There’s no shortage of Halloween content to watch at this time of year, and television is no exception, whether it’s providing spooky aesthetics or silly costumes. To celebrate, here’s a list of some of the best TV episodes to watch this Halloween.
“Community” Season 2, Episode 6 “Epidemiology”
“Community” turned in its strongest episodes whenever it parodied pop culture, which is never more evident than in season two’s Halloween episode, “Epidemiology.” As an epidemic spreads at the Greendale Halloween party, everyone turns into zombie versions of themselves, leaving them stuck in a “little baby quarantine.” Yet it’s not only the riffs on zombie movies that make this episode work so well but also the brilliant character work alongside it. As Troy becomes the hero and saves the day (“Troy, make me proud. Be the first black man to make it to the end.”), the episode highlights that the friendship between Troy and Abed is the best part of the show.
It’s easily one of the most hilarious episodes of “Community,” packed with so many fun details and perfected by the nonstop ABBA mix that plays throughout. Not only does it make the case that all zombie chases should be set to “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight),” it’s also strangely the most relevant Halloween episode to 2020. That is, if your quarantine featured questionable eating choices and copious amounts of ABBA. It’s ultimately a testament to “Community”’s brilliance and one of the few Halloween episodes I rewatch every year.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Season 5, Episode 4 “HalloVeen”
No other sitcom has celebrated Halloween as much as “Brooklyn-Nine-Nine,” which uses the holiday every year to perform epic heists. It’s tough picking the top Halloween episode, but season five’s “HalloVeen” just about takes the crown. Like all heist episodes, it’s completely chaotic, including pyramid schemes, a fake Gina and a crossword typo all leading to the grand prize of a cummerbund. “Or belt, as normal people call it.”. While it’s always so fun watching the cast get competitive with each other, this episode outdoes itself by having Jake propose to Amy, cementing the episode as one of the show’s all-time greats. It’s also worth it just to hear Captain Holt utter the line, “You’re not Cheddar, you’re just some common bitch!”
“Parks and Recreation” Season 5, Episode 5 “Halloween Surprise”
Not as funny as “Community” or as chaotic as “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Parks and Recreation”’s “Halloween Surprise” probably manages to be the sweetest Halloween episode I’ve seen, which is impressive considering how many fart jokes it contains. This is more of a low-key Halloween episode than the others, however, still showcases pitch-perfect Halloween costumes for its characters. It’s impossible not to be charmed from seeing the usually gruff Ron trick-or-treating with Diane and her children (and also Andy – a nice reminder of a time when Chris Pratt didn’t cause endless discourse on the internet). But let’s face it, this episode is on the list due to Leslie and Ben’s engagement (Michael Schur clearly likes Halloween proposals) and dammit if I don’t cry every time.
“The Office” Season 7, Episode 6 “Costume Contest”
One of the better episodes from the show’s later seasons, “Costume Contest” is a reminder of what “The Office” does so well. From the cold open with Stanley’s lack of observation skills to Jim sweetly wearing a costume for Pam, the episode is a perfect blend of heart and humor. Other TV shows have since upped their games for Halloween episodes, but “Costume Contest” is ideal if you just want a nice episode that features characters you know and love all dressed in silly costumes together.
“New Girl” Season 2, Episode 6 “Halloween”
“New Girl” deserves more appreciation, and “Halloween” is a perfect example of how great all the cast work together. The episode goes all out in getting the characters together at a haunted house, where complications soon occur. The episode smartly utilizes the chemistry between Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson to explore the Nick/Jess dynamic, with heartfelt and hilarious results. It’s worth watching just to see Nick Miller screaming in a haunted house. (This episode once again proves that Jake Johnson was the standout character of season two.)
“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Season 1, Episode 1 “Chapter One: October Country”
An episode that’s not from a sitcom! No other show identifies itself with the Halloween season quite like Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”. The show’s premiere, set on Halloween, suitably has protagonist Sabrina celebrate her 16th birthday, as she grapples with her life as a half-witch. With its moody score and stunning visuals, it’s hard to find a show that matches “Sabrina”’s Halloween spirit.
“What We Do in the Shadows” Season 2, Episode 9 “Witches”
One of 2020’s best shows, there’s no better time than Halloween season to start watching FX’s “What We Do in the Shadows,” following everyone’s favorite vampire roommates. The most fitting Halloween episode is season two’s “Witches,” which features goats, sperm and introduces witches into the show’s universe. As witches kidnap Laszlo and Nandor, “What We Do in the Shadows” continues to prove why it’s one of the funniest shows on TV right now, with lines such as “What goat sorcery is this?” and “The smell of beef and sulphur is overwhelming.” “That’s just Brooklyn.”
“This is Us” Season 2, Episode 6 “The 20s”
One of the few TV dramas on the list. (Seriously, do TV dramas just skip doing Halloween episodes now?) If your idea of spooky is cool costumes and an examination of family dynamics then “The 20’s” is for you. Seeing Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia dressed as Sonny and Cher is pretty cool though!
Sarah is a bookseller and English Literature graduate who watches too much tv in her spare time. Her favourite shows include Succession and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Sarah is particularly interested in period dramas and women’s history.