5 DIY TV Marathons for Halloween

Halloween TV Marathons

No Halloween plans tonight besides staying home and handing out candy? No worries, you can get a few frights from the comfort of your couch as long as you have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon streaming or perhaps your own TV on DVD collection. Below, I’ve listed 10 of the most reliably scary (or at least festive) shows and the best episodes to watch for a night of Halloween couch time.

(Mixing and matching shows is encouraged.)

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone remains the best anthology horror series television has ever produced. Rod Serling’s tales are guaranteed to give you chills no matter how many times you’ve seen them. Episodes to watch:

Season 3, Episode 8, “It’s a Good Life”- Beware of six-year-olds and cornfields, in what is in my humble opinion, the scariest episode of The Twilight Zone ever.

Season 5, Episode 3, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”- Poor William Shatner spots a gremlin on the wing of his plane and no one will believe him.

Season 1, Episode 16, “The Hitch-Hiker”- The tale is a classic one, a woman keeps passing the same hitchhiker during her roadtrip, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.

Season 3, Episode 24, “To Serve Man”- Benevolent aliens, right?

Season 2, Episode 7, “Nick of Time”- The first and lesser known episode of The Twilight Zone starring Shatner. It’s arguably scarier than “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” especially if you happen to suffer from OCD.

The X-Files

The X-Files

Ah, The X-Files. A show that I find it impossible to get tired of. For the purposes of Halloween, we’ll skip the heady mythology episodes for the straight up monster of the week fright-fests. Episodes to watch:

Season 1, Episodes 3 & 21, “Squeeze”/”Tooms”- So there’s this guy who can squeeze his way through impossibly small places and wants to steal your liver. And he came back twice. Happy Halloween!

Season 1, Episode 8, “Ice”- Mulder and Scully end up isolated with a group of scientists in an Alaskan research facility. It’s Alien meets The Thing, with early Mulder and Scully bonding.

Season 4, Episode 2, “Home”- An episode so disturbing Fox only aired it once.

Season 5, Episode 5, “The Post-Modern Prometheus”- It’s funny, it’s creepy, John Larroquette is there and it’s in black and white– what else do you need?

Season 5 Episode 4, “Detour”- Mulder and Scully get lost in the woods…but they’re not alone.

Season 5, Episode 10, “Chinga”- An evil doll is at the center of the episode written by horror god Stephen King.

The Whedonverse

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Excluding S.H.I.E.L.D. which hasn’t produced any frightening episodes yet, we have four shows that make up The Whedonverse (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse) and they each have at least one nightmare-worthy episode. Episodes to watch:

BTVS, Season 1, Episode 10, “Nightmares”- Anything with clowns automatically deserves a spot on the list.

BTVS, Season 2, Episode 6, “Halloween”- The Scooby Gang turn into their costumes. Hilarity ensues.

BTVS, Season 4, Episode 4, “Fear Itself”- Another Halloween outing that finds everyone’s fears coming to life when they enter a fraternity’s haunted house party.

BTVS, Season 4, Episode 10, “Hush”- The Gentlemen. Enough said.

Angel, Season 1, Episode 14, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”- Exorcisms are never not creepy.

Angel, Season 5, Episode 4, “Hellbound”- This episode holds the distinction of being the only Angel episode to carry a graphic violence warning before it aired. That’s because it is not intended for those who scare easily.

Firefly, Season 1, Episode 3, “Bushwacked”- The Reavers are properly introduced.

Dollhouse, Season 2, Episode 10, “The Attic”- We find out exactly where the faulty dolls go…


Like The X-Files before it, Supernatural knows how to pull-off superb monster of the week episodes. Episodes to watch:

Season 1, Episode 5, “Bloody Mary”- The myth is nerve-wracking enough, seeing it actually come to life was way worse.

Season 1, Episode 17, “Hell House”/Season Season 3, Episode 13 “Ghostfacers”- The Ghostfacers two big episodes also happen to be a fun parody of the current ghost chasing obsession that keeps The Travel Channel in business.

Season 2, Episode 9, “Croatoan”- An intense outing that finds the boys trapped in a town where there’s no way to know who can they trust.

Season 3, Episode 11, “Mystery Spot”- A terrific use of the Groundhog Day trope. Combine it with The X-Files‘ episode “Monday” and Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s “Life Serial” for a time loop trifecta.

Season 4, Episode 5, “Monster Movie”- Black and white episode written by Ben Edlund, so you know it’s perfect.

Season 5, Episode 4, “The End”- A dark alternate universe. (Pairs nicely with “Croatoan.”)


PSYCH Dual Spires (11)

The pop culture saturated Psych isn’t the most terrifying show on TV, but it has paid homage to all manner of horror tropes in a series of episodes that work perfectly for Halloween. Episodes to watch:

Season 1, Episode 15 “Scary Sherry: Bianca’s Toast”- Juliet goes undercover at a sorority house that Gus and Shawn are 99.9% sure is haunted.

Season 2, Episode 16, “Shawn (and Gus) of the Dead”- Shawn and Gus spend the night in a museum where a mummy has gone missing.

Season 3, Episode 15, “Tuesday the 17th”– A spot-on homage to the Friday the 13th series that will give you actual chills.

Season 5, Episode 3, “Not Even Close Encounters”- Aliens! (Well, at least that’s what Shawn and Gus are hoping for.)

Season 5, Episode 12, “Dual Spires”- The series’ love letter to Twin Peaks.

Season 6, Episode 11, “Heeeeere’s Lassie”- I’m pretty sure you can guess what this episode is nodding to.


That’s just a smattering of shows that are perfect for a Halloween marathon. Roseanne, The Simpsons, The Outer Limits, The Walking Dead, Lost, Doctor Who (“Blink” and “Midnight”)– the list goes on and on. If you’re planning on hunkering down with some TV scares tonight, share what you’ll be watching in the comments or on Twitter.

Follow me on Twitter @sljbowman