The Ten Best Halloween-Themed TV Episodes Ever

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By: Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher) and Shannon Fox (@shannonfox)

 

Haylee: Halloween is quickly approaching and themed episodes are a standard way to celebrate the holiday on television. Through not only their fun visuals, but also creative storytelling, these ten episodes have become TV classics that are all treats and no tricks. Well, maybe a few tricks.

 

Shannon: HALLOWEEN EPISODES ARE THE BEST EVER.  That is all.

 

Boy Meets World, And Then There Was Shawn

 

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If you’re a Millennial, chances are “And Then There Was Shawn” is one of your favorite Halloween episodes of all time, even though it didn’t originally air in October – it premiered in February! The entire episode takes place in the school, with no mention of the outside world, and spoofs many of the scary movies of the time like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. The writers even got a South Park joke in! With an appearance by Jennifer Love Hewitt and her performance that toes the line of comedy and horror in addition to the show’s typical emotional content, “And Then There Was Shawn” is definitely worthy of a re-watch every Halloween.

 

Chuck, Chuck vs. The Aisle of Terror

 

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Chuck was known for its many notable guests stars and none was more appropriate for a Halloween episode than Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund. Here, he plays a mad scientist in possession of a hallucinogenic toxin that gets released into the Buy More Aisle of Terror haunted house. Chuck himself gets poisoned which leads to him being terrorized by such ordinary objects as old people, black licorice, and scariest of all, otters. The episode gave Jeff and Lester the chance to save the day with their not-actually-so-scary addition to the Buy More and gave Zachary Levi a chance to show off his strengths in both drama and humor.

 

Parks and Recreation, “Greg Pikitis”

 

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It was hard to decide between “Greg Pikitis” and “Halloween Surprise,” the episode in which Ben proposes to Leslie, but what tipped the scale in this one’s favor is it was the first appearance of FBI agent Burt Macklin, a character who went on to be one of Andy’s definitive alter egos. Ann’s sad party was funny, and of course made funnier by Tom livening things up as T-Pain, but the fact that Leslie’s arch-nemesis is a teenage boy is hilarious. Anyone else wish we had seen him in another episode as the series went on? So much amusement could have come from Greg Pikitis: Teenage Vandal! However, as it stood, the episode was perfect: Leslie’s suspicions regarding Greg were proven correct as he was caught red-handed destroying the mayor statue and a happy Halloween was had by all.

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Hush”

 

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Hush was not only Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s best Halloween episode, it was one of the show’s best episodes of all time. Nay, one of television’s best episodes of all time. Because of the praise the series got for its dialogue, Joss Whedon set out to subvert expectations and write an episode with minimal talking. His aim was to rely on visuals and boy, did he deliver. There are only about 17 minutes of verbal communication in the 44-minute show, and for a show so known for its talking, silencing its characters was a risk that paid off. The Gentlemen were terrifying villains and the episode was unnerving in its silence. “Hush” will forever be one of the most groundbreaking episodes of television ever.

 

American Horror Story, “Halloween, Part II”

 

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AHS and its subject matter are pretty controversial.  That started right in the beginning during the show’s first season, particularly when it came to the story of Tate Langdon (Evan Peters).  But what no one can deny is the top-notch performances that are continually given by the cast of this crazy show, and I think this Halloween-themed episode is one of its finest hours.  Tate’s story comes to a head as we find out that what he thought was fantasy actually happened, Ben’s (Dylan McDermott) secrets and lies start to catch up with him, and Constance (the always perfect Jessica Lange) mourns her beloved daughter.  It’s the best of what AHS has got to give from what, in my opinion at least, is still their best season.

 

The Simpsons, “Treehouse of Horror V”

 

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We couldn’t forget “The Simpsons” and their annual Halloween episodes! It’s hard to narrow it down to just one favorite, but a popular choice is this episode from their sixth season.  All three tales are delightful, but the parody of “The Shining” is totally the best, with Homer in Jack Nicholson’s iconic role.  But Homer’s trip through time with a time-travelling toaster is hilarious, as are the names of the dishes made from the schoolchildren in the final tale.  Also, I love the Halloween-ing of the credits (and the couch gag, for that matter)- “The Simpsons” did it WAY before Twitter!  But watch out for that fog that turns people inside out…

 

Roseanne, “BOO!”

 

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Let’s get one thing straight: NO ONE does Halloween like “Roseanne”.  I mean, their costumes ALONE were brilliant!  But this episode from the show’s second season is by far the best, thanks to a scare-off between Dan and Roseanne and the Conner’s awesome haunted house skills.  The girls, Becky and Darlene, are showing some typical teenage boredom of the family’s favorite holiday, but thankfully, everyone gets into the mood by the end of the episode.  This episode premiered way back in 1989 and I STILL don’t think any other sitcom comes close to beating it.  I think it’s safe to say that Dan and Roseanne are indeed the King and Queen of TV Halloween!

 

How I Met Your Mother, “The Slutty Pumpkin”

 

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Oh man.  When HIMYM was good, it was REALLY good, and this first Halloween episode from the show’s first season is a perfect example.  Ted (Josh Radnor) is determined to go to the same Halloween party he always does, on the roof of their building, to wait for a girl he met there a few years previous (who never tends to show up, mind you).  Meanwhile, Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) go for the gold in the bar’s annual costume contest as Jack Sparrow and a parrot, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) tries his best to convince Ted to go to Victoria’s Secret party instead, and Robin (Cobie Smulders) runs a new relationship into the ground.  Also, please note that Barney is my hero, wearing multiple costumes over the course of the night.  Legendary!

 

Freaks and Geeks, “Tricks and Treats”

 

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It’s a shame that “Freaks and Geeks” was cancelled so early – the show was a brilliant and funny look at teenage life.  Their Halloween episode is one that everyone can relate to, particularly because it focused on both sides of the teenage coin when it comes to Halloween.  Some of us cling to our childhoods, determined to dress up and trick and treat for as long as we can, while others are ready to jump into adulthood by either taking part in Mischief Night (or whatever you call it in your part of the country) or going to parties with booze.  Lindsay’s (Linda Cardellini) journey in this episode is particularly poignant and slightly heartbreaking in this one.  And Bill’s (Martin Starr) costume as the Bionic Woman is basically perfection.

 

Community, “Epidemiology”

 

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I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the under-appreciated brilliance of “Community”.  Zombie stories are fairly commonplace nowadays, but this episode did it better than most.  Who knew that the zombie apocalypse (albeit a temporary one) could come from taco meat?  There is so much to love in this episode, from the costumes (even “sexy Dracula”) to the pop-culture references to the always wonderful friendship of Abed (Danny Pudi) and Troy (Donald Glover).  There’s also a surprise hook-up that leads to more later in the season, but you’ll have to watch it to find out.  God, I really miss this show.

 

What are your favorite Halloween-related TV episodes?


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