There are scores of great Halloween episodes, and to rank to ten best of all time is a fool’s errand. Limiting such a list to ten episodes necessarily leaves out a great many worthy ones. So, these aren’t the “best,” they are my favorite, the rankings of which obviously contains a great deal of subjectivity. But since they are my favorite, it’s a list that’s not really up for debate. So shut your face holes.
However, it is a list that might benefit from lots of your own suggestions, so it’s a top 10 with a comment diversion flavor (you can open your face holes again). I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours. Note, however, that — though it wouldn’t rank on my personal top ten — I did specifically include a “Buffy” episode for you guys, so I’m not thrown out of a window or hooked up to a Saw-like contraption. I like to stir the hornet’s nest on occasion, but I’m not suicidal.
As for “Angel,” you’re on your own.
(And no, “Charlie Brown” doesn’t count. That was a Halloween “special.”)
10. That ’70s Halloween, “That ’70s Show”: (It’s the one where Fez discovered trick-or-treating!) The gang, looking for something fun to do on Halloween, revisits their old grammar school, where they find their permanent records. Looking through them, they find out some interesting things about each other.
9. Greg Pikitis, “Parks and Recreation”: Leslie attempts to catch a suspected teenage vandal in the act of defacing a public statue. Meanwhile, Ann throws a Halloween party, which turns out to be very boring until Tom livens it up.
8. Psycho Halloween, “Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place: (Shut up. It’s my list). It’s Halloween in this surreal episode, and Berg is working late in the hospital when Psycho Berg appears, ties him up and goes on a murderous rampage. Pete and Sharon are throwing a costume party, unaware that it is Psycho Berg with them. When they find the real Berg, they try to protect themselves from the killer by locking themselves into the pizza place. After a mix up, they must decide which one is the real Berg and which one is the killer.
7. Slutty Pumpkin, “How I Met Your Mother”: Ted heads for a party on the roof of his apartment house, where he a few years ago met a beautiful woman, which is just called the “slutty pumpkin.” Eager to meet her again, because he never had the chance to call her because he lost her number, he waits for her every year at this party.
6. Boo, “Roseanne”: (“Roseanne” always did Halloween right, but what I remember most was the image above from their first Halloween episode). 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.
5. Treehouse of Horror V, “The Simpsons” (So many. How do you pick? Well, you go with the popular suggestion, of course): In “The Shinning,” the Simpsons become caretakers at Mr. Burns’ mansion. Deprived of television and beer, Homer becomes insane and tries to murder the family; after finding a portable TV set, he returns to normal. In “Time and Punishment,” Homer repeatedly travels back in time and alters the future; upon failing to restore the future, he settles for a reality close to his own. In “Nightmare Cafeteria,” Principal Skinner begins using students in detention as cafeteria food; when Bart and Lisa are about to be slaughtered, Bart realizes it is a dream (but is then attacked by fog which turns people inside out).
4. The Boogieman, “Quantum Leap”: (One of the best “Quantum Leap” episodes) Sam leaps into Joshua Ray, a horror novelist, on October 31, 1964. As he leaps in, strange things start to happen. And it gets worse and worse… until something unexpected happens. Also, Sam’s stories help inspire a boy named Stevie, who has a car named Christine and a dog named Cujo.
3. Tricks and Treats, “Freaks and Geeks”: Halloween soon approaches and Sam convinces his friends to go trick-or-treating with him. The neighborhood reacts awkwardly to the freshmen trick-or-treaters and matters only become worse when Alan picks a fight with the gang. Lindsay agrees to stay home and hand out candy with her mom on Halloween night. However, when she gets an invite to go cruise around town with Nick, Daniel, and Kim, she ditches her mom to hang out with them. Lindsay enjoys her first taste of vandalism with the Freak gang until she accidentally takes things too far.
2a. Halloween, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”: On Halloween Buffy, Willow and Xander are “volunteered” by Principal Snyder to take groups of kids trick-or-treating. Buffy seizes the opportunity to impress Angel by dressing as a woman from the time when he was human. When most of the kids in Sunnydale magically become whatever they were dressed as, it is up to soldier-Xander and ghost-Willow to find a way to break the spell and defend Buffy, who is now a weak and frail 18th century noblewoman.
2. Epidemiology, “Community”: The study group is left to fend for themselves by Dean Pelton during a rabies outbreak due to tainted food at Greendale’s Halloween party.
1. Home, “The X-Files” (Perhaps not technically a Halloween-themed episode, but it did air in October, and it is one of the scariest hours of television ever). A baby is found buried alive in shallow ground and appears to have birth defects resulting from generations of inbreeding, leading Mulder and Scully to a reclusive family who have a history of inbred children.