Like everything else under the sun, we all have our favorites when it comes to Halloween TV specials. Yes, there are hundreds, and new ones from modern shows air every year, but that has never stopped us from taking a trip down memory lane each Halloween and revisiting the ones we connected with.
Now that the spookiest month is upon us, let me walk you through my own favorites, old and new, and kick of this Halloween season right!
The Simpsons – Treehouse of Horror I
The Treehouse of Horror episodes The Simpsons put out every year are iconic to the season and always tackle the world’s most topical content with some Halloween-seasoned satire. But make no mistake, no Treehouse of Horror has been better than the first. Specifically in need of mentioning is the ‘The Raven‘ segment, where the poem is near fully recited with a raven-Bart tormenting a chamber-dwelling Homer.
The Simpsons – Treehouse of Horror V
The Shinning (No, not The Shining, want to get sued?) segment has long been a fan favorite of Simpsons fans and horror nerds alike. Unfortunately, while the later incarnations of the seasonal special have all been somewhat enjoyable, Treehouse of Horror V seems to have been the last of the iconic ones.
Bob’s Burgers – Full Bars
I love Bob’s Burgers, and this Halloween episode is one of my favorites. In it, the adults attend a socially awkward party while the kids sneak off to an island of affluent neighborhoods in an effort to fill their trick-or-treat bags with full sized candy bars. Hilarity ensues.
Boy Meets World – And Then There Was Shawn
Ok, this is cheating since it aired in Feb, but I literally have only ever seen it aired during Halloweentime in the 90s. Anyway, cashing in on the young WB stars that seemed to pepper every slasher flick in that era, Jennifer Love Hewitt guest starred in this episode that loosely mocked her own film, I Know What You Did Last Summer. Fun, friendly, TGIF nostalgia with this one.
Goosebumps – The Haunted Mask
This Goosebump’s episode freaked me out so much as a kid. Not only was it just simply dark, but there was so much eerie imagery throughout it. Like Carly Beth having a meltdown in the middle of the neighborhood, or that set of ghostly, floating, fleshy masks… NOPE!
King of the Hill – Hilloween
Probably my absolute favorite from the cartoon sitcoms category, this episode saw Hank Hill fighting for the right to trick-or-treat when a fanatical neighbor begins to convince the children that Halloween is sinful and evil.
American Dad – Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls
A fun episode where Stan competes against a neighbor for the scariest house on the block. An old cliche, holiday set-up, but still hilarious.
Roseanne – Skeleton in the Closet
The Queen of Halloween is Roseanne, and all her seasonal episodes are pure gold. But this one always stood out to me for the end “prank” and the queer inclusion throughout.
Roseanne – Halloween IV
The best of the Roseanne seasonal specials is another holiday cliche set-up, but when the Queen of Halloween is visited by the Ghosts of Halloweens Past, Present, and Future, how could you not love it?
Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Who Got Dee Pregnant?
If you don’t find Always Sunny funny, then you’re not on my comedic level. It’s raunchy, nasty, rude, and all around hilarious. Take this brand of comedy, throw in a mystery pregnancy, and dress it up with some Halloween flashbacks? It’s the best.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Halloween
There have been a couple of fun Buffy Halloween episodes, but this one stands out among them all for the idea it presented – If you were cursed to become the costume you wore on Halloween, would that be a good thing or bad thing? Cheers to anyone who dressed as Batman, sigh to anyone who dressed as a hobo. And long live Willow’s sexy ghost.
American Horror Story – Halloween Parts 1 & 2
Truly, what is Halloween without ghosts, blood, mystery and murder? Well, the Halloween episodes in the first season of AHS have them all. If you haven’t seen the Murder House season, or any of them for that matter, you’re behind on a few things, but mostly a great Halloween special.