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It's no trick. We have treats for every WTIU Viewer!

Halloween Moon Scene

It’s Halloween season, my favorite time of year! I love the moody way the sky looks as threads of clouds drift across the Hunter’s Moon (rising on October 28th this year), the smell of chimney smoke as the first fires of the season are lit, and the autumn-defining crunch of fallen leaves underfoot. It’s a delight for the senses—enhanced only by a mug of hot cider, a bowl of freshly popped popcorn, and a spooky show chosen from a frighteningly wide array of WTIU PBS options, available to watch when and where you want!

While it is the season of chills, thrills, tricks, and treats, this edition of Handpicked by Heather is filled only with treats; in fact, ALL WTIU viewers will find spine-tingling options, available free on-demand, among this month’s picks—even if you are not currently a Passport member. Simply click on the pumpkin-hued links below, or search by title at or  on the PBS app. It’s our special Halloween treat, just for you!


Culbertson Mansion

Spooky WTIU Productions

What happens when an unexplained experience becomes the stuff of local legend? How can a spooky annual ritual bring a town together? Is Indiana home to a haunted hotel that once lodged John Dillinger and Al Capone? Find out when you tune to the best in local, state, and regional programming, produced exclusively by WTIU! WTIU productions, including fan favorites Journey Indiana and Flyover Culture, are available to every one of our viewers, free on-demand. Discover the urban legend of The Beast of Bray Road, with host Payton Wheley as he visits the seemingly idyllic town of Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Then travel with Payton to other Midwestern communities that celebrate their own bizarre cryptids when he investigates Bigfoot in the Buckeye State. Here in the Hoosier State, you can discover what spirits lurk in the towns of New Albany, Metamora, and Columbus, with the Community Spirits episode from the series archive of The Weekly Special.

For an extra special treat, check out the all-new Halloween episode  of Journey Indiana as hosts Brandon and Payton check out Frankenstein at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, underwater pumpkin carving, a haunted hotel, and more


Cemetery marker

World's Greatest Cemeteries: Season One

Weird fact about me: I really enjoy spending time in cemeteries. While most of us may find them sad, lonely, or just plain creepy, I find these eternal resting places inviting, serene, and contemplative. I am fascinated by the clues to history that each headstone provides, and I love to lose myself in the quiet beauty of the natural surroundings. I have even toured famously haunted graveyards including New Orleans’ St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, Charleston’s Bonaventure Cemetery, and the historic Key West Cemetery—all after dark! If you’re interested in cemeteries, but prefer a bit more distance between you and the graves, tune in to Season One of World's Greatest CemeteriesThe first episode is available free on-demand to all WTIU viewers, while the rest of the season is available with the PBS Passport member benefit.


Antiques Road Show: Kooky and Spooky

Antiques Roadshow: Kooky & Spooky

There is something about old doll babies that absolutely gives me the creeps. Maybe it’s the soulless-looking eyes, the faded fabric of time-worn clothes, the occasional missing limb; whatever it is, if I had any old dolls in my possession, I would not be able to rest until I rehomed them! But first I would check in with Antiques Road Show  to find their value—and maybe an interesting story or two about their history. Tune in with your PBS Passport member benefit to see the Kooky & Spooky  episode for stories of devilish dolls, morbid medical tools, a mystery box, and frightening folk art—even a printed invitation to a 1909 execution! This episode may inspire you to sift through long-forgotten boxes in your attic in search of spooky valuables. If you do, and if you uncover any old doll babies, please do me a favor and keep them to yourself!


Ghost on stairway

Regional Ghost Stories

While I want nothing to do with creepy dolls, I love to listen to scary stories. On a recent road trip, my kids introduced me to the NPR show Snap Judgment Presents: Spooked, a series that delivers hair-raising stories from listeners telling of their own paranormal experiences. If you, too, enjoy a good ghost story, you (and all WTIU viewers) can find many regionally produced programs from across the PBS-affiliate station family. Similar to “Spooked,” many of these stories are told by the folks who experienced supernatural occurrences first-hand, from specters in South Carolina and Pennsylvania to hauntings in Rhode Island and Virginia – and all order of unexplained phenomena in New England and Idaho! WTIU Passport members can also watch this classic episode from Mississippi Public Broadcasting; while the early ’80s production shows its age, the lovely southern accents of the story tellers make their ghost stories delightfully entrancing!  


Lucy Worsley in Cemetery

 Lucy Worsley Investigates: The Witch Hunts

A full century before the infamous Salem Witch Trials occurred in Massachusetts, a midwife named Agnes Sampson was executed in Scotland after being interrogated and brutally tortured for allegedly practicing witchcraft. In this especially spine-chilling episode of Lucy Worsley Investigates, Lucy takes us into the accused witch’s story, exposing the case that lit the fuse for the state-sanctioned killing of thousands of women (and a few men, too). WTIU members can watch the terrifying story unfold with their PBS Passport member benefit. For more witchy tales closer to home, all WTIU viewers can watch the regionally produced shows Tennessee Life: The Bell Witch and Drive By History: The Long Island Witch Trial.


Vincent Price

Lakeshore Classic Movies

Our friends at Lakeshore PBS have curated a treasure trove of classic films, many from the film noir and horror genres, and all of which are available to every WTIU viewer! I spent last weekend indulging in several of the vintage offerings including the highly atmospheric 1947 film The Red House, starring Edward G. Robinson as a guilt-plagued farmer; 1953’s spellbinding thriller The Hitch-hiker, one of the earliest films directed by a woman (Ida Lupino) and based on the true story of an escaped convict who terrorizes two friends; and, for something completely different, Topper, the 1937 comedy about the ghosts of a fun loving couple who haunt a stuffy bank president. (Look for cameo appearances by Lana Turner and Bloomington’s own Hoagy Carmichael!). Other thrillers in the LCM Vault include Vincent Price in the House on Haunted Hill, the cult classic Night of the Living Dead, and Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, among literally dozens of classics from the Golden Age of Hollywood!



The Green Planet: Tropical Worlds

So far, we’ve been pondering mysteries of the supernatural realm, but our world is filled with equally enigmatic and compelling phenomena of the natural kind, too. Join legendary host Sir David Attenborough as he explores the mysteries of the earth’s rainforests in the first episode of the 5-episode nature documentary series The Green Planet. Pioneering film techniques penetrate the seemingly quiet jungle canopy, exposing the strange world of monster-like plants such as the carnivorous pitcher plant of Borneo, the corpse flower with its pungent odor of death, and the aptly named Monstera plant—as well as the parasitic creepy crawlers and vampiric flying rodents that inhabit them. Enter this bizarre, dangerous, and deadly world with your WTIU PBS Passport member benefit—if you dare!