October brings on all the chills, sweater weather, and gorgeous fall leaves. But more importantly, it’s only a few more weeks until Halloween.
Spooky season is upon us, TV Fanatics.
Halloween is my favorite time of the year! Between the fun-size candy and endless horror movies, there’s a lot of ghoulish treats topping the list.
Horror and spooky-themed TV shows, especially, make this month extra special.
Masked killers, witchy teens, paranormal ghosts from beyond the grave — there’s a bevy of eerie TV shows to fill your Halloween hunger.
There are too many to choose from and a lot of options depending on what kind of horror sub-genre you’re into it. Not sure where to start? We’ve got some tales for you.
Below, we’ve picked out a handful of fun, freaky and spine-tingling shows to get you into the Halloween spirit and kickstart your spooky season.
Author’s Note: Only TV shows will be included below. TV Movies and movies on streaming sites won’t be mentioned, so you won’t see Netflix’s Fear Street trilogy or Amazon Prime’s Welcome To The Blumhouse on this list.
Check out the list below!
Slasher (Shudder, Netflix, Chiller, and Super Channel)
The name speaks for itself. Slasher is the perfect nod to the slasher genre of horror films.
This anthology series focuses on a new serial killer each season and a new set of hopeless victims trying to survive until the end.
Slasher is well-written and doesn’t shy away from the gore. From the brainless jock to the resourceful Final Girl, each character feels like they’re trying to avoid a bloody death at the hands of their killer.
Plus, every season highlights a new tone, and it’s easy to jump into. Maybe give the recent season of Slasher Season 4 (titled “Slasher: Flesh & Blood”) a shot?
American Horror Story (FX)
American Horror Story is another anthology series that will set your spooky season on fire.
American Horror Story helped to pioneer the format, and now halfway through American Horror Story Season 10, there’s a lot of frights for you to catch up on. And just like any horror genre, you can pick the season that’s right for you.
Haunted houses, bloody curses, dark asylums, and aliens are a few of the tropes awaiting each story.
The series is a tad inconsistent with delivering pure horror in the later seasons, but when it hits its stride, the eerie chills make it a fun time. Plus, with ten seasons and a spinoff, it’s an excellent option for a binge-worthy fix.
Midnight Mass (Netflix)
Midnight Mass is the latest anthology series from the mind of Mike Flanagan.
The series takes place on a small island and focuses on a tight-knit community dealing with religious fanaticism and the supernatural. Chaos eventually threatens to tear everything (and everyone) apart.
Midnight Mass features many familiar elements from a Mike Flanagan-created show: interpersonal drama, a creepy aesthetic, and many “blink and you’ll miss it” surprises hiding in the background. Religion plays a connecting thread through the plot and themes, so beware if that is a theme you’re not interested in exploring.
Midnight Mass Season 1 is a quick binge with seven episodes, but the momentum rages like a wildfire once it gets going in the second half.
Scream was an underrated gem dealing with the weight of the juggernaut that was the Scream movies.
Say what you will about movie vs. TV, but the adventures in Lakewood offered a suspense-filled slasher whodunnit with lots of fun to spare. The MTV series channeled its own meta-style and paid homage to the movies.
And the cast of characters was a great mix of classic horror archetypes mixed with new depth. (Brooke is a great example of growing beyond her mean girl trope.)
If you’re in the mood for a modern take on the slasher genre, Scream would be a great option. Its reboot has its moments, but the first two seasons and Halloween special are the main draws.
The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix)
Just like Midnight Mass, The Haunting of Hill House is peak Mike Flanagan. However, you’ll get unrelenting horror and ghostly terror in this mini-series.
The Haunting of Hill House Season 1 takes place within a (you guessed it!) haunted house filled with ghosts. The story focuses on the present and the past, centering on a family dealing with the trauma from their time living at Hill House.
Creepy jumpscares, ghosts hanging around in the background, terrifying twists … this anthology has it all. And, it has well-written characters performed by a talented cast; you can feel their connection and the tension between them as a family. If you’re more into supernatural, this is the best of the three Flanagan series.
Make sure you have a light on if you’re watching at night. But, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Into The Dark (Hulu)
Into The Dark is an interesting entry on this list as it gives you the most horror movie-like experience as a TV show. Each episode is framed around a holiday but in an anthology setting.
A slasher for New Year’s Eve? A haunted board game for Halloween? Corrupted killing dolls for Easter?
Into The Dark goes there and plays off the horror tropes we’ve come to love.
You don’t need to watch every episode in chronological order to have a good time or follow the plot. Pick the holidays you feel like watching and jump around to get into the spooky spirit.
The Walking Dead (AMC)
Do you like zombies? Do you want A LOT of zombies? No?!
