Halloween TV Preview 2021: ‘Chucky,’ ‘Ghosts,’ ‘The Simpsons’ & More

Chucky, Ghosts, The Simpsons, Halloween 2021
Steve Wilkie/USA Network; Bertrand Calmeau/CBS; Fox

Spooky episodes of your favorite series, hair-raising classics, and shock-filled marathons bewitch television during the horror holiday’s frightful season.

Below, get a rundown of TV’s upcoming Halloween-themed episodes and specials.

Bertrand Calmeau/CBS


Every week feels like Halloween on the comedy where couple Samantha and Jay (Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar) must contend with the eccentric spirits inhabiting their home, Woodstone. But the wacky ghosts — from eras spanning Viking times to the 1990s — aren’t fans of the actual holiday, thanks to a group of teenage vandals who visit yearly. With Sam and Jay (dressed as the comedic duo from 2008’s Step Brothers) there to defend Woodstone, the spooks seek justice. “Sam and Jay — acting on advice from the ghosts — antagonize the delinquents,” teases exec producer Joe Port. “[It results] in a greater act of vandalism than has ever occurred on Halloween at Woodstone.” —Linda Maleh

Thursday, October 28, 9/8c, CBS

Ordinary Joe Season 1 James Wolk
Fernando Decillis/NBC

Ordinary Joe

The NBC drama, which explores a trio of different life paths for good-hearted Joe Kimbreau (James Wolk), is using the ghoulish day as the unifying event for each storyline. “This episode felt like a special opportunity to examine the masks we all wear in our daily life,” says writer Abdi Nazemian, who adds that some “deeply emotional scenes” will play out. One of those could involve the longing-musician version of Joe, who dons a cowboy costume to secretly attend a school’s Halloween carnival in hopes of seeing the 9-year-old son (John Gluck) he just learned he has. —Jim Halterman

Monday, October 18, 10/9c, NBC

The Neighborhood - Beth Behrs
Monty Brinton/CBS

The Neighborhood

The hocus-pocus holiday is repair shop owner Calvin Butler’s (Cedric the Entertainer) favorite. “[Calvin], the king of Halloween, gets no greater joy than scaring adults and children,” exec producer Meg DeLoatch says. But, she notes, straitlaced neighbor Dave Johnson (Max Greenfield) “didn’t grow up celebrating Halloween and finds the day dark and unpleasant.” Can they meet halfway on the hood’s horrors? Meanwhile, wives Tina Butler (Tichina Arnold) and Gemma Johnson (Beth Behrs) ask themselves: Are they too old for sexy costumes? Surely there’s something boo-tiful out there for them. —Jim Halterman

Monday, November 1, 8/7c, CBS

ABC/Raymond Liu

The Rookie

The walking dead have the LAPD running ragged on the cop drama when “a designer drug hits Los Angeles, turning users into ‘zombies,’” previews creator Alexi Hawley. Thankfully, the heroic Nolan (Nathan Fillion) has an inside man with info on the mind-altering party favor — his very shady half-brother Pete (Fillion’s Suicide Squad costar Pete Davidson). Hawley also reveals that Chen (Melissa O’Neil) will have her hands full with a domestic issue when a ghost-hunting team “causes her to investigate whether her building is haunted.” La Fiera, is that you?! —Damian Holbrook

Sunday, October 31, 10/9c, ABC

Home Economics cast
ABC/Peggy Sirota

Home Economics

Agreeing on a group costume (Marvel heroes!) is the least of the terrors facing the ABC comedy’s financially disparate Hayworth siblings, who reach an impasse over where to trick-or-treat. Wealthy Connor (Jimmy Tatro) wants to canvass his king-size-candy-bar-filled neighborhood, but for underemployed sister Sarah (Caitlin McGee), it’s all about quantity over quality. “In her apartment building, they can knock on 10 doors in the time it takes Connor to walk to one house,” explains executive producer Michael Colton. Yeah, but some of them could give out apples, so we’re going with Connor on this one. —Damian Holbrook

Wednesday, October 27, 9:30/8:30c, ABC

Steve Wilkie/SYFY


Children shouldn’t play with dead things — or possessed ones! In this wickedly fun eight-episode extension to the Child’s Play horror film franchise, bullied gay teen Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur) forges the scariest bond ever with a vintage Good Guy Doll he buys at a yard sale. Unaware that the toy carries the evil spirit of deceased serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), Jake soon realizes Chucky has big plans for those making life hell for him, his homophobic father (Devon Sawa), and several classmates.

“It’s super thrilling to have that much time to delve into characters and relationships,” says executive producer Don Mancini of the slasher-meets-soap tale, which he compares to HBO’s dramatic Big Little Lies. We’ll even get the origins of Ray. The series also features Child’s Play staples like Jennifer Tilly and Alex Vincent reprising their classic roles. Fitting, since Chucky is always threatening to be “friends till the end.” —Damian Holbrook

Series Premiere, Tuesday, October 12, 10/9c, Syfy/USA

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror

AAAAAH, Animation!

The Simpsons, Sunday, Oct. 10, 8/7c, Fox, The 32nd annual “Treehouse of Horror” spoofs Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite.

The Great North, Sunday, Oct. 10, 8:30/7:30c, Fox, Teen Judy (Jenny Slate) and her siblings brave Alaska’s darkest and spookiest day.

Bob’s Burgers, Sunday, Oct. 10, 9/8c, Fox, A mysterious Halloween note sends sisters Linda (John Roberts) and Gayle (Megan Mullally) to their hometown to face an old wrong.

Family Guy, Sunday, Oct. 10, 9:30/8:30c, Fox, Baby Stewie (Seth MacFarlane) pursues a candy thief.