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Espada y Escudo

Espada y Escudo

The Student News Site of Vel Phillips Memorial

IMDb’s Nine Best Halloween Episodes that You Can Binge Year-Round

IMDbs Nine Best Halloween Episodes that You Can Binge Year-Round

    It’s that time of year–the one when every show under the sun puts on their costumes and decides to have a themed episode for the spooky season. It’s such a common occurrence that it’s almost a rite of passage to make a Halloween special, particularly for long-time running shows. And while not all of them are winners, several of these episodes end up being fan favorites, or even critical favorites. There is a lot to choose from, but these ten are ones that are perfect for both the spooky season and throughout the year.

 

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester – Supernatural (8.4)

Airing in Supernatural’s fourth season, this would end up being the only true Halloween episode the show would do. Which makes sense – the show itself is already spooky with its demons and monsters. However, this was a nice change of pace, as it used a Halloween setting to invoke a plot involving witches and human sacrifice, which as we know, is a Halloween pastime for people of all ages.

      In all seriousness, it’s a great episode that also manages to advance the story as well, focusing on Castiel (Misha Collins) and Sam’s (Jared Padalecki) relationship and nicely setting up the future conflict with Hell. It’s both a great mood setter for the Halloween season and an important episode for the show’s story arc.

Halloween – Modern Family (8.4)

Modern Family would end up doing several Halloween episodes throughout its run, but the first one, simply titled “Halloween”, would be its crown jewel. Airing during its second season, the episode follows how each of the families reacts to the holiday.

     It ended up being one of the most popular episodes, much of which is due to the subplot of Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and his Spider-Man costume (which is just a delightful bit of comedy). Modern Family’s early seasons are particularly strong stuff and this is easily one of its best episodes.

Halloween Surprise – Parks and Recreation (8.6)

It took five seasons, but Parks and Recreation finally gave us a Halloween episode, and it was glorious. “Halloween Surprise” is an apt title: while it features Halloween as a backdrop, the episode is mainly about a massive, last-minute, surprise twist that’s one of the best moments of the season.

     It’s also hilarious (as expected for the show), featuring numerous callbacks to prior episodes and riffing on bad horror sequels. At its best, Parks and Recreation was one of the best shows on TV and this was just a great example of it in top form.

Summerween – Gravity Falls (8.6)

As Gravity Falls is set entirely over the course of a summer, it’s difficult on paper for it to have a Halloween episode. Regardless, the creators found an answer: just do something weird with it. Thus, we have “Summerween,” because apparently, the residents of Gravity Falls love Halloween so much that they celebrate it again in the summer.

      This madcap, surreal energy follows throughout the episode, which ends up observing Dipper (Jason Ritter) and Mabel (Kristen Schaal) as they deal with a monster who wants to eat them if they don’t fill their quota of candy despite Dipper not wanting to trick or treat to impress Wendy (Linda Cardellini). It’s just a great setup and a strong episode of the show, which isn’t surprising as every episode of Gravity Falls is a strong episode.

Terror Tales of the Park – Regular Show (9.2)

Anthology stories for Halloween are relatively common, especially in animation. Both Phineas and Ferb and Amphibia have particularly great episodes in that format (“Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror” and “The Shut-In” respectively), but it’s Regular Show that defined it for many people with its spectacular “Terror Tales of the Park.”

     This episode was so successful with critics and fans alike that they had one every following season. And while all of them are great, the first one is still the king of the bunch and contains the best balance of humor and actual scares.

Epidemiology – Community (9.2)

Community’s own brand of meta-humor, pop culture parody, and love of cinema and television meant that a Halloween episode was bound to be excellent. And while they did a couple of Halloween episodes throughout their run, “Epidemiology” is without a doubt their best one thanks to its homage to zombie films and other assorted B-movies.

     When a hazardous substance is accidentally served with tacos at a Halloween party, the study group must fend off the now sickly students, who just happen to be like zombies. It’s a hilarious premise, and the episode takes good mileage out of that fact, ending up as one of Troy’s (Donald Glover) finest hours.

Treehouse of Horror V – The Simpsons (9.2)

Even in its lesser seasons, the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes of The Simpsons are still ones to look forward to, as they allow the writers to flex their creative muscles and actually do whatever they so desire. And by most fan metrics, “Treehouse of Horror V” from the sixth of the show is easily the best of the bunch, mainly due to the writers purposefully including as much gore and blood as possible in order to anger the parents’ group.

     The result is a darkly hilarious, and genuinely scary, time that balances out the show’s trademark wit and satire with bursts of graphic violence unheard of on the show at the time. And yet, it’s so entertaining that it’s hard to look away. It’s a fan favorite for a reason.

And Then There Was Shaun – Boy Meets World (9.4)

While it may be cheesy by today’s standards, Boy Meets World was a widely popular sitcom with both teenagers and adults at the time. “And Then There Was Shaun,” initially aired in the fifth season after Halloween, and eventually became a Halloween staple due to said popularity as well as the wide critical acclaim it received.

     The episode, a parody of the slasher genre, is both hilarious and a genuinely scary time, as it has the cast being picked off one by one by an unknown assailant. While you can likely see the twist coming from a mile away it’s still a great standalone time and manages to give Shawn (Rider Strong) some much-needed development.

HalloVeen – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (9.4)

In what became one of the series’ best ongoing gags, Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s “Halloween heists” were a treat to look forward to every year (so much so that they even ended the series on one). But for most fans, the fifth one, “HalloVeen,” is not only the best of the bunch, but it might also be one of the best episodes in TV comedy history.

     By using the heist format, “HalloVeen” manages to combine emotional depth with the standard fast-paced, witty comedy the series is known for, and the final minutes of the episode are genuinely unexpected, heartfelt, and earned. It’s one of the best episodes of a series that consistently put out some of the best comedy on TV.

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