The Halloween TV Specials Of Yesteryear

A collection of frightful TV Guide ads for spooky specials, creepy cartoons and monstrous movie all-niters.

The Halloween special – be it a night of horror movies, a one-off kid’s show or simply a themed episode of an ongoing series – has long been a staple of American television. Some of these shows, like the Charlie Brown Halloween special, have become beloved holiday favourites, dug out year after year; others, like the SimpsonsTreehouse of Horror specials, are now as much a part of the season as pumpkins and trick or treaters.

It’s a very American tradition – while Halloween has spread around the world to larger or smaller extents, broadcasters often seem reluctant to acknowledge it – in the UK, the best we can hope for will be a horror film on TV (usually, with a staggering lack of imagination, one of the Halloween franchise). So it seems fitting that we should be bringing you a collection of ads from that most American of traditions, the TV Guide. These ads show the highs and lows of the Halloween special – from the imaginative to the disposable cash-in – and seem now, in a world where linear broadcasts are increasingly dying out, to be an eye into a past long gone.

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