Celebrating Our Favorite Halloween TV Episodes

by Shawn Laib

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday October 15, 2022
Originally published on October 5, 2022

A scene from "The Simpsons" Halloween episode "Treehouse of Horror V."
A scene from "The Simpsons" Halloween episode "Treehouse of Horror V."  (Source:YouTube still)

Spooky season is upon us once again, which means it's time for us to revisit our favorite Halloween episodes to get in a trick-or-treating mood. Our favorite TV shows have a way of showing us the best and worst parts of the holiday, but some series go above and beyond to celebrate. Put on your favorite costume and let's get started!

"Modern Family" Season 2, Episode 6, "Halloween"

"Modern Family" revolutionized sitcom television in the early 2010s with the ability to mix relevant social messaging about how families operate in the 21st century with some of the classic sitcom tropes we've all come to know and love. The show's first Halloween episode does a great job getting all of the family members into the holiday spirit, with Jesse Tyler Ferguson's performance as Mitchell shining through as the funniest in the half-hour as he dresses as Spiderman at work.

"Home Improvement" Season 6, Episode 7, "I Was a Teenage Taylor"

Tim Allen's style of comedy hasn't aged well, as he's leaned into his conservative political opinions a little too much to reach the wider American audience he did in the 1990s. Nevertheless, "Home Improvement" is classic '90s television, replete with gender stereotyping, grunting, and lots of Allen's version of machismo. Still, nobody celebrated Halloween quite like the Taylor family, and this episode is the best one from the series. Brad and Randy (Zachary Ty Bryan and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, respectively) are a little older in this episode, and it allows their acting chops to shine through more in their characters' prank war with their parents.

"Only Murders in the Building" Season 1, Episode 1, "True Crime"

"Only Murders in the Building" is one of the best murder mystery shows in recent memory. Steve Martin and Martin Short are still on top of their game, and Selena Gomez is a surprising star in the dramatic role of Mabel Mora. The show explores themes of loneliness, aging, abandonment, and sexual ambiguity. Halloween is the perfect time to see what you've been missing if you haven't taken a spin around the Arconia.

"Schitt's Creek" Season 3, Episode 6, "Murder Mystery"

"Schitt's Creek" is one of the ultimate feel-good watches of the last decade, so you'd think a Halloween episode would be in direct contradiction to what the show's themes typically are. Instead, "Murder Mystery" helps prove once again that the best shows know how to make the spooky holiday something that is to be celebrated with joy and the people we love. Their spin on the traditional murder mystery party that has occurred in so many other shows fits the Rose family exquisitely.

"Will & Grace" Season 1, Episode 5, "Boo! Humbug"

"Will & Grace'' is one of the true trailblazers of LGBTQ+ representation on TV. Although it's been surpassed with more modern programs and entertainment, it left an indelible impact on those who watched it in the 1990s, so much so that they rebooted the show in 2017. This Halloween episode from the first season does a great job of laying the groundwork for the characters we'd come to love and introducing drag queen culture to a wider audience.

"The Simpsons" Season 6, Episode 6, "Treehouse of Horror V"

"The Simpsons" is one of the most influential programs of all time, and their annual "Treehouse of Horror" episodes are some of the best in the series, especially early on in the 1990s. It's hard to pick just one of the original Halloween specials, but the fifth installment that spoofs "The Shining" is as good as any. Homer playing his part as Jack Torrance hasn't gotten old, even decades later.

"Orange is the New Black" Season 6, Episode 5, "Mischief Mischief"

Prison isn't really the place to celebrate Halloween, but "Orange is the New Black" was never your traditional prison show. The episode depicts many of the show's characters at their worst when they are permitted to prank to their hearts' desires. It also creates a discussion on how some people go too far on the scariest holiday of the year.

"Hannibal" Season 1, Episode 1, "Apéritif"

"Hannibal'' is one of the most underrated crime thrillers of all time, and it didn't really get the home it deserved on NBC. In this way it was way ahead of its time and would have probably done better in the ratings on a streaming service. Nevertheless, this Halloween everybody should take a look at the well-written and perfectly acted relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham (Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy). The pairing was also richly layered with LGBTQ+ undertones, but the storytellers behind the screen never actually pulled the trigger on it.