Oh, to have the pumpkin concession for prime-time television this week when the broadcast and cable networks trot out their Halloween-themed programming.
The idea of capitalizing on such holidays is neither novel nor creative. But it does give televisionviewers something beside trick-or-treat loot in which to sink their teeth."The danger is that people will be inundated with Halloween shows and promotion," said Vince Mange, who as senior vice president, advertising and promotion, NBC Entertainment is paid to inundate and promote.
The network's "Frasier" and "3rd Rock From the Sun" join in with the other adult trick-or-treaters this year.
And, fear not, little ones, the season still has some programming approved by your mummies, uh mommies.
Fox's "Goosebumps" concludes the chilling two-part episode, "One Day at Horrorland," Saturday morning.
In addition to ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney" movie "Tower of Terror" and the telefilm "The Devil's Child, the week's other broadcast movies include "Wolf," Tuesday on Fox and "Village of the Damned," Thursday on ABC.
The week's dark dramas include "The Visitor" and "Millennium," Friday on Fox, and NBC's Saturday "thrillogy" - "The Pretender," "Sleepwalkers" and "Profiler" - as well as lots of promos for the Nov. 2 start of NBC's "House of Frankenstein."
But most of the holiday fare skews to comedy, with two sure-fire treats scheduled for a Jekyll and Hyde battle Tuesday at 9.
On ABC's "Home Improvement," the "Night to Dismember" episode has Mark featuring the family in his Halloween horror movie, and Tim using his "Tool Time" skills to build a hot-rod jack-o'-lantern for a pumpkinmobile race.
Meanwhile, NBC's "Frasier" features a literary-themed costume ball. The best get-ups are donned by Roz as the love slave in "The Story of O," and Bulldog as the "Where's Waldo?" character.
Wednesday, the costume party on NBC's "3rd Rock From the Sun" allows Dick to parade as a pirate, and Tommy and Sally to dress as Sonny and Cher.
Halloween parties also figure into the story lines of CBS' "The Gregory Hines Show," Fox's "Beverly Hills, 90210" and ABC's "The Practice," "Nothing Sacred" "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," "Teen Angel," and daytime dramas "Port Charles," "All My Children," "One Life to Live" and "General Hospital."
Further, Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) pops up in "Boy Meets World."
CBS' "Meego," "Cybill" and "George & Leo"; ABC's "Soul Man" and "You Wish"; NBC's "Union Square"; Fox's "Living Single" and "Between Brothers"; and WB's "Unhappily Ever After," "The Jamie Foxx Show" and, not surprisingly, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" also get into the spirit.
CBS viewers also can see Stevil, the mischievous ventriloquist dummy, on the 200th episode of "Family Matters" and Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson guesting on "Nash Bridges."
On the more serious side, the Learning Channel features a full week of prime-time ghouls.
Sunday's "Castle Ghosts of Wales" scares up the freakiest spooks supposedly haunting Welsh castles, with similar sightings Wednesday regarding Ireland and Scotland.
Monday's "Mythical Beasts and Monsters," narrated by Mark Hamill, separates history from lore.
The basic cable service this week also has programs on "Bigfoot," "Witches and Vampires," "Wolfman - The Myth and the Science" and "The Real Frankenstein - The Untold Story."
Other networks take a similar tack. A&E's "Biography" profiles Boris Karloff, Lifetime's "Intimate Portrait" features witches, and History Channel's "In Search of History" tracks Frankenstein.
A&E also investigates the origin of the vampire on Sunday's "Ancient Mysteries" and looks at Blackbeard's reign of terror on Thursday's "Sea Tales."
The History Channel provides "The Haunted History of Halloween" on Sunday, tackles witchcraft on Thursday's "In Search of History" and Frankenstein on Friday's episode. The Friday schedule also includes a repeat of "Haunted History" as well as "True Story of the Vampire" and "Ghosts of Gettysburg."
Starting Thursday, American Movie Classics scares up 26 films plus a "Monster Mania" documentary on fright movies. The one-hour show is hosted by one-time Dracula Jack Palance.
A skeletal view of other movie choices (on Friday unless otherwise noted):
Cinemax - "Ghost," "Vampire in Brooklyn," "Bad Moon," "Sorceress" and four "Friday the 13th" films.
Comedy Central - "Transylvania 6-5000" and "An American Werewolf in London."
Disney - "Susie Q," "The Watcher in the Woods" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," all on Thursday; "Hocus Pocus," "Double, Double, Toil and Trouble" and "Under Wraps."
Encore - "The Shining" and "Ghost Story" (Thursday); "The Amityville Horror," "Psycho," "Terror in the Aisles."
Sci-Fi Channel - "Vampire at Midnight" (Wednesday), "The Monster Squad," "Midnight Offerings," "Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth," "Omen IV: The Awakening," "Body Parts" and "Dracula."
TBS - "Carrie," "Teen Wolf," "Repossessed," and "My Best Friend Is a Vampire."
USA Network - two "Child's Play" sequels.