It's always fun when our favorite TV shows give us Halloween themed episodes during this fun and creepy time of year. Some shows offer us real horror, while others use the opportunity to make us laugh. There are certain Halloween episodes that I have enjoyed watching over the years that have stuck with me, and I've put together a list of ten of my favorites that I think are awesome. I didn't include Halloween specials like It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown or Garfield's Halloween Special because those was more specialized, and not really a part of a series. You can go through my picks below, and when you're done, let me know what some of your favorite Halloween episodes are!
The X-Files - "Home"
Technically this isn't a Halloween-themed episode, but it did air in October, and it was one hell of a terrifying hour of television. I mean, the show starts out with a family of in-bred freaks burying their baby alive. This was the first episode of The X-Files to receive a viewer discretion advisory warning.
When a deformed baby's body is found buried in a baseball field, Mulder and Scully investigate a family suspected of inbreeding.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - "Fear, Itself"
Every two seasons, Joss Whedon did a Halloween episode for this classic 90s horror adventure series. There were three that were released during the show's run, and "Fear, Itself" was easily the best one. It's packed full of zombies, maniacal skeletons, talking severed heads, and a bowl of eyeballs. Plus, Giles cuts through the entire house with a chainsaw!
The gang find themselves in a real-life house of horrors while at a Halloween fraternity party, in which a fear demon feeds on their individual fears. Anya enlists Giles to help her save Xander when she realizes something is amiss.
The Simpsons - "Treehouse of Horror V"
Every year The Simpsons does a Halloween "Treehouse of Horror" episode, and in all of the years that this series has been on the air, Treehouse of Horror V is the greatest Halloween episode of all time. Why? Because of "The Shinning" segment. This set the bar for every Halloween Simpsons special, and none of them have been able to live up to it so far.
In The Shinning the Simpsons become caretakers at Mr. Burns' mansion. Deprived of television and beer, Homer becomes insane and tries to murder the family; after finding a portable TV set, he returns to normal. In Time and Punishment, Homer repeatedly travels back in time and alters the future; upon failing to restore the future, he settles for a reality close to his own. In Nightmare Cafeteria, Principal Skinner begins using students in detention as cafeteria food; when Bart and Lisa are about to be slaughtered, Bart realizes it is a dream (but is then attacked by fog which turns people inside out).
Dead Like Me - "Haunted"
If you never watched the Showtime series Dead Like Me, it has to go on your list of must watch shows. I loved this series, and I wish it would have lasted longer. The show only lasted for two seasons, but it ended on a very high note. "Haunted" was the series finale, and it was incredible.
On Halloween, Rube tells George that there is a reaper legend in which that the reapers can be seen as they are when alive and, since she has been dead only a year and still lives in her hometown, George has to wear a mask to avoid being recognized by someone she knew. There is serial killer loose who strikes every year on Halloween, and the reapers must work overtime to pick up the souls of the victims. The busy workday cuts into George and Mason's trick-or-treating. Roxy dresses up as Cinderella and Daisy dresses up as a cop. Mason steals candy from neighborhood kids and reaps a small boy. George goes after the serial killer after she suspects he may be someone she remembered from her past. Joy must cajole Reggie into the Halloween spirit following a session with a psychologist. Joy and Reggie pay a late night visit to George's grave—and so does George.
Community - "Epidemiology"
Community is brilliant with its riffs on classic pop culture tropes. In their second Halloween special, the Greendale gang is thrust right into a hilarious zombie-B movie quarantine nightmare. It had all of the wonderful plot devices of a genuine zombie movie. I especially loved the Aliens inspired costume worn by Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi).
The study group is left to fend for themselves during a mysterious outbreak due to tainted food at Greendale's Halloween party.
Goosebumps - "The Haunted Mask"
Goosebumps was based on the children's horror book series of the same name, and for a kids series it was actually pretty frightening, especially this episode. It's easily my favorite episode in the Goosebumps series, which I enjoyed watching with my brothers back in the day.
A teenage girl, Carly Beth, wishes for a scarier mask to wear on Halloween and finds one at an old store. What she doesn't realize is that the mask itself is evil and has the power to take control of the wearer.
Freaks and Geeks - "Tricks and Treats"
This is one of those amazing series that was snatched away from fans prematurely. This Halloween special was only the third episode of the first season, and it played a pivotal part in the transformation of Lindsay, when she joins the Freak crew for a night of fun, vandalism and debauchery. It's a very coming-of-age chapter in the story the series told.
Halloween is coming: Lindsay wants to hang out with her new friends, her mom wants her to help pass out treats to kids. Sam at first thinks he's too old to go trick or treating, then convinces Neal and Bill to dress up and go with him. Halloween itself is a nightmare: Lindsay's going out dampens Jean's spirit, kids and their parents reject her homemade cookies, the geeks draw stares for being too old and then are humiliated by bullies and worse, and Lindsay gets in the spirit of destructive tricks only to find herself guilty of going way too far. Is there any redemption?
Angel - "Life of the Party"
Angel only did one Halloween episode during its run, and it was "Life of the Party." What I liked about this is that it went for a more comedic vibe than it did a creepy one. The result was not only incredibly funny, but the storyline also opened up a lot of craziness for future episodes.
As Halloween approaches, Lorne throws a Halloween party for all the clients and employees of Wolfram & Hart, the "interdimensional supernatural" law firm. and even gets a reluctant Angel to invite a powerful demon lord, named Archduke Sebassis, to the party.
Modern Family - "Halloween"
The moment I watched this episode it felt like an instant Halloween classic. It just has everything that I enjoy about Halloween, and the way it was portrayed in this episode was absolutely hilarious! I especially love Claire’s excitement surrounding the holiday, because that's how I feel about it every year when it roles around. The haunted house that was set up for the episode was incredibly cool too.
Claire needs the family's help to run Halloween smoothly at their house. Jay and Manny have fun at Gloria's expense, and the holiday brings back painful memories for Cameron.
Curb Your Enthusiasm - "Trick or Treat"
This is one of my favorite comedy series ever, and I had to add this episode to the list. Larry David has his own code of social principles, and in this episode he refuses to give candy to two 13-year-old trick-or-treaters because they aren't wearing costumes. To uphold the Halloween code-of-ethics the girls retaliate by TPing Larry's home, egging his windows, and spray painting "BALD ASSHOLE." across his front door. It's hilarious when he gets into a discussion with the cops about the whole "trick" part of the "trick or treat" being a threat.
Larry offends some uncostumed trick or treaters when he doesn't give them candy. By doing so, he sees the "trick" side of Halloween. Larry also alienates Cheryl's screenwriter friend Cliff, and a Jewish neighbor. Larry also spoils his romantic anniversary present when Jeff shows up to play a round of golf.