Halloween is a kid’s dream come true. For one day, the otherwise powerless youth run the streets, dressing as whatever they want to be, free to indulge in a buffet of candy. Year after year, adults continue to reclaim the holiday in an effort to justify unbridled debauchery and the wearing and/or ogling of slutified costumes. Love it or hate it, regardless of age, Halloween is a fixture in American culture. Whether you’re avoiding the holiday bar scene or just want to get in the Halloween spirit, this week’s TV picks celebrate (and poke fun at) Oct. 31 and all the laughs and frights that come with the season.
For an ongoing scare-athon this week, tune into AMC’s Fear Fest (horror classics from Halloween to Friday the 13th daily); Syfy’s 31 Days of Halloween (daily campy Syfy originals and scary movie staples); and ABC Family’s 13 Nights of Halloween (family-friendly favorites like Hocus Pocus and The Addams Family all week).
WEDNESDAY OCT. 24
Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – Claire struggles to tone down her annual Halloween celebration to keep it appropriate for neighborhood children while Gloria’s hormones make her more frightening than usual.
American Horror Story: Asylum (10 p.m., FX) – A modern-thinking psychiatrist joins the Briarcliff staff and is disturbed by the conditions, especially when an exorcist comes to help a troubled young man.
My Life is a Lifetime Movie (10 p.m., Lifetime) -– The horror!
South Park (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – The kids dress up as the Avengers for Halloween but Stan phones it in — by trick-or-treating via FaceTime.
Couples Therapy (10 p.m., VH1) – Great source of inspiration for those still trying to find that perfect his-n-hers costume.
The Office (9 p.m., NBC) – Andy must face a longtime frienemy (played by Stephen Colbert) after he invites his Cornell a cappella group Here Comes Treble to perform at the office Halloween party.
Project Runway All Stars (Season Premiere, 9 p.m., Lifetime) – A new crop of PR alumni compete for a second shot on the runway. Watch for tips on constructing your own DIY costume.
Sweet Genius (10 p.m., Food Network) --– Hosted by the quirky and fabulous Ron Ben-Israel, this week’s sugary showdown focuses on Halloween themes and spooky ingredients that must be incorporated into chocolate-, candy- and cake-based desserts.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (10 p.m., FX) – Dennis and the gang crash his ex Maureen “Dead Tooth” Ponderosa’s wedding to find she’s marrying into the milk-loving, unibrow-sporting McPoyle family. Guillermo Del Toro makes an appearance.
FRIDAY OCT. 26
Mockingbird Lane (Premiere, 8 p.m., NBC) – The Munsters gets a modern update in this Halloween special with Jerry O’Connell portraying the patriarchal Herman, Portia de Rossi as Lily and Eddie Izzard playing Grandpa.
Fashion Police (10 p.m., E!) – No masks, makeup or costumes compete with the everyday scary plastic faces of host Joan Rivers and guest Kris Jenner, but they’ll dress up anyway.
SUNDAY OCT. 28
Halloween Wars (Season Finale, 9 p.m., Food Network) –Apparently this series has been documenting a competition between teams of three (a candy maker, pumpkin carver and cake designer) creating elaborate Halloween scenes. This week the final two teams concoct the makings for a zombie wedding.
The Walking Dead (9 p.m., AMC) – Michonne and Andrea are captured and brought to a walker-free zone, which means we finally get to see Woodbury, meet the Governor and catch up with Merle, the OG Walking Dead amputee.
Dexter (9 p.m., Showtime) – What’s All Hallows’ Eve without a little blood spatter? Dexter discovers there was a murder on his boat, Isaak is after him and Wayne Randall’s accomplice Hannah isn’t sharing all she knows.
TUESDAY OCT. 30
19 Kids and Counting (9 p.m., TLC) – Because is there anything more terrifying than the Duggars?
Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 (9:30 p.m., ABC) – Chloe tries to pull some Halloween pranks while JVDB throws a “positivity party” to help assuage his fear of the holiday.
Taboo (10 p.m., National Geographic) – Take a creepy look into unusual death and burial rituals, including strippers at a cemetery.
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jackern on Twitter