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Halloween TV Guide
October 10, 2011

Best Halloween TV Episodes & Specials of All-Time

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Halloween is one of the best times of the year, especially on TV. For decades, TV series have included annual Halloween themed episodes during their seasons as a fun way to pay tribute to this fun-filled holiday. Made-for-TV Halloween specials have also aired over the years with many of them becoming timeless classics we watch year after year.
While some of these programs can be "spooky" at times, most have fun and lighthearted story lines that pay homage to October 31st. To celebrate, our editors have gone to the vault to compile a list of our favorite Halloween TV episodes and specials that have aired in primetime. These rankings are in no particular order, but highlight some of the spookiest and funniest moments in Halloween TV history!

What are your favorites? Which ones have we missed? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

"BOO!"

Roseanne - Air date: 10/31/89
This is the original in what became a tradition of clever Halloween episodes for the series. This also happens to be Season 2, arguably the best season of the show. It has everything that made the show great, from Roseanne's unique parenting style, to the dynamic and bantering relationship to her and Dan, and as always, the woes of living the working class life. The first of the annual Halloween episodes finds Roseanne doing her best to scare Dan who is waiting to hear about an important business deal going through.

"The Haunted House"

The Andy Griffith Show - Air date: 10/7/63
Beware that old Rimshaw house! Opie and his pal hit a ball into the decrepit manor. They hear eerie noises inside. Andy sends Barney and Gomer to investigate, and those two get spooked as well. We won't give away the ending, but anyone who's watched Scooby Doo can surmise it's not supernatural.

"Trick or Treat"

The Beverly Hillbillies - Air date: 10/31/63
This early episode, the sixth overall, has a premise that seems unlikely to modern ears: The Clampetts have never heard of Halloween. The new Beverly Hills residents make the rounds to meet neighbors and are delighted to earn candy along the way.

"Fat Albert's Halloween Special"

Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids - Air date: 10/24/77
Rudy and his new friend Devery plan to spend Halloween playing practical jokes on the elderly. They both take aim on Mrs. Bakewell, an old widow living in a spooky house by the graveyard. But the kids get the ultimate scare when two of them don't return from "trick or treating!" Did Mrs. Bakewell have something to do with their mysterious disappearance?

"A Dark and Stormy Night"

Family Matters - Air date: 10/28/94
Fans of Family Matters remember "A Dark and Stormy Night" in which Richie is disappointed because he can't go trick-or-treating. To make it up, Steve, Waldo, and the Winslows cheer him up by weaving a 19th century tale about the Duke of Urkel's battle against a vampire family, the Von Winslows.

"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"

Air date: 10/27/66
It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! is synonymous in our minds as the definitive Halloween TV show. Whether you're watching it as a kid, as a parent with your own child, or somewhere in between, It's the Great Pumpkin is the kind of TV special that continues to appeal to all generations since its original 1966 airing.

Linus's steadfast belief that the Great Pumpkin exists and will show up in the pumpkin patch exemplifies the earnest faith that children possess -- that magic is real, that anything can happen if you believe in it. And his experience as the sole believer in the Great Pumpkin leads to classic lines that seem tailor-made for adult viewers, as they fly over the heads of any adolescent viewers. For example, Linus stating that "There are three things I've learned not to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin." And then, after waiting fruitlessly in the pumpkin patch, missing "trick-or-treats," Sally screams at Linus that "You owe me restitution!" As a kid, you have no idea what they're talking about, as an adult you do -- in either instance, it's entertaining.

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"Trick or Treatment"

M*A*S*H- Air date: 11/1/82
It's time for the annual 4077th Halloween party. Hawkeye is dressed as Superman, B.J. is a clown, Margaret is a geisha girl, Colonel Potter is a cowboy and Klinger is Al Capone. But it's not much of a party for the surgeons when unexpected wounded guests show up; Charles tries to help a slovenly marine who has a billiard ball stuck in his mouth; Father Mulcahy inadvertently saves a man's life when he is presumed dead.

"Fairy Tales Can Come True"

Cheers - Air date: 10/25/84
Cliff dresses up at Ponce de Leon for a party at the bar, where he meets a lovely Tinkerbell. They make a date, but Cliff is afraid of what she'll think of him when he's a regular old mailman, not a masked Spanish explorer. Cheers would continue to slip into the All Hallows' Eve spirit in subsequent seasons with "Diane's Nightmare" (1985), "House of Horrors with Formal Dining and Used Brick" (1986) and "Bar Wars V: The Final Judgement" (1991).

