Spooky season is my favorite time of year. The colder weather, the fact that it’s socially acceptable to have several life-sized skeletons in your lawn and the return of pumpkin-flavored foods to grocery stores are some notable highlights of October that I’ve already been enjoying.

Another thing I typically look forward to during this time of year is bonding with my friends through shared distress — that is, watching the most unsettling horror movies we can find. There are so many great horror movies to choose from, but the horror of 2020 killed my capacity for watching scary and disturbing things for fun. All I’ve wanted to do this month is curl up on the couch with some classic fall treats and watch something seasonal and festive that will make me feel a little better.

With that, here are my wholesome Halloween TV recommendations paired with fall snack favorites.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! + Warm apple cider with cinnamon sugar donuts

Photo courtesy of Samantha Cho / North by Northwestern. Cinnamon sugar donuts courtesy of Bennison's Bakery

I love this pairing for how iconically "fall" it is. Cider and donuts are such an Autumn staple and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! is an old school classic I look forward to watching every year. I find it nearly impossible to be sad while watching any Peanuts special. Watch it here for free while enjoying a mug of warm apple cider and cinnamon sugar donuts. I recommend that you heat your apple cider on the stove in a small pot with a cinnamon stick or two — a little trick that makes it taste so much more like fall! If you’re a big Peanuts fan like me, you might also have Snoopy-themed mugs and flatware to arrange your snacks on.

Hubie Halloween + Caramel Apple Pops

Photo courtesy of Samantha Cho / North by Northwestern

I grew up watching the Saturday morning cartoons my parents watched in the ‘70s and ‘80s, so I’m usually a bit wary of modern comedies. Hubie Halloween, though, was worth the watch. Lighthearted and kind of ridiculous, it’s the perfect thing to watch after a stressful week — or year. Hubie Halloween pairs well with Caramel Apple Pops because like the movie, they're fun, a little absurd and could only be a product of America.

Scooby Doo on Zombie Island + Pillsbury Ready-to-Bake Sugar Cookies

Like any Scooby Doo movie or TV show, Scooby Doo on Zombie Island has a few moments that are legitimately scary. Yet it’s also a family-friendly show, so you know nothing truly bad will happen and that Scooby and the gang will ultimately pull through. I’d pair this movie with a plate of Pillsbury’s Halloween-themed ready-to-bake sugar cookies. They're a treat you can eat a lot of without realizing it, especially as you watch Scooby and Shaggy consume large amounts of food on screen. There are Scooby Doo-themed ones as well if you’d prefer to make those instead!

The Sixth Sense + Pumpkin Bread with Chai

This supernatural thriller starring Bruce Willis is definitely my film recommendation with the most actual horror in it. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to be tormented by the restless dead until you help them find peace, this is the movie to watch. I think The Sixth Sense can be rather thought-provoking, so I'd pair it with a mug of hot Chai that you can sip contemplatively while enjoying a slice of pumpkin bread on the side. Prepare to be mind-blown.

Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring + Candied Apples

Photo courtesy of Samantha Cho / North by Northwestern. Carmel apples courtesy of Kilwins

Nothing helps me forget about my anxieties like Tom and Jerry. Also, watching a cartoon cat sustain injuries that should not be survivable and yet jump up two seconds later with twice the energy and determination to catch the mouse responsible is strangely inspiring. The added element of the magic ring in this short film makes it the perfect addition to my spooky season watch list. I paired this with candied apples because both were things I enjoyed sharing with my family before I came to Northwestern. Now I look forward to sharing them with my Wildcat family!

Horror movies are usually central to my October plans, but the emotional toll of 2020 has compelled me to adjust. This short list of feel-good films and snacks to enjoy for a more wholesome spooky season is by no means exhaustive, but will hopefully give you a few ideas if you’re looking for a break from horror!