Writing from sunny LA, my pale Portland self is confused for a variety of reasons. 100 degrees in October? No rain? What is this bright, blinding orb in the sky? Is a pumpkin spice latte even appropriate? So obviously I had to get myself back into the fall mindset by focusing on Halloween. This time, I've got some of my favorite Halloween-themed TV episodes coming atcha. While the idea of a movie marathon on Halloween always appeals to me in theory, many times I find I just don't have the mental focus, or time, to watch more than one or two movies. It's during such times that the TV episode marathon is perfect. With so many fantastic Halloween-themed episodes out there, you may find it difficult to narrow down which ones to watch. Well you're in luck because I did it for you. So grab your favorite cuddle bug and get comfy.
Bob's Burgers "Fort Night" (Season 4, Episode 2)
This is one of my favorite Bob's Burgers episodes, and Halloween makes it a great excuse to revisit it. The Belcher kids and their friends get stuck in their fort and miss Halloween. But it's ok, because Bob and Linda take their costume and go trick-or-treating instead. Aziz Ansari returns as Darryl, the annoying, nerdy, yet likable friend of the Belcher children. This is also the debut of Molly Shannon's character of Millie, who is obsessed with Louise and awesome in the creepiest way. Don't worry, it's ok if you secretly like her.
Favorite Quote: "I'm sorry, it's hard for me to think when my pants are off."-Darryl
Available on: Hulu
The Office "Halloween" (Season 2, Episode 5)
There are few things in this world more frightening than a two-headed Michael Scott, especially when they start communicating with each other. Michael, being the kind, sensitive, and decisive boss that he is (note the sarcasm), waits until the last minute to fire someone. And it just so happens the deadline to do this is Halloween. And of course, the Party Planning Committee is planning a party, which they're afraid will be ruined by the subsequent firing. Michael is his usual insensitive, racist self, but somehow I still ended up feeling sorry for him at the end. That's the magic of Michael Scott.
Favorite Quote: "What are you? A Monk?" -Phyllis
Available on: Netflix
Freaks and Geeks "Tricks and Treats" (Season 1, Episode 3)
While this is one of my favorite Halloween episodes of all time, upon further examination, it's actually pretty sad. I also feel that everyone who was ever a teenager can relate to it, whether it's trying to impress new friends at the expense of those you love, or trying to resist getting older. The geeks face a dilemma we all are faced with as teenagers: when are we too old to trick-or-treat? It speaks to a bigger picture of them needing to grow up for high school, and in a rebellious state, they ultimately decide to go, with disastrous results. Lindsay, still trying to fit in with the freaks, ditches helping her mom give out Halloween candy to cause mischief with them, accidentally egging her brother in the process. It's definitely a more serious tone than most of the other episodes on this list, but equally as enjoyable.
Favorite Quote: "No, these are not bionic. These are all me." -Bill
Available on: Netflix
How I Met Your Mother "The Slutty Pumpkin" (Season 1, Episode 6)
Ted Mosby is always looking for Mrs. Right (to be fair, it is the title of the show), and this time it's at a rooftop Halloween party. Desperately searching for the slutty pumpkin he met four years ago, he continues year after year to attend dressed as a hanging chad, the costume he first met her in, hoping she'll be there and recognize him. This episode is cute and romantic in a creepy, obsessive, misogynistic kind of way, but it's still likable. However, the writers did the episode a huge disservice when they not only decide to reveal the identity of the slutty pumpkin in a later episode, but they had her played by Katie Holmes. And once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This episode was never the same after that. I know, I have intense feelings.
Favorite Quote: "Look I know the odds are the love of my life isn't going to magically walk through that door in a pumpkin costume at 2:43 in the morning. But it just seems as nice a spot as any to just, you know, sit and wait." -Ted
Available on: Hulu, Netflix (for now)
The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror XIII" (Season 14, Episode 1)
As is the tradition with "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, this episode is divided into three parodies: "Send in the Clones" (Multiplicity), "The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms" (The Terminator), and "The Island of Dr. Hibbert" (The Island of Dr. Moreau). In "Send in the Clones", Homer buys himself a cloning hammock from your typical, everyday door-to-door hammock salesmen. Homer has the idea to send his clones to do the things he doesn't want to, such as hang out with his family, cook breakfast, and kill Ned. Whoops, actually, the clone wasn't supposed to do that. And what a surprise, the clones end up taking over Springfield. "The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms" is almost too political to address right now. If we have gun control, how will protect ourselves from zombies? My favorite segment is the last, "The Island of Dr. Hibbert." I always found it humorous how accurately the writers and animators portrayed the characters as animals. Like, let's be real, if Chief Wiggum was an animal, he'd definitely be a pig. Though the family eating Turkey-Frink is a bit disturbing, as is Cow-Ned asking Homer to milk him.