"Halloween"

Beverly Hills, 90210 - Air date: 10/31/1991
One thing about Halloween parties on TV is the array of costume ideas viewers can obtain. This episode of 90210 is no exception. Perhaps the funniest parts are when Donna is shown constantly stumbling in her mermaid costume… leave it to Donna. Ultimately though, this episode brings about the serious issue of rape when Kelly shows up in a revealing "friendly witch" costume and catches a college student's attention. Fortunately, Donna and Brenda come to her rescue and Steve's fist makes contact with the guy (Shocking!). One thing missing from the party: Brandon Walsh.

"Hex and the Single Guy"

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - Air date: 10/25/93
This episode is the epitome of unrealistic entertainment, as the entire episode takes place in Will's dream. With Hilary's insistence, the family visits a psychic who is supposedly able to reach out to Hilary's late fiancé, Trevor. When Will disbelieves the psychic's abilities, a curse is brought upon the whole family and inevitably, they all blame Will. The ridiculous hexes the family members encounter paired with Carlton's portrayal of Macaulay Culkin made for a Halloween episode that was literally out of this world.

"The Haunting of Taylor House"

Home Improvement - Air date: 10/28/1992
The little details are what make this episode hilarious. Keep in mind: Most of this occurs during Tim's "Catacombs of Terror," his version of a haunted house. When Brad's girlfriend Jennifer shows up to the house with another boy (the two are even dressed alike), Tim makes it his mission to scare him the most. Solely with Tim dressed as a woman, Jill as a carrot, Brad as Raggedy Andy (a "doll") and Mark as his father, there is no reason this episode would go without laughter. And, did anyone else catch Wilson's carved pumpkin… of himself?

"The One with the Halloween Party"

Friends- Air date: 11/1/2001
A typical episode of Friends with uptight Monica and Chandler's one-liners, this episode truly relied on the characters' Halloween costumes to get laughter. Although the three women were not dressed very uniquely, the men sure made up for it. With Sputnik "Doody" Ross and Chandler the pink bunny arm wrestling, and Joey coming dressed as Chandler, this Halloween episode is not surprisingly in the top three.

"Halloween - Addams Style"

The Addams Family - Air date 10/29/65
The Addams family has prepared for an evening of fright, for it is their favorite holiday, Halloween. As Gomez carves the jack-o-lantern and Grandmama takes Pugsley and Wednesday out for a night of trick-or-treating, two bank robbers, on the run from the police, decide to hide out at the Addams home.

"Trick or Trick"

CHiPs - Air date: 10/21/78
Thirteen black cats jump from a van in front of Ponch, kicking off an array of lighthearted Halloween capers. The saddlebags are filled with candy and costumed kids — sporting some great boxed Ben Cooper costumes of the era — are about. It all makes for one of the most enjoyable CHiPs outings.

"Halloween"

Mr. Belvedere - Air date: 10/31/86
George is to become a member of The Happy Guys of Pittsburgh but on the night of the induction, which happens to be Halloween, George and Marsha discover the Happy Guys have a dark side. Meanwhile, Mr. Belvedere shows a different side after he goes wild toilet papering a house while trick or treating with Wesley.

"V is for Vampire"

F Troop - Air date: 2/2/67
While it did not originally air in October, this Fort Courage romp certainly gets in the spirit of the holiday with guest star Vincent Price, who plays Transylvanian emigrant Count Sforza.

"Halloween"

The Cosby Show - Air date: 10/31/85
While a reluctant Cliff dresses up to take Rudy and her friends trick or treating, Vanessa hosts a Halloween Party. She is thrilled when Robert, the cutest boy in school shows up and spends the majority of the night using her friends Janet as a go-between with one of Robert's friends because neither of the two want to admit they like each other till they know their feelings are returned.

"Trick or Treat"

Bewitched - Air date: 10/28/65
In the second Halloween episode of the series, Endora turns Darrin into a werewolf when he refuses to let Samantha go to a witches' Halloween ceremony.

"Fright Night"

The Brady Bunch - Air date: 10/27/72
This episode originally aired in October, 1972 and although Halloween wasn't mentioned in the theme, it was definitely a spooky episode. The Brady kids take to playing scary pranks on each other, but when their parents (Robert Reed and Florence Henderson) tell them to stop it, they decide to team up and scare the heck out of Alice (Ann B. Davis), the family housekeeper. The prank backfires and a disaster occurs, at least by Brady standards.

"Stevil and Stevil II"

Family Matters
"Family Matters" gives us two excellent Halloween episodes entitled Stevil and Stevil II. They center around Stevil, an evil a ventriloquist dummy who haunts Urkel and in the sequel is accompanied by a Carl Winslow-dummy named Carlsbad.

