What do you do after you've gone out and collected all the candy you can cram in your face? Watch TV! And not just any TV... something Halloweeny! Any number of shows have made Halloween-themed episodes, so we're here to help you separate the wheat from the spooky chaff. Here are some of our top picks for your Halloween night candy-gobbling viewing party!
“Tricks and Treats,” Freaks and Geeks
This episode is packed with genuine emotion, teen hijinks, and major revelations. When Lindsay is out smashing pumpkins and cruising with her ne’er-do-well friends, she accidentally eggs her brother (who, to be fair, was disguised by a costume) and, naturally, family drama ensues. This episode also accurately captures that awkward moment when we realize that we’re definitely too old to be trick-or-treating.
At the annual Greendale Halloween party, Pierce’s fever leads him to bite Star-Burns, which in turn leads to an all out zombie attack. In this classic Community ep we also get to see the one night stand between Shirley and Chang that results in her pregnancy, and when all is said and done, it turns out that it was all just Star-Burns’ very bad dream. Narrated by George Takei and featuring Dean Pelton dressed as Lady Gaga, this episode is can’t-miss Halloween fun time!
“Halloween” and “Fear, Itself,” Buffy the Vampire Slayer
One show that always got Halloween right was Buffy. In season two’s “Halloween,” a spell leaves the gang grappling with actually becoming their costumes—Buffy becomes a defenseless southern belle, Xander is suddenly a badass army guy, and Giles, dealing with a foe from his past, saves the day. In “Fear, Itself,” which is a bit scarier, the house they’re partying in comes alive, attacks and separates the gang, causing all sorts of conflicts. Both episodes are reliable Halloween fare.
Treehouse of Horror, The Simpsons
Pick one, any one. No list of Halloween-themed TV eps would be complete without including this annual Simpsons celebration. The Treehouse of Horror episodes have aired every year since 1990, and, while we prefer the early/middle ones (V-X), just about any one will do.
Halloween III and IV, Roseanne
The Halloween tribute episodes of this old school sitcom always featured over-the-top costumes and hilarious subplots that feel festive and appropriate even today. We like these two eps because they feature hilarity by the dark humored Darlene. Perpetually clad in black and cloaked in sarcasm, if you haven’t already, we recommend that you check out this show to bear witness to Sara Gilbert’s Darlene Connor, who is one of the most nuanced and authentic teen characters on any sitcom ever.
“Haunted,” The Vampire Diaries
This was the episode where the show kinda/sorta got serious, and made the transition from schmaltzy cheese fest to potential cult classic. Unable to control all of the crazy new urges that come with being a newbie vampire, Vicki chomps on Elena, forcing Stefan to stake her. A featured player was taken out early and the stakes (ahem) were raised. The show only got better after this.
“Halloween,” My So-Called-Life
The Halloween episode from this cult classic with only one season was a sometimes moody, sometimes fun take on the holiday. Teachers dress up as Obi-Wan, main characters Angela and Rayanne try to communicate with ghosts at their high school, and there’s a killer scene with the ever-so-dreamy Jordan Catalano and the sensitive Ricky, who both grapple with doing things just because their friends are doing them. If you’re in the mood for a ghost story with a brain, this episode is perfect.
“Employee Transfer” The Office
Another sitcom that has always made fantastic Halloween episodes, The Office hit a high note in season five when Creed, Kevin, and Dwight all dressed up as the Joker from The Dark Knight, which, of course, sets Dwight into a rage. Pure Halloween hilarity.
What's your favorite Halloween TV episode?