‘Ghosts’ Does Halloween! Behind the Scenes of the Chaotic & Hilarious Special

Is there any show with more right to a high-flying Halloween episode than Ghosts? The CBS comedy smash — a Groundhog Day of the Dead, in a sense — entered Season 2 with eager new B&B owners Samantha (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) looking for business while still sharing their haunted mansion with spirits who died on their historic Hudson Valley property…and remain stuck there.

Like the best treats, storylines are both delectably sweet — like narcissistic Revolutionary War soldier Isaac’s (Brandon Scott Jones) budding romance with his Redcoat crush — and deliciously salty: the ongoing empowerment and sexual awakening of Sam’s stifled Gilded Age ancestor Hetty (Rebecca Wisocky). And there’s the other comic conceit: Only Sam has the “sixth sense” ability to communicate with dead people, after a near-fatal tumble down the stairs in the series’ debut. But each episode reveals more of a spirit’s history, which invariably complicates the lives of both Sam and Jay, who are equally invested in the stories.

“They have this house full of ghosts they’re trying to entertain, take care of and supervise,” says McIver. “They face these challenges together, as a team.”

They’ll need all hands on deck to make it through this Halloween. In Season 2 — which recently premiered to 6.5 million viewers, up 17 percent from the October 2021 pilot — executive producers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman wanted to celebrate the holiday with a big, fun supernatural event that even Viking Thorfinn (Devan Chandler Long) hasn’t witnessed in his 1,000 years: a successful séance.

Hetty suggests the occult party trick, but the request comes back to haunt her when the séance summons her nemesis, Molly the maid, the drop-dead gorgeous Irish mistress of her late husband, Elias (Matt Walsh). Viewers may recall the robber baron asked Molly’s whereabouts when he emerged from the mansion’s ghost-tight vault in Season 1 — before descending to hell, where he belonged. “We like to follow up on little kernels we’ve set up in previous episodes,” says Port, reminding us that Thor and Native Sasappis (Román Zaragoza) had told horndog ’90s finance bro Trevor (Asher Grodman) how attractive Molly was.

While Trevor tries to convince Molly to stay, Sam and the other female ghosts — free-spirited hippie Flower (Sheila Carrasco) and boisterous Prohibition-era jazz singer Alberta (Danielle Pinnock) — urge Hetty to use the reunion to get some closure on her husband’s affair. Their plea allows Sam to preach on the late-19th-century power dynamics that pitted women against one another. “We’ve got four women from very different parts of history, all with a perspective that everyone else learns and grows from,” says McIver.

Ghosts Season 2 Episode 4 'Halloween 2: The Ghost of Hetty's Past'

Bertrand Calmeau/CBS

But Hetty isn’t in a forgiving mood. “All of her worst fears and nightmares are manifesting into chaos and hilarity. She gets to confront some of these fears,” Wisocky says, then adds with a chuckle: “In true Hetty fashion, she only half gets the lesson.” Still, no worries; Hetty has the last laugh, in a scene containing a line that may make you do a spit take. “It’s always enjoyable to watch the stick-in-the-mud character say the most raunchy things because she’s not aware of the double entendre,” the actress hints.

Ghosts, Thursdays, 8:30/7:30c, CBS

This is an abbreviated version of TV Guide Magazine’s Ghosts cover story. For more on the Halloween episode and more, pick up the issue, on newsstands Thursday, October 20.