With Halloween just days away, we decided to share some of our favorite Halloween themed episodes from television. From comedies like The Office and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to dramas like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and American Horror Story, most genres of television have dedicated an episode or more to spookiest day of the year.
“Costume Contest” — The Office (season 7, episode 6)
This is actually one of a few Halloween episodes of the iconic comedy series, but it’s definitely the one I remember most. Its collective prank on Stanley as a cold opener had me giggling like mad, and it only got better from there. Meredith’s admittedly off-putting Sookie Stackhouse? Michael’s trademark hyper-enthusiasm that carried over flawlessly and hilariously into his portrayal of MacGruber? The office uproar over Angela’s sexy nurse’s outfit? GABE AS LADY GAGA?! It was all too perfect. And that Halpert couple’s costume (which was actually a family costume, cue the “aww”s) was adorable. The mildly monotone take on Popeye was oh-so Jim, and Pam looked fab as Olive Oyl. My heart. – Alana Jane Chase
“Summerween” – Gravity Falls (season 1, episode 12)
When you make a show that deals with scary monsters every week and is set during summer vacation, how do you make a Halloween episode? If you’re Gravity Falls, you make ‘Summerween.’ Like all the best episodes of the series, ‘Summerween’ feels like a nostalgic flashback to your own childhood trick-or-treating. We’ve all felt Dipper’s difficulty of deciding if he’s too old to trick-or-treat, even if it’s hard to sympathize after the monster of the week threatens the gang. The secondary story is pretty great too, with Grunkle Stan wondering if he can still be scary when two local kids can’t been spooked. This episode even manages to squeeze in not one but two Alien-style chest bursting scenes, because this show knew its audience well. All in all, the group learns to celebrate the real point of Halloween, which of course is ‘pure evil.’ Soos also eats a guy. – Travis Hymas
“Who Got Dee Pregnant?” – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (season 6, episode 7)
Who Got Dee Pregnant?” doesn’t have a lot of the things that people expect from a Halloween episode, like candy or horror elements. However, I’d argue it’s a more realistic depiction of what some adults experience on Halloween: getting into costumed shenanigans, getting so drunk you hardly remember said shenanigans, and then trying to piece the night together afterward. As Mac, Charlie, Dennis, and Frank try to figure out which of them impregnated Dee at their Halloween party, what ensues is a comedy of errors via multiple inebriated flashbacks.
But best of all, “Who Got Dee Pregnant” represents the apex of one of Sunny’s running gags: that Dee looks like a bird. As each member of the gang tells their story, Dee’s costume gets progressively more and more aviary, sprouting yellow feathers, then a beak, until finally Dee is replaced altogether with a live, squawking ostrich.
“Who Got Dee Pregnant” serves not only as one of the best visual renditions of the “Sunny” characters’ narcissism, but also as a hilarious, yet stark reminder as to what can happen when costumes and alcohol mix. So make sure to stay safe this Halloween, everyone, in more ways than one. – Alexander Suffolk
“Hush” – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 4, episode 10)
The eyes. Those smiles. The way they float above the ground in their fancy tailored suits. The Gentlemen are the most terrifying monsters Buffy and the Scoobies have ever had to deal with, and they only show up for one episode in the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “Hush” didn’t just have scary monsters, but the entire idea of the episode is frightening. Part of The Gentlemen’s MO is to steal people’s voices, so when they cut your heart out, you can’t scream for help. The majority of the episode has zero dialogue, allowing for both comedic and dramatic moments, all wrapped up in a haunting score. One of the best thematically well-done episodes is also one of the most frightening, and we have Joss Whedon to thank for that. – Katey Stoetzel
“And Then There Was Shawn” – Boy Meets World (season 5, episode 17)
During Shawn’s detention-fueled nightmare, a masked serial killer picks off the gang one by one. Cory, Shawn, Topanga, Angela, Eric, and Jack are joined by rando Kenney and new student Jennifer Love Fefferman (portrayed by Jennifer Love Hewitt) as they attempt to escape their high school prison and survive this reign of terror. This episode, inspired by the likes of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, employs several horror tropes to great comedic effect. There are multiple unexplained South Park references, Party of Five jokes, and peppy songs with terrifying lyrics like, “Welcome to John Adams High/Where you are gonna die/Death is on the menu tonight,” making for a hilarious–yet chilling–Boy Meets World episode, especially if you happened to be eight at the time it aired. To top it all off, the episode features an epic plot twist: Shawn unmasks the killer only to find that he was the killer the whole time, killing everyone in order to bring the estranged Cory and Topanga back together. That’s one way to play Cupid, I guess. – Bri Lockhart
“Headless Cabbie” – Hey Arnold (season 4, episode 7)
Sure, when you’re a kid everything seems scary to you. The monsters in your closet, things under your bed, you know- stuff like that. But I vividly remember when Nickelodeon was in its prime, they released a number of Halloween episodes that I’m still trying to shake off.
One of the Halloween episodes I remember was the “Headless Cabbie” episode from Hey Arnold. Overall, it’s a wholesome show that has splashes of comedy, even some romance, but the backstory of the Headless Cabbie was something I’ll never forget. The episode centers around Arnold, who is having a sleepover and he tells the tale of the Headless Cabbie. The legend has it that about a hundred years ago a cabbie was driving around the park when a woman stopped him. The woman was in search of her lost dog and so the man offered to help. It was a brisk night and so as the cabbie was helping the woman out, she offered him her scarf. As she forces the man to make the cabbie go faster (while still wearing her scarf), the scarf gets caught in a tree branch and well…let’s just say, it was a bit much for a young kid to take in. But this episode was probably one, if not the, earliest memories that I had just being fascinated with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Sure, this Hey Arnold episode isn’t word for word from the real legend, but it had similar elements that I still remember to this day. – Camille Espiritu
“Halloween Part 1 and 2” – American Horror Story (season 1, episodes 4-5)
The iconic “Halloween Part 1 and 2” episodes of American Horror Story: Murder House is one of its best. The dead souls of the murder house can walk freely and decide to torment the Harmon family including couple Chad and Patrick, who were killed by Rubber Man while preparing for a Halloween party, the dead lover of Ben Harmon, the spirit of their undead housekeeper and a gang of bloodied teens killed in a school shooting. While American Horror Story is naturally scary all the time, this Halloween special brought the show’s scares to a whole new terrifying extreme. – Amanda Hayman
“Night of the Living Dummy III” – Goosebumps (season 2, episodes 24-25)
For all its hokey effects and questionable acting, the Goosebumps TV series was sporadically spooky. “Night of the Living Dummy III” was the first episode I can vividly recall terrifying me as a child. Dummies are creepy as it is but something about a horde of evil possessed puppets was unnerving. I still recall waking up late at night fearing that I would be captured by a dummy underneath my bed. Compared to most episodes, the acting was an upgrade and at times believable. Fun fact: Hayden Christensen of all people had a starring role as one of the kids (his performance was a little “wooden”). All kidding aside, this is one of the few episodes of the show that somewhat holds up today. There’s a solid sense of atmosphere and dread throughout. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, give it a revisit and tell me Slappy isn’t somewhat creepy. – Matthew Goudreau
Which Halloween themed TV episodes are your favorites? Sound off in the comments.