"A Disney Halloween"

First airing on the Disney Channel in 1983, this special featured "Night on Bald Mountain," "The Skeleton Dance," "The Old Mill" and a plethora of Disney villains. It was hosted by the Wicked Queen's Magic Mirror.

"Haunted House"

Laverne & Shirley
Laverne and Shirley and Lenny and Squiggy head to a supposedly haunted Ramsdale Manor for a couch. Shirley warns, "Beware the legend of the Ramsdale Hairy Thing!"

"Haunted"

Happy Days - Air date: 10/29/74
This 1970's series about the 1950s' featured several Halloween episodes, but this episode from the second season reigns as a classic. Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) is nervous about going to his buddy Ralph's Halloween party, which is being held at the old Simpson house, allegedly home of the headless ghost old lady Simpson.

"Seven Little Indians"

The Facts of Life
"The Facts of Life" gives us a cross between a horror movie and the "Twilight Zone," where a Rod Serling lookalike narrates as the girls are killed off one-by-one and Tootie is left to face the killer. We're sure one look at her haircut sent him screaming into the night.

"Halloween is Grinch Night"

Halloween is Grinch Night" is the Halloween equivalent of the Grinch stealing Christmas. When the sour-sweet wind blows, the Grinch comes down from his mountain to terrorize the Whos of Whoville. Young Euchariah Who thwarts the Grinch's plans, all the while going on what might be an LSD-fueled adventure of horrors in the Paraphernalia Wagon (which is surprisingly NOT a white, windowless van).

"The Ghost Next Door"

My Three Sons Air date: 10/25/62
Chip and Sudsy spot a mysterious figure carrying a candle in a supposedly empty house. Spooky! In a later episode, "Monsters and Junk Like That," father Steve is stuck wearing a costume of a Tin Man.

"SNL Halloween Specials"

"Saturday Night Live" has given us Halloween gold over the years. Our personal favorite is Adam Sandler's cheap Halloween costume bit from Weekend Update.

"The Halloween That Almost Wasn't"

In "The Halloween That Almost Wasn't," a Halloween special from 1979, Dracula, hilariously played by Judd Hirsch, hears rumors that Halloween may end, so he gives his monsters (the witch, the mummy, the wolfman) an ultimatum: either get their scary image back or leave his castle for good.

"Garfield’s Halloween Adventure"

Before Jim Davis’s lethargic feline had his own Saturday morning cartoon, he graced the small screen in a series of primetime specials including this 1985 fright-fest. Garfield’s Halloween Adventure finds Garfield and Odie discovering a mansion haunted by ghostly pirates searching for a long-buried treasure. While certainly spookier than your typical Scooby Doo villain, they ain’t exactly Captain Barbossa. The aged cabin boy who relates the tale of their blood oath, on the other hand, is moderately terrifying.

"Catspaw"

Star Trek Air date: 10/27/67
With a character named Bones, Star Trek seemed obligated to do a Halloween episode. Sure enough, as Dr. McCoy explains, this lighter entry into the canon features "Three witches... what appears to be a castle, and a black cat." Korob, a sort of space wizard who is really a blue shrimp-chicken creature, toys with the enterprise crew with his shape-shifting catwoman, Sylvia. "He doesn't know about trick or treat," McCoy sarcastically notes. "I do not understand that reference," Korob replies. Halloween never made it to planet Pyris VII.

"Disney’s Halloween Treat"

Originally aired as a part of The Wonderful World of Disney anthology, Disney’s Halloween Treat is essentially a highlight reel of Disney’s most sinister and supernatural moments, as well as a veritable love letter to the villains of yore. And while Captain Hook and Cruella certainly hold their own, the show is handily stolen by the inclusion of the epically animated Night on Bald Mountain sequence from Fantasia and the comically dire Headless Horsemen versus Ichabod Crane sequence cribbed from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.

"Bugs Bunny’s Howl-o-ween Special"

This Looney Tunes special from 1978 similarly collects a number of classic clips with a shared focus on supernatural slapstick. These toons are tied together by vignettes featuring the character Witch Hazel, complete with her trademark flying hairpins. Several of this special’s finer moments (including Bugs’s dual with Count Blood Count) are also included in the Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters compilation.

"The Halloween Tree"

While based on the 1972 novel of the same name, this animated special didn’t appear until the early nineties. It is of particular note due to its geeky pedigree, as the cartoon features the voices of acclaimed author Ray Bradbury, the writer of the book, as narrator and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Moundshroud. Therein the sinister Moundshroud takes a group of neighborhood friends on a dazzling adventure through time to uncover the origins and influences of Halloween, while the life of one of their own hangs in the balance.
Viewed 23600 times Last modified on October 7, 2016

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