Celebrating the Holidays with Hallmark Channel Movies and Specials


Catherine Bell stars in “The Good Witch’s Family.”

Of course there are going to be the most wonderful heart-tugging movies and specials on the Hallmark Channel (based in Studio City) and the Hallmark Movie Channel between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But before we start counting down to the holidays, we can enjoy some tricks and treats leading up to Halloween.

The Good Witch’s Family will have its premiere on the Hallmark Channel, Saturday, Oct. 29, with the enchanting Catherine Bell returning in the fourth of the popular telefilm franchise about Cassie the Good Witch. The new story unfolds with Cassie Nightingale married to Middleton Police Chief Jake Russell (Chris Potter of Heartland fame) and serving as stepmom to Lori (Hannah Endicott-Douglas) and Brandon (Matthew Knight). But tough times start to bubble to the surface. There’s Cassie’s long-lost cousin Abigail (Sarah Power of Saw V) appearing unexpectedly along with trouble for everyone.

Bell has already agreed to do a fifth Good Witch, so you know the misery will turn to magic before the end. The former JAG star has also been busy going into production on a sixth season of Army Wives for Lifetime, plus she’s doing the TNT mystery movie Good Morning, Killer. Bell says she’s enjoying playing different roles, especially a sweet, good witch.

Another fine actress, Kim Delaney is in the Hallmark Movie Channel’s Finding a Family, premiering Saturday, Oct. 15. Also starring is Jared Abrahamson playing out the true story of Alex Chivescu, a teenager who fought the Michigan foster care system in order to stay in the school district that would lead him to an Ivy League education, and find a loving family along the way. In real life, Chivescu is now a student at Harvard University. Delaney says it has a lot of the qualities as the Homeless to Harvard Emmy-nominated movie. Delany plays Alex’s mother, who had to give him up in order for the boy to pursue his dream. “When I read the script it made me cry,” Delaney revealed. “It’s a sad story, but it’s also uplifting.” Paul McGillion and Jane Redmond play the new family who come to the rescue.

The Martha Stewart Show is on Hallmark for another season, and in addition to her lifestyle show, Martha is presenting an original Halloween special. It should come as no surprise that no one does Halloween better than the Grande Dame of domesticity herself. In fact, this special is a virtual how-to guide for doing Halloween Night right. Martha shares tips on wild ways to decorate your home with the proper monster-motif.

Mark your calendar for more Halloween happenings: the annual Los Angels Haunted Hayride is taking place at Griffith Park, in the Old Zoo location. For its third year the theme is “Through the Eyes of a Child,” with the thrilling 25-minute hayride taking guests through the nightmares of the Clifton twins, the daughters of the Zoo Keeper. Their ghastly visions were recreated for the experience through the spooky woods of Griffith Park. The Hayride tickets support the LA Parks Foundation.

A family-friendly Halloween event will take place on the backlot of Universal Studios, the Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times’ 19th annual Halloween Carnival presented by JAKKS Cares. It’s to benefit children with cancer who can renew their spirits at Camp Ronald McDonald. It’s an enjoyable occasion for families at the carnival who will be able to meet and greet celebrities and movie characters, enjoy rides, live music, and lots of food from L.A.’s top restaurants. There will be games and great prizes, plus a costume contest at the spooktacular event.

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