Favorite Quote: "They look like you, they were rude to Patty and Selma, and the hoard has been described as very gassy." -Marge
Available on: Good luck
Friends "The One with the Halloween Party" (Season 8, Episode 6)
Joey dresses up as Chandler, Chandler dresses up as a pink bunny, and Ross dresses up at "Spud-nik". On top of that, Phoebe falls in love with her twin's fiance, and Rachel hands out personal checks to trick-or-treaters after running out of candy. Obviously this is a perfect Halloween episode. As usual, Monica is obsessing about something, and honestly, who can even keep track of her crazy anymore? And Joey is right, Chandler and Ross's trash talk is embarrassing. Be sure to tune in for the most intense arm wrestling match you will ever see.
Favorite quote: "Hey, at least you have a wife. I keep getting divorces and knockin' people up. And I'm dressed as doodie." -Ross
Available on: Netflix
That '70s Show "Too Old to Trick or Treat, Too Young to Die" (Season 3, Episode 4)
"You know what'd be fun is if we were in an Alfred Hitchcock movie right now. And we didn't know it, and then someone told us, and we were like 'oh man, I'm in a movie'." So before the Halloween-themed opening credits even begin, we already have an idea of where this episode is going. If you're a Hitchcock fan, you'll probably enjoy this episode on a slightly deeper level. Regardless, this is a really entertaining episode, even if you don't even know who Hitchcock is (although if you don't, that's a problem). Featuring parodies from Rear Window, The Birds, Vertigo, Psycho and North by Northwest. Fez also dresses as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which honestly, he kind of looks good in. Weird. And watching him channel James Stewart in Rear Window by spying on Bob from a wheelchair is hilarious. As is Kitty attempting to feed her neighbor's birds.
Favorite Quote: "Hey, you guys. You wanna go outside and watch Eric and Fez run around? Someone might get hurt. It's funny when people get hurt." -Kelso
Available on: Netflix
Roseanne "Boo!" (Season 2, Episode 7)
Ugh, that theme music always makes me feel good. It reminds me I'm in for a treat. I don't watch Roseanne often, so I get excited when I do. Roseanne is the queen of Halloween episodes, but this one is my favorite. The Connor family creates an elaborate haunted house, complete with Jackie's head served on a silver platter. This episode solidifies the fact that Roseanne and Dan are my favorite TV parents of all time. Their constant pranking is adorable, and Roseanne's explanation of Halloween is hilarious. And her costume? She's just perfect. I just wish I grew up with a haunted house like that in my neighborhood (actually I did, I was just always too scared to approach it)!
Favorite Quote: ""Do you want to go and get dressed, or do you just want to go straight to hell?"" -Roseanne
Available on: Amazon Prime
The Twilight Zone "The Dummy" (Season 3, Episode 33)
This isn't a Halloween episode, per se, but if it doesn't give you the heebie-jeebies, something is wrong with you. I've always had issues with dolls and dummies. Hell, I wouldn't even watch The Muppet Movie when I was younger because there was a dummy in it for a fraction of a second. But putting those weird childhood issues aside, this dummy is really fucking creepy. I'm just glad ventriloquism is no longer a popular form of entertainment. Seriously people, this episode is why I don't keep dolls in the house. Fun fact: The ventriloquist is played by Cliff Robertson, who plays Uncle Ben in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man series.
Favorite Quote: "Sweet dreams, Willie. Your next booking is in a fireplace." -Jerry
Available on: Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix
30 Rock "Jack Gets in the Game" (Season 2, Episode 2)
Honestly, absolutely nothing about this episode is Halloween-related except Tracey Jordan's classic song "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah". But it's seriously worth watching just for that gem.
Favorite Quote: "I'm a real good sex person. I do it all the different ways." -Kenneth
Available on: Hulu