Instead of its traditional Halloween episode, ABC Family is treating fans to a special one-hour Pretty Little Liars event during its "13 Nights of Halloween" programming block.
The special will air halfway through season 5 of Pretty Little Liars, between the summer finale and the December showing of "How the 'A' Stole Christmas" -- which will be part of ABC Family's "25 Days of Christmas" programming block and is rumored to feature the girls attending an Ice Ball and one of the PLL's bed buddies in Santa boxers.
The Halloween fan appreciation special won't be like a traditional episode of the show, however. Season 4's Halloween episode featured the girls attending the Ravenswood Founder's Day Celebration in their finest Edwardian wear. According to ABC Family, this season's Halloween episode will feature Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Tyler Blackburn, Lucy Hale, Ian Harding, Laura Leighton, Shay Mitchell, Janel Parrish, Sasha Pieterse, and other members of the Pretty Little Liars family discussing their favorite series moments and answering fan questions.
Have a question for the PLL? Submit through Facebook or through Twitter by tweeting questions with the hashtag #PLLHalloween. Questions submitted for the episode so far include "Do you regret choosing Mona as the first 'A'?", "Who knew Ali was alive first?", and "Are we really going to find out what happened to Ali?"
There's no official date for the season 5 fan appreciation episode of Pretty Little Liars just yet, but ABC family releases its "13 Days of Halloween" schedule in mid-September.
The plans for a fan appreciation episode are not surprising given that Pretty Little Liars has long been known for its exceptional social media presence. The show has over 14 million Facebook fans, 2.3 million Twitter followers, and 1 million Instagram followers. The show keeps fans interested with real-time Twitter updates, behind-the-scenes Instagram photos, and fan-created GIFs for Facebook and Tumblr. The network has essentially required the cast and crew of Pretty Little Liars to be on Twitter and now provides "digital asset packages" before each episode to encourage interaction with followers. The season 4 finale on March 18, where Ezra took a bullet to protect Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily, launched a #IsEzraAlive hashtag and gained a spot as the year's top tweeted television episode.
Despite the fact that interest in live television programming has been in decline among younger viewers, ratings for Pretty Little Liars have increased steadily as the show progresses. The show's mix of romance, drama, and suspense, as well as its willingness to tackle tough topics like addiction, depression, and teen sexuality, have made it popular throughout the world.
On June 10, ABC Family announced that the show was renewed for season 6 and 7, making Pretty Little Liars the network's longest running original series.
[Photo courtesy of ABC Family.]