Posted by: Jamie | October 7, 2013

Top 10 October: TV Show Halloween Episodes

Halloween is a special time in the Barnes house. Those of you who know us know that we are obsessed with all things macabre. Accordingly, we love the time of year where our favorite television shows take on the beloved holiday and incorporate costumes, ghosts and practical jokes into their story lines. Here are some of our favorite Halloween episodes that will help you get into the ghoulish mood and perhaps provide a few goosebumps along with laughs.

1. It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (1966)

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While I realize this is a one time special that isn’t a part of a normal syndicated series, the fact that is have been broadcast every year since 1966 earns it the top spot on our list. Frankly, if there ever comes a time when this is taken off the air, I will probably send an anthrax laced letter to ABC demanding it’s return. (Just kidding Homeland Security). This sincere and heart warming 30 minute special always makes us nostalgic for a more innocent time, no matter what generation we hail from. We may have moved on to more gruesome and dark entertainment for the Halloween season, but part of us is still waiting in that pumpkin patch with Linus with childlike expectation.

2. Freak & Geeks: Tricks and Treats (1999)

This blog has expressed its undying love for all things F&G before, and every year we can’t let the Halloween season go by without sitting down to this episode. The shows ability to capture the pain and angst of adolescence while splitting your sides is paramount and this episode does a good job of juxtaposing what All Hallows Eve holds for both the geeks, who are admittedly getting too old for beg for candy door-to-door, and the freaks who’s brand of “grown up” fun is really just as immature when they decide launch eggs out of the car window and kick in Jack-o-lanterns. Classic.

3. Saturday Night Live: Various Sketches (1975-present)

The weekly late night sketch comedy program always seems to offer up some classics every year when the pumpkins and monster costumes come out. Like trick or treating in your neighborhood, it’s a mixed bag of laughs and near misses, but mostly it’s an7e31edce44b8026c10bc895a93681901 enjoyable time to tune in and see what the show and it’s cast of characters will come up with. Whether it was Wayne & Garth counting down the most babe-a-licious Halloween costumes, Kat & Garth tripping through one of their seasonal songs ,or Phil Hartman as Frankenstein, the goodies will usually delivered. Every year when we contemplate what we are going to wear, we can’t help but consider Adam Sandler’s advice when he suggested Crazy Pickle Mustache Guy as an option. While this blog’s favorite remains recently departed cast member Bill Hader doing a fantastic impression in Vincent Price’s Halloween Special, here is a good list of some of the most memorable Halloween skits from SNL.

4. Diff’rent Strokes: A Haunting We Will Go (1984)

Not every Halloween episode moves to the beat of just one drum. The movie Ghostbusters had just been released and seemingly had a big influence here. The big bonus to this particular episode was the guest star power of John Astin (Addams Family) and the incomparable Ray Bolger (Wizard of Oz’s Scarecrow). Basically Arnold and his annoying redhead step-brother Sam investigate a house that is supposedly haunted. Blah, blah, blah…slime, scare, ahhh!….”what you talkin’ about ghosts”….all of it makes for a spectacularly spook filled Diff’rent Strokes.

5. The Simpsons: TreeHouse of Horror (1990-infinity)

Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without a trip to the Treehouse. These special segments have been airing annually ever since the 2nd season and always provide a ton of laughs, a lot of nerdy salutes to some classic and beloved cult horror films and a lot of cartoon gore. There are essentially no rules when these are written and brought to life, so the body count is always high in Springfield this time of year. To list and talk about all the various segments over the years would take forever to scroll through, so I’ll just list of a few of our favorites include “I Know What You Diddily-Iddily-Did”,  “It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse” and this year’s twisted Dr. Seuss homage “Oh, the Places You’ll D’oh”. Above you check out this year’s wonderfully macabre opening sequence directed by horror master Guillermo Del Torro, with special appearances by many of his own creations such as Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth.

6. Community: Introduction to Statistics (2009)

Our favorite underachievers know how to trick or treat. Annie throws a Day of the Dead party, Jeff tries to bag one of his professors, Pierce (dressed as The Beastmaster) has a bad trip after ingesting some sort of psychotropic drug and gets trapped underneath a desk fort and is eventually saved by Batman. I mean Abed. This show is pretty consistent, and despite always seeming to be on the bubble at NBC, remains one of the most cleverly written comedies currently on TV. Let’s hope there are many more Community Halloween episodes to be had.

7. Roseanne: Boo! (1989)

Blue collar people do Halloween right. It’s just a fact. The tackier, the scarier and the more crass the better. And Roseanne was tacky. And loud. And they did Halloween right. This episode is more on target with how I remember Halloween being in the neighborhoods I grew up in.

8. How I Met Your Mother: The Slutty Pumpkin (2005)Slutty_Pumpkin

The writers at HIMYM started to gain some momentum into the opening season and this was about the time America started realizing Ted & his friends probably deserved a spot in our nightly viewing. Granted the references to the Peanuts special is another reason this one is endearing, but Ted abusing an old joke returning year after year as a “hanging chad” in hopes of being revisited by the sexy spectre that has haunted his dreams is pretty darn funny.

9. The Cosby Show: Cliff’s Mistake (1989)

The impact of this singular television episode would be huge on my life. Witnessing the Huxtable children construct a haunted house in their basement would from thereon be my ultimate dream. This is also a funny one due to the guest appearance by Wallace Shawn (inconceivable!) as a neighbor who reluctantly loans his power drill to Cliff who, of course, misplaces it. Check out the full episode below:

10. Quantum Leap: The Boogeyman (1990)

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Sam leaps into the body of a horror novelist in 1964. Al has a devil twin. Honestly, my wife wouldn’t let me publish this list without including this one. Her obsession with Dr. Beckett knows no end. I could’ve listed the countless Home Improvement episodes where Tim “the Toolman Taylor” tries to construct some sort of scary project and fails, or the Webster episode where him, Georg and Ma’am move into the old house with the secret passage ways. But no. I love my wife. And she loves Quantum Leap. Besides, this is our shared Blog. So..here you go.

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Responses

  1. Every October I watch happily as the Barnes family shares their joy for Halloween. This post is a great example (I especially echo numbers 1, 5, and 7… I so grew up on these). You guys rock.

  2. Okay. So I love all the Halloween episodes of Roseanne and Home Improvement…probably because I’m blue collar. But the one that grabbed my heart was #10. I love that episode and the twist at the end! One thing I do at work or anywhere…sadly, but proudly… is quote the opening to Quantum Leap from memory. It’s a rare talent…but someone should do it. I still like to think that Dr. Sam Beckett is still out there somewhere striving to put right what once went wrong.

    • Jeremy! I can quote the opening to Quantum Leap too! Check out our blog from Oct 1st–I wrote out the intro from memory!!! It IS an amazing talent. 🙂
      Also, blue collar shows make the BEST Halloween episodes, because blue collar families celebrate the holiday in the best way. My family is proof of that!

      • Oh wow. Or should I say, “oh boy.” I have never met anyone that can do this! It makes it more awesome that it’s you! It’s one of my favorite shows that I miss of all time too. I’m not sure how cheesy a reunion/movie would be, but I would love to see one! And I find that when I quote it to people, they are either lost, surprised, or annoyed (mostly that response is my wife’s).


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