First off, let's all say a quick one for the folks over in Malibu and San Diego. I don't care who you pray to, they can use all the positive energy they can get right now, you know?

OK, so now that we're only a week away from the greatest holiday (that doesn't involve wrapping paper), it's the perfect time to whip out the fondness for some of TV's best Halloween episodes, which- look at that!- are also saluted in tvguide.com's supernifty Halloween section! Some are funny, some are freaky, some are just damned frightening. But they all celebrate the season and are available on DVD, so they also therefore rock..

Buffy the Vampire Slayer- "Halloween" In the words of Marie Osmond, oh crap. Was this Season 2 howler from '97 a blast or what?! The Scoobies and most of Sunnydale slip into cursed costumes from a shop run by Giles' nasty crony and soon, the town is overrun by trick-or-treaters who've morphed into whatever they're dressed as. Willow's a ghost, Xander's a soldier and Buff's a wide-eyed princess with zilcho slaying powers. One of the trazillion reasons to love this show and the first time we get a peek into Ripper's shady past.

Ugly Betty- "The Lyin, the Watch and the Wardrobe" Honestly, not one of my faves from the Season 1 set. I mean, yeah, we get the whole subtext behind Betty's butterfly costume, but for Mode's sake, what fashion-mag employee worth their swag-closet access would think that a homemade burlap mess like that was a good idea? That said, Marc as Betty? Help me, Jeebus! I'm still laughing.

Smallville- "Thirst" A total Slayer spoof from Season 5, with Lana falling in with a coven of bloodsucking Met U. sorority girls led, appropriately enough, by a chick named Buffy. For anyone who has spent the past seven seasons going " Kristin Kreuk? Really?" this is proof that she can do a lot more than look desperate and straighten her hair.

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries- "The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula" Quite possibly one of my best childhood memories (don't mock!), this cheesy poof that kicked off the anthology's second season in 1979 was all TV could be. It's a crossover, so we have Shaun Cassidy, Parker Stevenson and Pamela Sue Martin; it has Paul Williams and Cassidy singing, so it has awful music; and it was a two-parter, so there's a cliffhanger that leaves us wondering if the baddies skulking around a rock festival at Dracula's castle are art thieves or undead types. Oh, and there's some serious Nancy-Frank flirty business going on.

Beverly Hills 90210
- "Halloween" Come to the season 2 set for Kelly Taylor as a sexy witch, stay for Steve Sanders in full-blown Zorro gear beating down the cowboy who tries to cowpoke her. And just know that Scott Scanlon bites it in the very next episode!

How I Met Your Mother- "The Slutty Pumpkin" I love this show. Love it, love it, love it! We first met when I devoured the entire first season on DVD during a boring weekend when I think I hated all my friends for some reason. But the gang was there for me and this episode in particular, convinced me to stick with them. Ted's annual attempt to find the gourd-attired chick he fell for years earlier leads him to the lamest Halloween bash in Manhattan, where Barney gets his playa on in an array of getups (Maverick from Top Gun? We should have known then that Neil Patrick Harris had something to tell us.) It's sweet, silly and so what the holiday is like when you're just a little too old to be playing dress up.

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special- It just came out on DVD and seriously, words don't do it justice. Even the look a horror etched on my face isn't enough to communicate the sheer WTF-edness of Roz "Pinky Tuscadero" Kelly, KISS, Margaret Hamilton and Witchie Poo from H.R. Pufnstuf camping it up with Lynde. I'm still not sure what's more unsettling, the fact that Florence Henderson shows up to sing "That Ol' Black Magic" in an outfit that would make Cher squirm or that the clearly needy Lynde thanks us at the end for making him feel "wanted." ABC only aired this once and you can't blame them. You also can't turn away. It's truly the wierdest special this side of the Wookies' Thanksgiving debacle.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown- Best. Special. Ever. And I'll stone anyone who says differently. Because I got a rock and I'm not afraid to throw it, ya hear?!

The Simpsons- "Treehouse of Horror" Every one of them is a gem, as long as you go in expecting one third of the annual trilogy to be a tad weak. Throw these in there with Chuck Brown and South Park's "Pinkeye" episode from 1997's first-season set, with the zombie outbreak and Cartman's horrifically tasteless Hitler costume and you have the perfect animated attack on all things bump-in-the-nighty.


Next week: It's all about Angel!

Until then, don't hog the remote.