 1943’s The Seventh Victim (TCM 10pm), 1943’s I Walked With a Zombie (TCM 11:45pm) and 1945’s The Body Snatcher (TCM 1:30am). That’s a full day of evil kids, mad scientists, werewolves, ghosts, giant ants, zombies and more.

If you don’t have time for all that and want to combine your monsters, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup-style, horror host Svengoolie tackles 1943’s Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (KTEL-3 7pm). Other horror movie selections scattered throughout the day include giant shark pic The Meg (TNT 6pm), musical cult fave The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Paramount 7:15pm) and slasher classic Halloween (AMC 9pm). Freeform offers up some family fun with a string of horror comedies: The Addams Family (Freeform 3:10pm), Addams Family Values (Freeform 5:15pm), Hocus Pocus (Freeform 7:20pm) and Ghostbusters (Freeform 8:30pm) El Rey Network comes off the top rope with a retro-cool marathon of Mexican wrestlers vs. monsters flicks: 1969’s Santo and Dracula’s Treasure (El Rey 10am), 1974’s Santo and the Revenge of La Llorona (El Rey noon), 1974’s Santo & Blue Demon vs. Dr. Frankenstein (El Rey 2pm), 1971’s Santo in the Vengeance of the Mummy (El Rey 4pm) and 1973’s luchador tour de force, Santo & Blue Demon vs. Dracula & the Wolfman (El Rey 6pm). 

If you’re looking for real-life scares as opposed to scripted one, the “Ghost Nation” team (Jason, Steve and Dave) hook up with fellow ghost hunters Amy Bruni and Adam Berry from “Kindred Spirits” for “Ghost Nation: Reunion in Hell” (Travel 6pm). Together, the two teams promise to unpack the 100-year history of Seaview Terrace, the Rhode Island mansion that was featured on the vampire soap opera “Dark Shadows.” Hey, what’s Halloween without some flashlight-wielding ghost hunter jumping at shadows and whisper-screaming, “What the hell was that?”

And if none of that is doing the trick for you, delivering the proper level of seasonal scares, you can always wait until Tuesday night and watch the presidential election returns come in live.

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