This Halloween, you are probably staying indoors. If you are not, here are some thoughts on why you should. Let me introduce you to a new way to entertain yourself without having a boring Saturday evening - and all without the jumpscares of horror movies, if that is not your thing. Here is a definitive list of the 7 best Halloween TV Show specials to keep the spirit alive (no pun intended). SPOILER ALERT!
7. “Halloween” Season 2, Episode 5, The Office (U.S.)
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video
Context: Michael has been told that he has to fire somebody by the end of the month. He tries to fire multiple people before the office Halloween party and in the end, lets go of Devon, who then smashes a pumpkin on Michael’s car.
I believe this is a good place to start the list because of the absurdity of everyone wearing hilarious costumes and planning an office party while the very real threat of losing their jobs looms over them.
Memorable Moment: Michael on deciding who to fire - “It's not a popularity contest. Although it does make sense to fire the least popular because it has the least effect on morale.”
6. “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” Season 6 Episode 7, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Context: Dee reveals to the gang that she is pregnant and they try to recall what happened at their last Halloween party to figure out who the father might be.
Like almost all the entries on this list, the focus is completely off the actual Halloween celebration. But this episode does this so much better than the Office. I feel genuinely invested in the mystery of who got Dee pregnant. There is an air of suspense that gives you the thrill associated with Halloween.
Memorable Moment: Charlie has no idea who “The Phantom of the Opera” is even though he is dressed as The Phantom.
5. “Halloween” Season 2, Episode 6, Modern Family
Context: Claire wants the family to help set up their haunted house before the trick-or-treaters come by, but no one feels like contributing. Mitchell has a bad day at his new law firm when he is the only one who dresses up for Halloween, and Gloria is upset because her husband and son made fun of her accent.
The lengths that the Dunphys go to to make Halloween a fun event for everybody is a great representation of how seriously this holiday is taken by so many families. And rightly so. The enthusiasm is infectious and palpable through the screen.
Memorable Moment: Mitchell in the office bathroom, hopped up on the toilet seat in his Spiderman costume while on the phone with his husband.
4. “Halloween” Season 2 Episode 6, New Girl
Context: Jess works at a haunted house and invites her beau, Sam, to tell him that they should be more than a casual fling. Schmidt competes with Robby to make his feelings for Cece evident.
Of course Jess takes Halloween so seriously! She loves the costumes, the people, the house - she’s all in. Her spirit is unmatched. That is the energy I would like to emulate every year on this holiday.
Memorable Moment: Nick goes into the haunted house, despite being deathly afraid of them, and accidentally sucker punches Jess in the face when he mistakes her for someone trying to scare him. She gets revenge later when the boys hold Nick in place and she gets to hit him. Ah, roommates - what an adventure.
(Honourable Mention: “Keaton” Season 3 Episode 6)
3. “Greg Pikitis” Season 2 Episode 7, Parks and Recreation
Amazon Prime Video
Context: A high school prankster named Greg Pikitis vandalises the statue of an old Pawnee mayor every Halloween. Along with her boyfriend who works for the police department and a newly employed Andy, Leslie Knope tries to finally stop those plans.
Leslie Knope’s enthusiasm for the protection of Pawnee landmarks and general disdain for shenanigans is why we love her. Watching the contradiction of her values go against the general majority of people’s love for having fun and pranking on Halloween is an enjoyable experience.
Memorable Moment: We are told that the old mayor has a statue because he saved the recipe for Pawnee pumpernickel from a bread factory fire in 1922. This is the same fire in which 30 people died. Mayor William Percy did not have his priorities right.
(Honourable Mention: “Halloween Surprise” Season 5 Episode 5)
2. “Mr. Peanutbutter’s Boos” Season 5 Episode 8, BoJack Horseman
Context: 4 parties in one! Mr. Peanutbutter’s past relationships are revisited in flashbacks as viewers, along with Pickles, learn about how they hit rough patches at Bojack’s annual Halloween parties.
Outside the horror, the tricks, and the treats, Halloween is all about the costumes. The animation here is well known for all the Easter eggs they leave viewers, but this episode takes the cake for visuals. Every costume is funny and purposeful. Not a single frame is wasted. Also, the origin of Todd and BoJack!
Memorable Moment: Diane having a talk with a very drunk Pickles, who is in a bathtub, about having faith in her relationship. A masterclass in being a mature adult and dealing with the growing pains of change.
1. “Epidemiology” Season 2 Episode 6, Community
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video
Context: One of the best episodes of television ever (excluding the paintball episodes). There is a Halloween party at Greendale with food that the Dean got from an army surplus store. Unfortunately, there is an outbreak of a virus from infected food that turns everyone into zombies - all set to an unending loop of Abba songs.
I truly do not believe anyone can have a differing opinion on the placement of this episode. This is Halloween done right. Zombies, costumes, Abba - it has everything. Relationships grow, heroic saviours emerge, and another story is added to Greendale’s fascinating history.
Memorable Moment: Zombie Jeff scrolling on his phone and then remaining unchanged as he turns back human.
(Honourable Mention: “Introduction to Statistics” Season 1 Episode 7)
Have you watched these great episodes? Do you agree or disagree with this list? Let us know in our DMs!