How about “walkers” then? I joke, but The Walking Dead is the titan for zombie apocalypse fair on TV.
Its spinoffs, Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond, equally deliver that post-apocalyptic vibe you’ve been craving.
Though, if you’re planning to start a series, try with the main entry first. The Walking Dead has many strong seasons, especially in the first half, and great characters like Rick, Glenn, Maggie, Michonne, and more are in the mix.
There are 11 seasons waiting for you if you get hooked on the zombie chaos and drama between the survivors.
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Stranger Things is the perfect nostalgia when you’re in the mood for 80s adventures with a modern twist.
Set in Hawkins, Indiana, the series focuses on a ragtag group of kids battling the paranormal and trying to save their missing friends. In the subsequent seasons, the paranormal horrors grow to affect the town and the unsuspecting citizens.
Plus, there’s a government conspiracy, equally strong plots with the adults and teens, and great special effects with its monster designs. Seriously, the monsters on Strangers Things would be frightening to face in real life.
There’s a reason why this series became (and still is) a cultural phenomenon.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (Amazon Prime)
Just in time for spooky season 2021, we have Amazon Prime’s latest horror entry on the list.
I Know What You Did Last Summer’s name says it all. This series is the first TV adaptation inspired by the iconic 90s teen slasher film (and the Lois Duncan novel) of the same name.
The story, once again, focuses on a group of teens being stalked by a killer one year later after covering up a death caused by a car accident. Expect to see chills, thrills, and blood spills for your Halloween pleasure.
I Know What You Did Last Summer is perfect if you’re in the mood to start a brand new series and join along weekly for each new terror that comes next.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (The WB and UPN)
Instead of playing victim to the supernatural creatures, jump into the shoes of Buffy Summers and take them down.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer is an amazing cult classic that balances horror elements with witty comedy. The series focuses on a group of teen outsiders as they face everything weird and paranormal that affects their demonic town.
Plus, you have Sarah Michelle Gellar in her iconic role as Buffy, the one chosen slayer in all the world to hunt and kill the vampires.
Great writing, a strong cast, and emotional beats that will tug at your heartstrings. You might think it’s a campy entry from its name alone, but the series is so much more. It’s one of the best series coming out of the 90s.
True Blood (HBO)
HBO’s True Blood is the perfect option if you want more drama mixed into your horror. And plenty of sex and excess to make you blush.
There are many reasons why True Blood became our guilty pleasure summer obsession during its 7-season run.
Between the supernatural elements and the captivating characters, the series kept us on our toes. It also had cheeky writing with characters ready to bite back with their words instead of their fangs.
And, new mysteries plagued the town to keep the seasons interesting, from werewolves to witches to a vampire conspiracy.
Harper’s Island (CBS)
Not all horror has to be supernatural or extremely gory. CBS’s mini-series, Harper’s Island, channeled a classic mix of slasher and Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.”
The series focused on a wedding party heading to the island to celebrate their big day. Similar murders happened in the past on the island, and as more people disappear, the guests can’t help but wonder if the serial killer has returned to enact another string of killings.
Does anyone make it out of the wedding alive? Who is the killer?
You’ll have to watch to find out.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)
Bring on all the teen drama with a demonic twist!
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina gave a darker side to the classic Archie Comics character. Plenty of magic spells, gore, and darkness to fill your spooky season thirst. The aesthetic alone feels like it’s ready for Halloween every episode.
And, it was a different take on the TGIF classic TV series, Sabrina The Teenage Witch.
If you want some witchy fun with a darker Riverdale twist, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina might be right up your alley.
Channel Zero (Syfy)
Think of Channel Zero like Slasher or American Horror Story, but the plots are about creepypastas.
It’s another anthology series with self-contained arcs and lots of horror elements. You can choose which set of episodes to watch to follow the relatively short narrative.
Seriously, each season’s plot only lasts six episodes!
Go right in with one batch of episodes or try all four seasons. Channel Zero delivered terror and chills with each arc that felt vastly different from the other.
The Twilight Zone (CBS)
Take a trip into the paranormal and explore the unknown in The Twilight Zone.
Whether it’s the classic black and white series or the many reboots (like the recent CBS All Access series), The Twilight Zone has hooked viewers for generations. This is the show that has inspired many parodies and cartoon nods.
The Twilight Zone features a new mystery or case of the unknown each week. Sometimes the plot deals with sci-fi, or it’s a paranormal oddity ready to deliver a harsh life lesson.
Once you’re in, you’ll wonder if you’ll ever want to stop watching. But that’s what happens when you venture into The Twilight Zone. (*Theme music intensifies*)
The X-Files (Fox)
A sci-fi classic that left its mark on the world like no other.
