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20. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: “Who Got Dee Pregnant?”

sunny

An episode of It’s Always Sunny that had it all – completely over the top moments of the gang ripping on Dee’s resemblance to a bird (complete with remembering her as an actual ostrich), horrifying implications (including the possibility that Dennis knocked up Dee), the Rashomon-esque narrative structure, and McPoyles being extremely McPoyle-y.

charlie

via wildcardcharlieday

 

19. Parks and Recreation: “Halloween Surprise”

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Parks and Rec has a solid history with Halloween, but it’s Halloween Surprise that takes the cake (apologies to all you Greg Pikitis/Mark Brendanawicz fans out there). Costume-wise, Leslie’s “We Can Do It!” costume is maybe the most perfect thing that has ever happened on television up to that point – until the final scene where Ben gave Leslie a surprise proposal and the apartment of her dreams. It’s almost weird to remember how soap opera-ish Parks and Rec was at times, and even weirder to remember how well it worked.

Also, Ron and Andy trick-or-treating is pretty great.

ronswan

via therandomthoughtsofawriter

 

18. Modern Family: “Halloween”

mother

While Modern Family has done a fair number of solid Halloween entries since, the original episode set the foundation for a lot of the great bits the show would play with later on – particularly Claire’s love of truly terrifying decorations. Add to that Mitchell’s desperate attempts to get out of the Spider-Man costume he wore to work, and you end up with a solid episode of a show it feels like no one has spoken of in 4 years.

teresa

 

17. How I Met Your Mother: “Slutty Pumpkin”

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How I Met Your Mother is a lot like Lost – the early seasons were great, full of ideas and promise, exploring lots of new concepts while teasing out long mysteries. But eventually the characters became grating, the mysteries got drawn out, and the answers were never very satisfying. But that’s why Slutty Pumpkin is one of the all-time great episodes – the idea of Ted repeatedly having to dress as his once-topical “Hanging Chad” costume year after year in the vain hope that he’d meet his dreamgirl once again, the allusions to Charlie Brown, and the mystery of who the slutty pumpkin truly was all made for an unbelievably solid episode.

And then the episode like 5 years later when they revealed the Slutty Pumpkin was Katie Holmes? Let’s just pretend that never happened.

ewoks   ewoks

via howimetyoureffingmother

16. The Adventures of Pete & Pete: “Halloweenie”

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Pete & Pete was basically the perfect coming-of-age show – absurdist and surreal, but always grounded in real human emotions that made the show stand out amongst its peers, especially in the early 90s. Halloweenies found Little Pete attempting to break the trick-or-treating record for most houses visited, while Big Pete struggled with whether to join the Pumpkin Eaters gang and betray his brother, and includes a great villain in “Endless” Mike Hellstrom.

“Trick or treat, gut bucket!”

 

15. Community: “Epidemiology”

dracula

Community’s first Halloween episode, Introduction to Statistics, is pretty spectacular, especially the climax of Abed/Batman pulling Jeff and Pierce from the collapsing furniture fortress – but season 2’s Epidemiology is where Community really hit peak Halloween-iness, thanks to giving into the show’s strength of mimicking tropes and formats of other media, in this case: zombie movies (with plenty of ABBA sprinkled throughout for good measure).

 

14. King of the Hill: “Hilloween”

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Hank dressed in a child’s devil costume, Dale dressing up as “a high powered Washington lobbyist peddling influence”, and ripping on nutjob religious fundamentalists? It’s perfect.

 

13. Roseanne: “BOO!”

god

For those of you who don’t remember, Roseanne was actually a pretty spectacular sitcom – and one of the first sitcoms to portray families in a less than ideal way. And in between the fights and money issues and EXTREMELY questionable overuse of Tom Arnold, there were the unbelievably great Halloween episodes. One of the more endearing aspects of Roseanne and John Goodman’s marriage was their mutual love of Halloween – the costumes, the pranks, and the general atmosphere of terrifying one another. And “BOO!” set things off to a great start, with Roseanne going to absurd lengths to prank John Goodman (and without involving Tom Arnold, to boot).

12. New Girl: “Halloween”

It was a good time for New Girl – it’d gotten out of the grim “adorkable” phase that marked its early stages, and had begun embracing the talents of its ensemble (to varying degrees of success). Between Nick’s “Bee Arthur” costume, Zombie Woody Allen, and virtually everything Schmidt says, it’s pretty great.

 

11. Louie: “Halloween/Ellie”

Like most episodes of Louie, this one’s a bit schizophrenic in terms of tone and something of an emotional rollercoaster (at least, the Halloween segment – the Ellie segment is something of a rollercoaster too, but in a less Halloween-y way). What begins as a simple “Louie bein’ a dad” plotline becomes a tense thriller when Louie and his trick-or-treating daughters are relentlessly pursued by some strangers (that kinda weirdly ends with one of Louie’s kids standing up to the punks and demanding they stop being jerks). It really does serve well as a Louie Halloween episode – it’s a parent’s nightmare, with your kids suddenly in danger and you unable to really do anything about it. It’s funny in parts, but mostly just harrowing and creepy.

 

10. Bob’s Burgers: “Full Bars”

While this is a very funny episode – in which the kids travel to a rich community island for better trick-or-treating and do battle with some older kids while Bob and Linda becoming part of a (guinea pig) murder mystery – all of it pales in comparison to Tina’s line upon watching a group of boys go skinny dipping in a pool: “There’s a lot of carrots in that stew.”

