Holiday episodes are a staple of every classic TV show. They usually take the opportunity to deviate from any storylines to put their own spin on the holiday genre and at no time of the year is it done as effectively as Halloween. Without the need for the sentimentality of a Christmas episode, your favourite shows take this chance to get weird. These are some of the shows that did it the best,
#10 – Parks and Rec
From the pedigree of writers and producers of The Office, Parks and Rec knows how to go big. While they didn’t always do Halloween episodes on the show, the ones they did pack a punch.
In Season 2, Episode 7 (Greg Pikitis), Leslie stakes out the home of a suspected teen vandal with the help of her police officer boyfriend (played by Louis C.K.)
In Season 5, Episode 5 (Halloween Surprise), Ron messes up when taking Dianne’s (Lucy Lawless) daughters trick or treating. The end finds the family trick or treating several days after Halloween
#9 – Buffy The Vampire Slayer
While a show centred around horror might not seem to be a show that would let Halloween stand out, but the show put out some classics that let the holiday be the star rather than have an every-day episode with the caveat that, oh yeah, it’s also Halloween.
In Season 4 (Fear Itself), a Fear Demon comes to town via a summoning portal that was opened at a Haunted House-themed Frat party (I know, that’s a lot to take in if you don’t know the show). Said Fear Demon brings the party goers’ worst fears to life.
In Season 2 (Halloween), A costume shop owner (and chaos worshipper) casts a spell on his costumes to make the wearers become whatever they dressed up as.
#8 – Modern Family
Modern Family is one of those sitcoms that went all in with their Halloween Episodes. Costumes and set decorations go into overdrive and are done in a way that borders on being infeasible for a family who does not have a special effects crew at their disposal, but they sell it with the characters’ passion for the season.
In Season 2 (Halloween), Claire’s flair for the holiday is revealed as she prepares a haunted house and recruits her family for her plans.
In Season 6 (Halloween 3: Awesomeland), Clare puts Phil in charge of the decorating, and he exchanges horror for wonder as he turns their house into Awesomeland, until the Dunphys are entered in a scariest house competition.
#7 – South Park
A show that will take on any subject, South Park is an ideal destination for a fun Halloween episode. While it may not be the premiere animated show for their Halloween specials, they have a vast array of episodes for you to check out just due to their longevity.
In Season 1 (Pinkeye), Matt Stone and Trey Parker give their take on Zombie films with the fast spreading disease known as Pinkeye! The infection spreads through the quiet mountain town and sets the bar for Halloween episodes for the remainder of the series.
In Season 16 (A Nightmare on Facetime), Randy buys a Blockbuster Video in the hopes that the Halloween video rental rush will be a big success. When it isn’t, the episode descends into a parody of The Shining.
#6 – Home Improvement
In a rare occurrence for the sitcoms on this list, there are no real B stories to deal with in Home Improvement’s Halloween episodes. They give you one full, rich story without a break from the holiday fun.
In Season 6 (I Was a Teenage Taylor), the kids are old enough to really get in on the pranks, and they come in hot, hitting their parents with trick after trick, but the Taylor elders don’t take it lying down and come up with a doozy to remind the kids who the masters really are.
In Season 3 (Crazy For You), Tim is convinced that he has a stalker fan in one of the most elaborate of the Taylor pranks that even stretches into his professional life as Tool Time hosts an all female audience that could spell trouble for the Tool Man.
#5 – Brooklyn Nine-Nine
When using Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Halloween in the same sentence, it’s impossible to say the name of the holiday without saying “Halloweeeeeeeeeen” and thinking of one thing; The Halloween Heist episode. While the heists began to deviate from October in later years (mostly due to the show coming on mid-season), We’ll never forget the originals
In Season 3 (Halloween III), Jake and Holt have their rubber match to determine who is the greatest detective/genius and both refuse to recruit Amy, who both sides accuse of favouring the other due to their relationships with her.
In Season 4 (Halloween IV), members of the Nine-Nine are paired up for the yearly competition. The episode culminates in the wonderful image of Gina with her front teeth knocked out while wearing one of her iconic in-the-moment sweaters.
#4 – The Office
This show is such an anomaly as it literally becomes more and more popular as the years pass. Eight years removed from their last episode, the show is a bigger cultural phenomenon on streaming than it was when it was on the air, which says a lot. Their Halloween episodes are every bit as classic as their regular episodes.
In Season 2 (Halloween), Michael, dressed as two-headed Michael, has until the end of the day to choose who is fired due to branch cuts, a decision he has put off until Halloween.
In Season 5 (Employee Transfer), Michael and Holly end their fling, many Dunder Mifflin employees show up as The Joker and Dwight faces off with Andy over a Cornell vs. Beets rivalry.
#3 – Community
No show knew how to go as big with a special episode. They can take a simple game of paintball and turn it into an epic so impressive, the directors are brought into the MCU. So it’s pretty natural to think that their Holiday episodes would be no less epic. Well, I can assure you, they deliver.
In Season 2 (Epidemiology), Greendale turns into a Zombie Apocalypse when the Dean orders what he thinks is taco meat from an Army Surplus store. Watch as the gang gets taken out one by one in their attempts to save their classmates before the military arrives.
In Season 4 (Paranormal Parentage), Pierce, fresh off of the loss of his father, refuses to leave his panic room as he believes the house to be haunted. The gang arrives in fun costumes and navigates Pierce’s tacky mansion to solve the mystery.
#2 – Roseanne
This show was the first time that the concept of being known for your holiday episodes entered my consciousness. It occurred to me how much effort the Conners put into the Halloween season and they maintained that passion throughout their entire run.
In Season 5 (Halloween IV), Roseanne finds the fun of Halloween slipping away as she is slowly becoming an empty nester. She is visited by three Halloween ghosts a la A Christmas Carol.
In Season 2 (Boo!), the Conners make a haunted house out of their home, where DJ lip syncs a terrifying voice, Dan is a chainsaw wielding maniac and Jackie’s head is on the table.
#1 – The Simpsons
Only The Simpsons could have their own side brand of specials. Dubbed the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, there are more Halloween episodes of this show than any show has regular episodes in an entire season. They are all instant classics and are a yearly must-watch in any home.
In Season 6 (The Shinning), Homer goes down the road of Jack Torrance in a spoof of The Shining, with all the proper Homer beats laid in, including a bunch of ghosts physically moving him to murder when he is too lazy to go himself.
In Season 4 (Clown Without Pity), Childs Play gets The Simpsons Parody treatment when a Krusty Doll goes homicidal. It ends the only way a situation like this should; the realization that the doll was set to evil.
In Season 8 (Citizen Kang), politics take centre-stage as annual guests, Kang and Kodos come to Earth disguised as Presidential candidates that they have abducted, so they can run in their place, leading to the iconic line, “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.”