If you’re not in the mood for killers, werewolves, or other horror tropes, a trip to a more scientific theme might be it. In this case, it’s all about aliens and the paranormal.
Join FBI special agent Mulder and special agent Scully as they tackle cases to prove (or disprove) the truth of the paranormal.
Mulder and Scully are a great team, and they balance each other by providing a lot of truth or skepticism for each case. Plus, there’s a fine mix of season-long arcs and one-off “monsters of the week” episodes.
Teen Wolf (MTV)
Teen Wolf is more than just ship-worthy couples and werewolf abs. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s a big part, but there’s so much more!)
Look beyond the high school aesthetic to see a powerful story about small-town citizens fighting against paranormal entities and forming a new werewolf pack — lots of heart, zingers, and supernatural action.
Teen Wolf’s special effects are one of its greatest strengths. The transformation from a teen into the wolf is still one of the best scenes for a teen horror show.
Plus, the horror tone comes out in full force, especially with its use of shadows, gore, and creepy music. Teen Wolf does a great job balancing spooky and action.
Ash vs. Evil Dead (STARZ)
Fan of the Evil Dead movie series? Well, we’ve got the show for you.
Ash vs. Evil Dead is a continuation of the films 30 years later. Ash Williams (the main hero) is back, and he’s fighting the forces of evil as they corrupt the world.
This show is all horror-comedy. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, so you’ll get plenty of laughs in between all the gore and outlandish horror.
Plus, it’ll bring back all the nostalgia of the films. Pair this with your Evil Dead movie night to keep the fun going.
Scream Queens (Fox)
Think of Scream Queens like a B-horror movie playing off all the sorority tropes. But there’s so much more to the series than just pledge night and a masked killer picking off victims.
Scream Queens is filled with plenty of wit and one-liners to make you smile.
A great cast that includes Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, and Keke Palmer, to name a few, make their characters come alive. And Scream Queens delivers with the camp and horror nods.
There are only two seasons (the sorority massacre and the hospital bloodshed), but by the end of the final episode, you’ll be wanting more of this cult classic.
Penny Dreadful (Showtime)
Penny Dreadful adds that dark gothic touch to your spooky season.
The series includes many elements of classic horror monsters and characters, like Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster, but in a darker and stylish aesthetic. Full iconic horror mixed into a beautifully addictive story.
The plot of Penny Dreadful is one of the main draws as the narrative will hook you in. However, the twists, the bloodshed, and the creature effects bring this show to the next level.
Penny Dreadful isn’t like those childish fairytales you heard as a kid.
Locke & Key (Netflix)
Want something spooky for you and the family?
Netflix’s Locke & Key might be the right choice. Most of the story focuses on three young siblings discovering magical keys in their home that give them powers or uncover secrets.
Locke & Key will sometimes feel more like an adventure series, especially with its fantasy effects and sibling shenanigans. Though, as with any spooky show, there’s always a sinister twist lurking within the tale.
It’s a great one if you want less of the scares and more of the adventure.
Nancy Drew (The CW)
You might be wondering, “Why Nancy Drew?” And to that, I say, “Why not!”
Nancy Drew’s current tale on The CW focuses on many cases that involve the supernatural or curses within the quiet town of Horseshoe Bay. During Nancy Drew Season 1 alone, there’s a poltergeist haunting the main cast and pushing them to solve a murder.
We’re not even getting into the other terrors, like a sea creature with a death curse or demonic demons.
Come for the paranormal cases, but you’ll stay for the excellent writing and the chemistry between the Drew Crew.
What We Do In The Shadows (FX)
So much comedy. So many laughs. So many goofs.
What We Do In The Shadows is a well-acted and well-written horror-comedy. The laughs will keep coming as you follow the misadventures of these vampires living in the modern world.
Similar to some other entries on this list, a horror-comedy can be the perfect fix for your spooky season needs. It’s not always about the haunts and terrors that go bump in the night.
What We Do In The Shadows might be just what you’re looking for during spooky season (or beyond).
Goosebumps (YTV and Fox Kids)
If you’re a 90s kid, Goosebumps will bring a warm flicker to your jack-o-lantern heart.
Watched the series before? Jump back in for a rewatch.
New to the series? Oh, you’re in for a treat!
Based on the classic books by R. L. Stine, each episode of Goosebumps highlights one of the plots from his books. It’s a great way to catch up on the novels if you don’t have the time to read the Goosebumps books.
Plus, it’s so deliciously nostalgic. The 90s kept us fed with horror shows for kids.
Are You Afraid Of The Dark? (YTV and Nickelodeon)
Another great horror kids show from the 90s. (Just like I said above, it was so perfect.)
The series focused on a group of kids called “The Midnight Society,” as they met in the woods at night to tell scary stories. The tales would cover everything spooky, from vampires to ghosts to werewolves to scary clowns.