 

9. Scrubs: “My Big Brother”

Meeting JD’s older brother Dan was great, not only because Tom Cavanagh is basically perfect casting as Zach Braff’s brother (THE HAIR!) but also because it was a chance to remind us that JD is pretty competent at what he does. Sure, he’s a goof, but he’s a smart, practiced, ambitious goof who’s clearly a talented doctor – and it was that mix of goofy and intelligent characters that made Scrubs what it was.

Also, costume-wise – we had Dr. Kelso dressed as a gorilla purely to fuck with people, and JD and Turk donning pig masks and sharing a bowl of peanuts like a trough. Pretty solid.

8. Happy Endings: “Spooky Endings”

austin

The scariest thing about Happy Endings is that if it would have existed just a few years later, it probably would’ve gotten picked up by Hulu or Netflix or something and might still be airing to this day, instead of just being lamented in internet lists like this one. There’s not much to say about the episode itself, other than it was another example of the show being insanely funny and clever and has maybe the best description of Halloween ever committed to film:

“Halloween is the Super Bowl of drinking.”

“Isn’t the  Super Bowl    the  Super Bowl    of drinking?”

“No, the  Super Bowl  is the Halloween of football.”

7. Aqua Teen Hunger Force: “The Shaving”

shaving

The amount you’ll enjoy The Shaving kinda entirely depends on how much you enjoy the late night fare of Adult Swim – but regardless, the concept of a nebbish monster named Willie Nelson’s hapless attempts to frighten Carl works pretty well. Throw in some terrible injuries for Shake, Meatwad being Meatwad, and an ending that finds Carl most likely dead, and you’ve got An Average Episode of ATHF .

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6. American Dad: “Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls”

americandad

American Dad is the most ideal mix of The Simpsons and Family Guy as we’re ever likely to get – it has some level of grounding and the ability to tell complete stories (like The Simpsons) but with enough goofy, too over-the-top gags to set it apart and make it something unique. And here, it only makes sense that Stan would want to push the idea of haunted houses to the natural endpoint by filling his home with convicted serial killers.

kiss

kiss

via mostlyfilth

 

5. South Park: “Hell on Earth 2006”

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South Park is an incredibly weird show – after being on the air for nearly 20 years, it never really hit the same level of staleness that haunted The Simpsons by season 10, and it’s because of stuff like this – while half the episode tracks the dark lord Satan throwing himself a Sweet 16 birthday party in the mold of a spoiled teenager, the other half tracks three of history’s worst serial killers trying to make a cake for Satan and everything turning into a Three Stooges riff (except far, far gorier). And that’s without even mentioning Butters inadvertently summoning the spirit of Biggie Smalls and the Catholic Church desperately trying to get into Satan’s party. In the end, it’s one of the more memorable Halloween episodes on this list.

cali

4. Boy Meets World: “And Then There Was Shawn”

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Okay – TECHNICALLY this isn’t a Halloween episode, but I say it counts and this is my list so screw you. While Boy Meets World fit the mold of kid-friendly TGIF sitcom, it was a lot smarter than most shows in that category, exploring some more complicated emotional themes and winking at the audience quite a bit. While “And Then There Was Shawn” – where Shawn and Cory’s schoolmates are picked off one by one by an unknown assailant – does an expert job of turning the show into a slasher pic, it’s also doing something much deeper than what appears to be a silly one-off episode. It’s revealed that this is all Shawn’s dream in detention, and is representing his fear that he’s responsible for tearing apart Cory and Topanga.

Plus, Feeny’s dream of finally stumping Topanga is almost solid enough to get me to watch “Girl Meets World.” Not quite, but almost.

 

3. Freaks & Geeks: “Tricks and Treats”

bill

Every single episode of Freaks & Geeks is a precious rarity, meant to be treasured and loved, and Tricks and Treats is no different – hell, it deserves a lot more love, if only for making Bill dress up as the Bionic Woman. And like every great episode of Freaks and Geeks, it includes a moment that tears your heart out and harkens back to some forgotten childhood trauma – in this case, Lindsay accidentally egging HER OWN BROTHER on Halloween and the emotional fallout that results in for both of them.

But, again, BILL AS THE BIONIC WOMAN is maybe the best TV Halloween costume ever.

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2. The Office: “Halloween”

dundie

The Office’s Halloween episodes became one of the show’s staples, particularly focusing on what costumes various characters would come up with for themselves (the best instance probably being when half the office came in dressed as Heath Ledger’s Joker). But it was the show’s initial Halloween outing that was it’s most memorable – with 3-Hole Punch Jim and the relatively-show defining moment of Michael having to figure out who to fire (and constantly flip-flopping). And given this was well before Creed was defined as a character and how disposable he was at the time, it’s kinda scary how close the writers may have come to having Michael fire Creed.

office

 

1. The Simpsons: “Treehouse of Horror V”

homer

We all know that if we wanted, this list could be 80% Treehouse of Horror episodes and it would be totally justified. But in the name of fairness, we’re only doing one entry per show, so Treehouse of Horror V it is – and for those of you who DIDN’T spend literally all of your childhood watching 3 reruns of The Simpsons every single day, this is the one with “The Shinning,” Homer’s time-travel escapades with the toaster, and Principal Skinner turning the school cafeteria into a cannibal paradise for teachers. The latter two segments were the Simpsons really stretching themselves a bit and toying with going weirder than the usual direct horror movie parody in Treehouse of Horror, and the results were noticeably great, making this one stand out a little more than most.

shinning

via fyspringfield

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The 20 Funniest Halloween TV Episodes Of All-Time Ranked

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