Kids' TV Offers Something to Scare About

Kids’ television networks are going into full fright mode to serve up tricks and treats for its audience this Halloween, and that’s pretty cool. Nickelodeon has Shocktober and “Shriek Week”, ABC Family has 13 Nights of Halloween and The Disney Channel has… Wiz-Tober (Umm, did the Disney creative pun staff get laid off?) I know the Christmas season is also a big deal in kids entertainment-land, but I think Halloween is the most inspiring holiday for creating cool, compelling kids content.

Deserving special recognition is The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror,” which has become an institution of ingenuity after 19 consecutive annual broadcasts. This year's show on October 18 will mark the franchise’s 20th anniversary. “Treehouse XX” has Lisa plotting revenge on a teacher in an homage to Hitchcock; Homer turning into a half man, half beer-brewing apparatus; and Krusty the Clown serving hamburgers made from “mad cows,” turning citizens once again into zombies. What else is new in Springfield?

One key to the success of "Treehouse," according to the show’s writers and producers, is a focus on scary, not just funny—which is something I personally hope to see in every kids show. What I like most about kids’ Halloween programming is how the theme fluidly flows from shows to interstitials to commercials to movies to online. It’s an all-purpose holiday, and for Halloween lovers like me, the most magical time of the year. (No offense, Christmas.)

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