13 Epic Halloween Episodes Worth Watching Again (PHOTOS)

Evan Lewis

Clockwise from left; CBS/Getty Images, Eric McCandless/ABC Family; FOX

Lock your doors, board your windows, stockpile your candy and turn on your TV. Halloween is coming, and that means all the ghosts and ghouls will be out in full force. Why take the risk of braving the streets when you can get all the Halloween spirit you need from rewatching 13 of TV’s ghastliest Halloween episodes? Here are our favorites.

Parks and Rec

NBC

Parks and Recreation – “Greg Pikitis”

An extended stakeout by Leslie (Amy Poehler) and her timid cop boyfriend (played by Louis C.K.) isn’t enough to stop prank master and peach enthusiast Greg Pikitis from getting up to his Halloween tricks. As Leslie obsessed over preventing petty vandalism to the point of illegally detaining a minor and TPing Pikitis’s house, Ann (Rashida Jones) struggled to liven up a Halloween costume party full of doctors...who all decided to come dressed as doctors.

Luckily, the not-officially-invited Tom (Aziz Ansari) showed up in an appropriately elaborate T Pain costume to open up the dance floor and turn the party around.

How I Met Your Mother

CBS/Getty Images

How I Met Your Mother – “Slutty Pumpkin”

Back in 2001 at a Halloween party, Ted (Josh Radnor) met the perfect woman in a pumpkin costume with strategically placed holes, who he dubbed "Slutty Pumpkin." He got—and lost— her number, so he spent the next four Halloweens at the same party, dressed in the same hanging chad ballot costume (a wink at the 2000 presidential elections), hoping she would come back.

Too bad he didn't track down the sexy gourd (played by Katie Holmes) until 10 years later in “The Slutty Pumpkin Returns" episode...only to find that there wasn’t much chemistry between them after all.

Louie

Louie – “Halloween”

Louie derives its comedy from taking the surreal absurdity of everyday situations and amplifying it to uncomfortable levels. Case in point: For Halloween, one of Louie’s daughters dressed up as a fairy princess, while the other...dressed up in blackface as Frederick Douglass, because, as Louie helplessly explained to a confused shopkeeper, she read a book about Frederick Douglass.

From the silly sight gags of Lilly’s politically incorrect costume and Louie snagging a piece of candy from Jane’s bucket, the segment took a turn towards genuine menace as the sun went down and Louie and his daughters were backed into a corner by two dangerous-seeming costumed goons. Just as things began to seem oppressively dire, Jane stepped up to let the two ghoulish interlopers know that scaring people isn’t nice, and Halloween is about candy and having a nice time.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons – “Treehouse of Horror V”

“Urge to kill rising…” Choosing just one Treehouse of Horror episode to represent the 26-year tradition is a hauntingly difficult task, but the fifth installment is still a classic. In the episode’s first segment, a spoof of The Shining, “no TV and no beer make Homer go crazy.” The second segment has Homer going back in time and messing up his present timeline until he eventually lands on a new reality that’s close enough to his normal one, minus a minor mutation or two. The third segment is a play on Soylent Green, with Principal Skinner using students in detention as food in the cafeteria. Poor Groundskeeper Willie takes an axe to the back in all three.

Pretty Little Liars

Eric McCandless/ABC Family

Pretty Little Liars – “This Is a Dark Ride”

PLL is usually full of jaw-dropping revelations, and this themed episode is also loaded with enough twists and turns to fill a Ghost Train. It’s quite the party of oddly creepy masks, musical numbers by guest star Adam Lambert and just a touch of murder. After Garrett (Yani Gellman) tells Spencer (Troian Bellisario) everything he knows about what happened to Ali, he manages to get himself taken out by a mysterious masked killer. To top everything off, the episode ends with that cliffhanger of all cliffhangers: a hand popping up from the grave.

The Office

The Office – “Halloween”

Downsizing is just about the greatest horror that could befall Scranton’s comically mundane paper sales business, Dunder Mifflin. Despite having had the entire month of October to choose who to fire, Michael (Steve Carell) and his extra-large papier-mâché head procrastinates until Halloween to lay off an employee. Dwight (Rainn Wilson), channeling his best Emperor Palpatine, tries to influence Michael, but the Force isn’t strong enough.

When Michael finally chooses to fire Creed (Creed Bratton), he flat out refuses and tells Michael to pick someone else, leaving him with no other choice than to let background character Devon (Devon Abner) go. Half-hearted cat costumes and awkward office politics are good for some laughs, but one of the episode's strongest moments is the sweet final scene that shows Michael giddily handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Supernatural

©CW Network/Everett Collection

Supernatural – “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester”

The show doesn’t need a special occasion to bring out the ghosts, ghouls, witches and demons for the Winchester brothers to dispose of, but this episode takes Halloween all the way back to its roots. A witch makes two blood sacrifices in the most Halloween-ish ways possible—first with razor blades in a piece of candy and then with a boiling apple-bobbing pool—to start the process of summoning the demon Samhain, the inspiration for Halloween traditions like carving pumpkins and wearing masks (which were initially worn to appease and evade him).

