Get in the spirit of Halloween with your favorite shows.
Some of the best moments in television are those that test the limits of their material, experimenting with new ideas and storytelling modes while still maintaining a recognizable through line. Which is why special event episodes of TV tend to be some of the most memorable.
Especially during the Halloween season. Particularly in comedy, having Halloween episodes gives creators some room to experiment with their show format and pay homage to classic horror while staying true to the tenets of established shows. To help you get in the spirit of the season, here are some of the best Halloween episodes you can stream right now.
**Note: These are ranked in order of original air date**
Bob’s Burgers – “The Hauntening” S6E3
Available on: Hulu
The charm of Bob’s Burgers lies within its main characters. Quirky, endearing, and easily likable, the Belcher family is one that — despite their goofy hijinks — always brings things back to a loving, personal note.
The Hauntening is no exception to this, portraying a story about the inherent disappointment in growing up and the way our loved ones can often surprise us. Jaded about the lack of surprises in Halloween, Louise begins to swear off the holiday altogether. Determined to make the holiday special for her again, Bob and Linda set off to create a haunted house that will spook her and the other kids back into loving Halloween again. Things don’t go as planned, and the story spins out into a genuinely heartfelt and thrilling episode.
Community – “Epidemiology” S2E6
Available on: Hulu
Bad taco meat leads to disaster when a zombie outbreak strikes during Greendale’s Halloween party. Thankfully, everyone is saved from permanent effects with the unfortunate side effect of not remembering anything.
Community has forged an identity on quirky characters within a relatable setting, which it leverages in this episode to great effect. On top of maintaining its strong character dynamic, this episode also manages to upend traditional tropes and genre conventions for zombie films with a fresh and faithful re-imagining we’re still going back to today.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” S6E7
Available on: Netflix
Always Sunny is a show about the very worst people doing reckless things out of selfishness and immaturity, as shown so perfectly in the Halloween episode where the guys find out Dee is pregnant and attempt to figure out who the father might be.
The fact they aren’t aware of her current physical state until this point is made worse by their reaction to immediately jump to wondering which of them could be the father. Of course, Dee is partially to blame in this episode, as she’s the one who initially leads the guys into believing the baby might be theirs.
Ultimately, “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” is a great Halloween episode because it combines elements of both Always Sunny’s nihilistic and darkly comedic premise with one of the most terrifying prospects of all: parenthood and the serious commitment it asks of a crew who struggles to keep even their thin friendships intact.
Modern Family – “Halloween” S2E6
Streaming on: ABC.com
Modern Family’s is less of a Halloween special and more of a heartfelt look at what the holiday means to so many within its eponymous family. Phil and Claire wrestle with insecurity within their relationship, Gloria attempts to improve her American accent while Mitchell helps Cameron deal with his fear of Halloween after learning the hard way that it’s not always acceptable to wear a costume in the workplace.
Modern Family’s episode isn’t centered on horror, nor is it a grand parody of some great horror work that came before. Instead, it’s a reminder that Halloween — like so many other holidays — is about fun, togetherness, and enjoying each other’s company despite the complexities of the world we live in.
Parks & Recreation – “Greg Pikitis” S2E7
Streaming on: Netflix
Parks and Recreation is brightened single-handedly by the eternal optimism of Leslie Knope and her obsession with making the town of Pawnee, Indiana into the finest city in America. She’s particular in her love of the town, going to great lengths to make sure everything is the best it possibly can be.
Which is why, when one kid decides to vandalize city property every year on Halloween, Leslie makes it her personal quest to catch him and bring him to justice.
Of course, catching a teenager in the act of vandalism is difficult when the kid is cunning and your best friend is throwing a big Halloween party on the same night. But, Parks and Recreation is at its best when it’s showing lovable characters in complex situations, and “Greg Pikitis” stands out as one of the series’ highlights.
The Office – “Halloween” S2E5
Streaming on: Netflix
The awkwardness of office life is made doubly weird when Halloween comes around, and true terror strikes when Michael is forced to fire someone on staff. Feeling awkward and terrified of the idea of letting someone go, Michael faces the horrors of making big decisions and living with their consequences in this particularly bittersweet episode.
Plus, it has Dwight dressed as a Sith Lord, which alone makes the entire episode worth watching.
Freaks & Geeks – “Tricks and Treats” S1E3
Streaming on: Netflix
At its core, Freaks & Geeks is a show about the painful, awkward, and often bittersweet realities of growing up. And, being that Halloween is a holiday often catering toward children, there are few times when a Halloween episode doesn’t single-handedly illustrate the challenges of growing up through the context of celebrating on All Hallow’s Eve.
Parents feel their children slipping away and changing, children feel pulled away from the world they once knew so well, and siblings wind up hurting each other in an episode that simultaneously stings and tenderly embraces its viewers.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Fear, Itself” S4E4
Streaming on: Hulu
Fear becomes reality in this genuinely creepy episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While wrestling with the complexities of adult relationships, Buffy finds herself trapped in a frat party gone wrong, with a demon causing hallucinations, apparitions, and all manner of horrors to run loose throughout the house.
Buffy is a horror-adjacent comedy/drama series with occasional moments of creepiness and despair, but the heroine being a wholly able, kick-butt protagonist does away with a lot of the tension found in traditional horror fare. This episode stands out above the others by virtue of it having actual scares and an unsettling, atmospheric feel unique to only a handful of episodes throughout the series.
Boy Meets World – “And Then There Was Shawn” S5E17
Streaming on: Hulu
While not technically a Halloween episode, this is one of the more memorable one-off stories in the series. Things go horribly wrong after the group is sent to detention, after which point they find themselves trapped in a murder mystery full of gruesome (and silly) deaths, celebrity cameos, and a playful take on conventional horror tropes that stayed true to the lighthearted tone of Boy Meets World while also delivering a unique special episode.
The Simpsons – “Treehouse of Horror V” S6E6
Streaming on: fxnetworks.com
The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror episodes are usually solid parodies of famous horror features, but V will forever be special for its homage to The Shining, the brilliant exploration of Homer’s time-traveling buffoonery mixed with the consequences of The Butterfly Effect, and the sick, darkly comedic portrayal of teachers eating naughty students to help clear out the bad eggs at Springfield Elementary.
The Simpsons has long been one of the most beloved and widely recognized animated television shows in TV history, and the Treehouse of Horror shorts continue to regularly be some of the very best parodies on television.