Some TV shows just do Halloween better. From hilarious hijinks to genuinely terrifying horror, these Halloween-themed TV episodes make the perfect binge-able marathon to get you in the spooky spirit this October!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Halloween”
Of course, “Buffy” does Halloween right – every day in Sunnydale is a vampire-infested horror. While there are a few to choose from, the show’s most fun Halloween episode is definitely its first one in season 2, in which a spell turns every character into the costume that they are wearing. For more Halloween fun from the Hellmouth, season 4’s “Fear Itself” turns a frat house Halloween party into an actual house of horrors.
Boy Meets World: “And Then There Was Shawn”
Though this “Boy Meets World” episode is technically not centered on the holiday of Halloween, it deserves a spot on this list for being one of the most entertaining and legitimately frightening half hours of murder mystery ever. In an homage to slasher films, the whole cast of main characters gets locked in school as a mysterious killer starts picking them off one by one. Not only is it a surprisingly chilling turn from the normally heartwarming sitcom, but it brilliantly adds layers of hilarious self-referential moments about the genre, such as Cory informing the one-time side character Kenny that he’ll probably die next since the audience doesn’t know him, and a tongue-in-cheek appearance by “I Know What You Did Last Summer” star, Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Happy Endings: “Spooky Endings”
If you love comedy and you’ve never seen “Happy Endings,” then get on it right away! The cult sitcom consistently delivered more laugh-out-loud jokes in a 5-minute span than most TV comedies will do in a full episode, and its Halloween episode is a perfect example of that. From Penny and Max’s hilarious mother and baby costume to Brad and Jane’s exploration of a trick or treating nightmare in the suburbs, it’s impossible to pick a highlight.
American Horror Story: “Halloween”
The first season of “American Horror Story” was definitely one of the most genuinely nightmare-inducing shows to air, so you just knew it was going to kill it with its Halloween episode. The two-parter allows the dead to walk freely in the world (which is a big deal given that half the characters from the season are dead), and we get a shocking visit from the murdered high school students that Tate (Evan Peters) massacred.
The Simpsons: “Treehouse of Horror VII”
I mean, you could really just choose any of the annual Halloween-themed “Treehouse of Horror” specials from “The Simpsons” and find some spooky treasures, but for my money, the 7th iteration is the best all-around. All of the specials contain three segments, and for the most part, one or two of them can really drag, but VII’s slate is entirely winners. Sci-fi lovers will get into Lisa’s Twilight Zone-inspired shrinking adventure, and it brings the jokes with the still-relevant political satire of aliens Kang and Kodos running for president. But the moment of pure creepiness comes in the episode when Bart’s evil twin Hugo reappears and attempts to sew them together.
Sabrina The Teenage Witch: “A Halloween Story”
Like “Buffy,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” also loved to do a ton of Halloween episodes. Its most memorable episode is probably its first, in which Sabrina uses her magic to clone herself so she can make an appearance at Harvey’s Halloween party. The catch is that the clone is only able to say three phrases, which leads to things escalating pretty quickly.
Over the Garden Wall: “Hard Times at the Huskin’ Bee”
This gem of an animated miniseries is definitely something you should check out, especially around Halloween. The whole 10-episode story of “Over the Garden Wall” has a surprisingly dark and profound vibe for what appears to just be a children’s cartoon. Imagine if Tim Burton created his version of “Adventure Time” – it’s kind of like that. Though the whole miniseries is perfectly spooky, its second episode about ominous living pumpkins is the best bet for a Halloween watch.
Friends: “The One With The Halloween Party”
Just because it’s not scary doesn’t mean the “Friends” Halloween episode isn’t worth a rewatch this October. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the frights and just enjoy the silly humor of Rachel completely failing at interacting with children, Ross and Chandler arm wrestling, and a surprise appearance by Sean Penn.
The thing that “Community” is best at (aside from meta jokes) is spoofing film genres, and in their second season Halloween episode they take on the zombie apocalypse trope. While obviously hilarious throughout, the episode does actually manage to also be incredibly thrilling and even pretty frightening, as the study group attempts to combat their infected classmates.
Parks and Recreation: “Meet N Greet”
“Parks and Rec” had a number of episodes where characters threw Halloween parties, but, obviously, April and Andy came through with the best one. The strange but somehow perfect couple are at their best in the episode as they torture a passive aggressive Ben. Plus, there’s a really sweet and touching moment between Ron and Ann. It’s got everything you could want!
Modern Family: “Halloween”
“Modern Family” began a tradition of going all out for Halloween episodes with its spectacular first one. Claire Dunphy’s maniacal love for the haunted holiday is actually pretty infectious, and you’ll definitely be ready to start carving pumpkins or scare your family members after watching it.
The Vampire Diaries: “Haunted”
Yet another show that lends itself well to Halloween episodes, The Vampire Diaries made the absolute most of the holiday in its first season with one of its most shocking episodes ever. Not only is Elena trying to deal with the fact that her friend Vicki was turned into a vampire, but viewers are also floored by the death of someone who seemed to be set up as a protagonist.
The Office: “Halloween”
We can’t forget about “The Office” and its hilariously specific approach to mundane work parties around Halloween.
In their second season episode, the Dunder-Mifflin workers get to show off their creative flair by dressing up in costume for work, but tensions run high as Michael is forced to choose an employee to fire. It also begins Jim’s hilarious annual tradition of putting in as little effort as possible into his Halloween costume (he goes as a guy with a three-hole punch mark on his side), which culminates later on in him writing the word “Book” on his face and being confused as Bookface by his coworkers.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: “Hex and the Single Guy”
A 90’s throwback to Will Smith in his most noteworthy role.
In season 4, episode 7, Will and his family attend a séance in order for Will’s cousin, Hilary, to communicate with her fiance who had passed away.
However, Will doesn’t believe in the spiritualist guy who is conducting the séance. Therefore, the spiritualist decides to cause misfortune to their family and curses them with a hex so that they will all get bad luck.
But whenever Will wakes up, he discovers that the whole ordeal was only a nightmare, until he gets his breakfast and realizes that the previous day is starting to repeat itself.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: “Who Got Dee Pregnant?”
In this episode, “The Gang’ decides” that instead of being happy for their friend, Dee (who is pregnant), they should make fun of her.
Dee is not amused by “The Gang” and their extreme levels of immaturity, so she decides to play a little “trick-or-treat” prank on them. She decides to ask them all to recall last year’s Halloween party and to see if any of them remember being with her. Basically, she wanted to see if any of them could possibly be the father to her baby. Let’s just say, “The Gang” had a trip down memory lane, and it most definitely causes a stir-up.
New Girl: “Halloween”
Jess is beyond excited for Halloween and wants everyone to go to a haunted house.
At the haunted house, things go down.
Winston and his girlfriend have a fight, Nick accidentally hurts Jess after her costume scared him, and Jess reveals her true feelings to her casual fling, Sam, and things get weird quickly.
Lizzie McGuire: “Night Of The Day Of The Dead”
A childhood classic TV show with an entertaining Halloween episode.
Lizzie’s middle school is hosting their own Fright Night. Lizzie and Kate getting into a little fight about which one of them is going to dress up as Vampira. Miranda’s parents come to celebrate their Mexican background, by bringing in skulls and other forms of art, to represent their ancestors for El Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead).
Kate Sanders, the antagonist of the show, sees the props that Miranda’s parents brought in, and exclaims how all of it is “junk.” So Miranda tells Kate that since she was disrespecting the dead, she would feel the wrath sooner than expected.
After Miranda’s warning to Kate, the most bizarre occurrences start to take place and, ultimately, Kate experiences the scariest night of her life!