Campy kills, one-liners and candy binges keep the more serious plot points, like angry angels and questions of faith, from weighing the episode down, making it just the right combination of silly and creepy.

Invader Zim

Invader Zim – “Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom”

The level of sheer depravity and misanthropy on display in any given episode of Invader Zim would be more than enough to fill the Halloween episodes of just about every other show on Nickelodeon. So when series creator Jhonen Vasquez set his mind to creating a Halloween-themed episode, things got especially weird.

As a result of super science gone awry, Dib is sucked into “horrible nightmare visions” of an alternate dimension that exists inside his unusually large head. His ravings lead his classmates to cash in one of their three monthly Crazy Cards to send him to the Crazy House for Boys. Meanwhile Zim barricades his home base against the army of candy zombies he believes are coming for his blood, but he’s eventually sucked into Dib’s nightmare world, and the two nemeses have to work together (sort of) to escape a group of grotesque Halloweenies that wouldn’t look out of place in a Guillermo del Toro movie.

Community

Community – “Epidemiology”

Put the zombie outbreak on the back burner, because there’s a crazy cat in the basement that needs to be taken care of. In the midst of a campus wide epidemic brought on by the Dean’s questionable choice in taco meat, Jeff, Troy and Abed head downstairs where they’re startled by the obligatory faux jump-scare cat. Just when they think they’re safe, the cat rockets across the screen again, and again. “Is someone throwing it?!” Troy (Donald Glover) asks.

In true Community style, the episode crams an astonishing number of horror and zombie references into a half hour comedy. The episode also has some amazing costumes, from Shirley’s Glenda the Good Witch/Miss Piggy to Senor Chang’s racist checking ice skater to the Dean’s Lady Gaga.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

FX Networks/Everett Collection

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – “Who Got Dee Pregnant?”

It wouldn’t be a Paddy’s Pub Halloween party if anyone in the gang had stayed sober enough to remember what happened. When Dee (Kaitlin Olson) tells the gang that one of them is the father of her incoming baby, they all try to piece together what happened from the bits they can remember to determine the baby daddy. A costume party remembered through the haze of time and too much alcohol opens the door to some wild inconsistencies. Depending on who’s telling the story, Dee ranges from sexy angel to squawking ostrich, and Mac, Dennis and Charlie range from suave Casanovas to drunken slobs.

Bob's Burgers

FOX

Bob’s Burgers – “Full Bars”

Every person’s worst Halloween fear is explored in this ep. For kids, that means being harassed by teenagers and missing out on candy. For adults, it’s attending an excessively awkward Halloween party with a host who’s trying way too hard. The episode gets its title from the full-size candy bars Tina, Gene and Louise get when they decide to take a ferry to the rich part of town to go trick-or-treating. But keeping those full bars proves difficult when they stay out too late and the Hell Hunt perpetrated by urine-filled-water-balloon-toting high schoolers begins.

Meanwhile, Teddy’s black and orange party turns into a murder whodunit when his guinea pig turns up dead. Teddy won’t allow any of the potential killers to leave until he’s narrowed the case down to three prime suspects: Bob’s fat suit costume, his own black and orange spray paint…and the guinea pig’s own unnaturally long lifespan.

Dexter, David Zayas, Michael C. Hall

Peter Iovino/Showtime/Everett Collection

Dexter – “Let’s Give the Boy a Hand”

Before the prospect of watching Dexter became horrifying for all the wrong reasons, there were episodes like Season 1’s “Let’s Give the Boy a Hand.” The holiday actually takes a back seat, since the premise of the show is already gruesome enough, but Dexter (Michael C. Hall) brings up Halloween as a reminder of the disguises he wears on a daily basis as he harbors his Dark Passenger. “People think it’s fun to pretend you’re a monster,” Dexter says. “Me, I spend my life pretending I’m not.” But, in the end, when he decides not to take the easy slaying offered to him by the Ice Truck Killer, Dexter proves that he’s not simply a man or a monster. He’s Dexter.

Boy Meets World

ABC/Getty Images

Boy Meets World – “And Then There Was Shawn”

A warning scrawled in blood and a pencil through the head of a high school student, followed immediately by a South Park “they killed Kenny” reference all make it clear pretty early on that this isn’t going to be your typical episode. Not even Eric (Will Friedle), who knows his horror movie clichés, is able to survive being crushed under a pile of books while trying to save guest star Jennifer Love Hewitt. The string of murders leaves Cory, Topanga and Shawn as the only ones standing. In the end, the episode turns out to be a dream sequence brought on by Shawn’s (Rider Strong) self-blame for his best friend’s breakup. Not as chilling as a real masked murderer, but pretty heavy material nonetheless.

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