Are You Afraid Of The Dark? has two iterations you could choose depending on what you’re in the mood for watching.
If you want something episodic to jump around, go for the original series from the 90s. Each episode will cover a new tale and offer something different per watch.
Though, if you want a connected plot, go for the 2019 or 2020 Nickelodean reboots. These mini-series cover one big mystery each season and include a new cast of characters in their version of The Midnight Society.
Supernatural (The WB and The CW)
Supernatural is a bit of a time commitment. We’re talking 15 seasons of demon-fighting glory here!
However, you’ll get a large selection of episodes to fill your horror-loving heart.
Supernatural is a simple show at its core: two brothers on the road together defeating demons and solving supernatural cases. Werewolves, zombies, vampires. If you can think of a horror monster, the Winchester brothers have probably faced it.
What you’ll also get is well-written characters, plenty of action, and 15-seasons’ worth of character development between the brothers. All the positives are there to balance out the commitment.
The Purge (USA Network)
Just like the movie series, The Purge TV show hits many of the same beats.
You’ll get a night of bloody fun, plenty of action with people trying to kill each other, and an alternate world where this holiday exists. It’s a great companion piece to the installments in the main film series.
Both seasons focus on two very different themes: The Purge Season 1 is all about the time while in The Purge, and The Purge Season 2 highlights the after-effects in the year leading up to the bloody night.
If you want more Purge in your life, add this into the mix to start the spooky season countdown.
Dead of Summer (Freeform)
Friday The 13th. Fear Street Part Two: 1978. Sleepaway Camp.
What do these have in common? They’re all slashers set at a summer camp.
Dead of Summer captures the 80s vibe of a teen camp slasher. Think of it like a B-horror flick but extended for ten episodes.
The thrills are addictive, and the characters fit into all the cheesy horror tropes. It’s an underrated gem that will give you all the slasher treats you want with your tricks.
Brace yourselves, TV Fanatics. This might be the show that pleasantly surprises you based on its writing, editing, and overall aesthetic.
For many fans and audiences, Hannibal has been deemed one of the best horror TV shows. (No pressure with your expectations.)
Hannibal centers on FBI profiler Will Graham and his team-up with iconic horror villain Dr. Hannibal Lecter during his investigations. There’s a fascinating balance between solving the cases and Hannibal trying to manipulate everyone around him to achieve his goal.
You never know what Hannibal (or the rest of the cast) will do next. The show has a way of keeping you on your toes.
Lovecraft Country (HBO)
Lovecraft Country only lasted one season, but it was a strong arc filled with gripping drama and monstrous terrors.
Set in the 1950s, Lovecraft Country Season 1 centered on a group taking a road trip searching for a missing parent. Along the way, the group deals with racism, small towns, and dangerous monsters that threaten to kill them.
If you’re a fan of the works of H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu vibe, Lovecraft Country might be for you. Many of the monsters and tropes were inspired by Lovecraft.
Plus, the terror alone will pull you in!
Van Helsing (Syfy)
Let me say this upfront: Van Helsing isn’t the most consistent series on this list.
Between the vampire lore, the deaths, and a mix of magic, this post-apocalyptic series goes all over the place. But, it owns every minute of its outlandish action and drama.
Van Helsing doesn’t take itself too seriously. Don’t get me wrong though, the show has a serious plot, and the cast performs it amazingly. However, everyone involved knows exactly what kind of show they’re making.
Van Helsing is an off-the-wall and thrilling horror drama that throws everything at you. Prepare for this to be your next cult classic favorite.
Sweet Home (Netflix)
Need a new obsession now that you’re done bingeing Squid Game Season 1?
Try Sweet Home, an apocalyptic horror set in South Korea. The series focuses on a group of residents trapped within an apartment building as monsters try to wipe out humanity.
The terrifying creatures are some of its biggest draws. The monsters terrify and rip through the building, hunting down the residents to no end. But, it’s a strong drama with well-defined characters too.
No need for music to join this monster mash.
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (Cartoon Network)
Yes, this is a cartoon. And yes, this is a cartoon aimed at children, so you won’t get any blood or guts here.
On the other hand, what you will get is one of Scooby-Doo’s best series to date.
Mystery Inc. is in peak form as the iconic members deal with new foes and iconic enemies terrorizing unsuspecting towns. Plus, this is a serialized show, which means the characters have overarching plots and developments.
This isn’t like your typical Scooby-Doo cartoon. Every Scooby-Doo cartoon is amazing and loved, but if we had to recommend one, place this one higher on your list.
Now, it’s your turn, TV Fanatics!
Which horror show is your favorite on the list? Did we miss any of your favorites?
What will you be watching this spooky season?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.