The great thing about Halloween is that it’s not just a holiday, but rather a month-long celebration.  In fact, I’ve always felt that the buildup to October 31st is a whole lot more exciting than the actual day itself.  Throughout the month of October, it’s impossible to escape Halloween – whether you’re turning on the TV or heading out grocery shopping – and I think I speak for all horror fans when I say that it’s a beautiful thing.  While most of us are more or less celebrating Halloween all year long, there’s just something so exciting about the widespread acceptance of the things we love that makes October the single greatest month of the entire year.

Though I try to spend as much time as I can throughout the month pumpkin picking, visiting haunted attractions and doing whatever I can to make the most of it all while it lasts, I admit that I do find myself spending more time on the couch in October than I do in other months.  Several networks like AMC and Syfy devote the majority of their programming to horror movies and specials in the weeks leading up to Halloween, making it hard to resist the allures of becoming an October couch potato.

With Halloween fast approaching, we’re right about now in the thick of things – all the big networks catering directly to folks like ourselves.  Though I encourage you to check your local listings on a daily basis, so you don’t miss any of the excitement, I’ve put together a little starter guide for you below, which I hope you’ll find useful.  Here are 10 upcoming Halloween TV specials that I think you’re gonna want to check out!

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FOOD NETWORK – HALLOWEEN WARS – OCTOBER 13TH

Now in its third year, Food Network’s Halloween Wars pits five teams of cake decorators, pumpkin carvers and candy makers against one another – tasked with creating elaborate displays that are both horrifying and delicious.  The first episode of Season 3 of Halloween Wars actually kicked off last Sunday night, but the fun continues this Sunday at 9/8c, with two more episodes following on the last two Sundays before Halloween.  Guest judges coming up include Tony “Candyman” Todd, Charlaine Harris (the writer of the books True Blood is based on) and the Friday the 13th remake’s Jason Voorhees, Derek Mears!

MAN-THING, JACK RUSSELL, BLADE, FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER, SPIDER-MAN, THE LIVING MUMMY

DISNEY CHANNEL – ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN HALLOWEEN SPECIAL – OCTOBER 13TH

Not wanting to be left out of the fun, Spider-Man gets his very own Halloween special this year, a one-hour event that airs October 13th at 11am EST, on DISNEY XD.  Joined by his Howling Commandos – a group that consists of the likes of Frankenstein’s monster, Man-Thing and even cinematic vampire slayer Blade – Spider-Man takes on Dracula in the special, which marks the first time he’s ever fought alongside his monstrous allies!

JESSIE, BUZZ LIGHTYEAR, WOODY

ABC – TOY STORY OF TERROR! – OCTOBER 16TH

This coming Wednesday sees the world premiere of the first ever Toy Story Halloween special, titled Toy Story of Terror!.  You’ll find full information about the special within the post I wrote about it here on iHorror a couple weeks back, but the long story short is that it will thrust loveable characters like Woody and Buzz into a more horrific situation than they’ve ever been in before – finding themselves at a spooky motel, where one of their pals goes missing.  Needless to say, it promises to be a must-watch event, for all fans of the films!

Discovery Channel

DISCOVERY CHANNEL – MYTHBUSTERS ZOMBIE SPECIAL – OCTOBER 17TH

The folks from Mythbusters are no strangers to testing out how realistic iconic scenes from horror movies are – in the past debunking the explosive ending of Jaws as well as the epic frozen face smash, from Jason X.  This coming Wednesday night, at 10pm EST, the gang tackles zombie movies, setting out to determine the best weapon to use against the undead, as well as whether or not you’d truly be able to outrun a horde of zombies.  Joining them in the field will be none other than Michael Rooker, who of course played Merle on The Walking Dead!

Skeletor and Lion-O live on Hembrough?s desk in his home office, and a Deloreon from Back to Future sits nearby just in case they need to make a speedy departure.

TRAVEL CHANNEL – TOY HUNTER HALLOWEEN SPECIAL – OCTOBER 20TH

If you’re a collector of toys then you’re no doubt familiar with Travel Channel’s show Toy Hunter, which follows around collector/dealer Jordan Hembrough, as he hunts in attics and basements for rare and valuable old toys.  A very special Halloween episode of the show airs on October 20th, at 8pm EST, which finds Jordan looking for the scariest toys he can find, to sell at Cincinnati’s HorrorHound convention.  Metallica’s Kirk Hammett will also appear in the one-hour special – Jordan tasked with finding him vintage monster toys.

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FOOD NETWORK – CUPCAKE WARS – OCTOBER 26TH

Food Network’s Halloween festivities continue with a very special episode of Cupcake Wars, a show that sees cupcake bakers competing to have their treats showcased at various different special events.  Rob Zombie guest stars in the episode airing at 8pm EST on October 26th, and the winning team’s cupcakes will be featured as the centerpiece of the opening night festivities of Zombie’s new haunted attraction; Great American Nightmare.  Or I should say, were featured.  Though we won’t know which team won until the episode airs, Great American Nightmare kicked off in LA this week, and runs through November 2nd.

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TRAVEL CHANNEL – AMERICA’S SCARIEST HALLOWEEN ATTRACTIONS – OCTOBER 27TH

It’s become an annual tradition for the Travel Channel to take a look at the country’s best and most terrifying haunted attractions, and this year is no exception.  The fourth annual special will air at 10pm EST on October 27th, an hour full of thrills and chills that serves as a virtual visit to the attractions that should be on all of our bucket lists.  Always look forward to this one!

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EPIX – NIGHTMARE FACTORY – OCTOBER 30TH

Premium network EPIX is playing host to their very own Halloween marathon this year, which they’ve dubbed ‘All Hallows’ Evil’.  The fun begins on October 30th and runs through Halloween, and nine films including Pumpkinhead and Evil Dead 2 will help usher in the holiday.  But the most exciting part of the marathon is that it will see the premiere of Nightmare Factory – a feature length documentary about the KNB FX Group.  Founded by artists Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger, KNB is the leading effects studios in Hollywood right now, and the documentary peels back the curtain to chronicle the story of the formation and meteoric rise of the company.  If you’re into practical effects, you won’t want to miss this one!

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TRAVEL CHANNEL – GHOST ADVENTURES HALLOWEEN SPECIAL – OCTOBER 31ST

The crew from Travel Channel’s popular show Ghost Adventures play host to a Halloween special of their own on Halloween night, a two-hour event that begins at 9pm EST.  Ghost hunters Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin travel all the way to Transylvania for the episode, exploring the truth behind the legend of Vlad the Impaler – the real life figure who of course served as the inspiration for the fictional Dracula.  While there, they will also explore the most haunted locations and castles in the Romanian province, including one that is considered to be Romania’s version of the Bermuda Triangle.  Can’t think of anything better to watch on Halloween night than a good old fashioned ghost hunting expedition!

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INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY – BLOODY MARYS – OCTOBER 31ST

Thanks to the game that terrified us all as children, and made us afraid to look into the mirror, the name Mary has become synonymous with horror – and for good reason.  Though the Bloody Mary game is nothing more than a fun prank, many of history’s most infamous female killers have shared the name Mary – a fact that Investigation Discovery has taken note of.  On Halloween night, at the stroke of midnight (EST), their special Bloody Marys will premiere, which features the stories of four different historical killers named Mary.  As the president of Investigation Discovery points out, “a Bloody Mary makes for a better drink than wife“!

If you know of any other Halloween specials airing this month, please do comment below and add to the list!