Spooky Season comes with so many horror movies, spoopy movies, and songs, but one of the best parts of the season is the Halloween TV specials. I’ve compiled a list of the shows with the best Halloween episodes so you can set the atmosphere for the lead up to Halloween.
13 Best Halloween TV Specials
1. Peanuts: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
There was no way I could make this Halloween TV specials list without including It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. This classic Halloween special has become an integral part of spooky season, and has been referenced in a slew of TV shows and movies such as Supernatural, and The Simpsons.
The Peanuts gang go to a pumpkin patch to select a pumpkin, but Linus is upset that his sister wants to carve it as he writes to the Great Pumpkin every year. Charlie, Snoopy, and Lucy don’t believe in the Great Pumpkin. Linus stays in the pumpkin patch all night, and is taken home. The next day him and Charlie share their disappointment about Halloween, but he vows that the Great Pumpkin will materialise next year.
2. Bojack Horseman: Mr. Peanutbutter’s Boos
The Bojack Horseman Halloween episode, is really more of a look back at Mr Peanutbutter’s relationships.
Bojack throws a Halloween party every year; a tradition started by Mr Peanutbutter. The episode flashes back between four different years; 1993, 2004, 2009, and 2019. Each year Mr Peanutbutter brings a new love interest, and compares them to his previous partner.
Halloween specials often break cannon, and exist in their own little bubble. For example, Treehouse of Horror episodes of The Simpsons don’t have any relevance in the overarching series. The Halloween episode of Bojack not only gives us a fun spoopy episode, but plays into the overall story of that season.
3. Futerama: The Honkening
The Futurama Halloween TV special episode, The Honkening is a nod to The Car, as well as the film, The Howling.
Bender’s uncle dies and leaves him his castle in his will. However, there’s a catch. Bender has to spend a night in the property to inherit it. After a nightmare, he runs outside and is struck by a car.
When he goes back to New New York he starts having bad dreams and waking up in suspicious circumstances. Bender learns that he was hit by a werecar, and is destined to continue to run people over, and eventually kill Fry, unless he kills the original werecar.
4. Parks and Recreation: Greg Pitkis, And Halloween Surprise
Parks and Recreation has two Halloween episodes; Halloween Surprise, and Greg Pikitis. I couldn’t decide which was my favourite so I’m going to talk about both.
In Greg Pitkis, Leslie keeps an eye on her arch nemesis teen vandal, Greg Pitkis, who graffiti’s the town statue every year. While Leslie is out, Anne throws a Halloween party, which is boring until Tom shows up and turns her living room into a dancefloor. Meanwhile, the Parks and Rec office is vandalised, and Leslie calls Greg in for questioning.
Unable to prove his guilt, Greg and a woman Leslie thinks is his mother walk free. Leslie decides to get revenge, and tee-pee his house, when Greg’s actual mother catches her. Leslie rushes to town hall and catches Greg in the act of vandalising the statue.
In Halloween Surprise, Ron and Andy, are out trick or treating with Diane’s daughters. While Andy is having a good time, Ron is struggling with parenting his girlfriends daughters. Meanwhile, Leslie and Ben’s relationship is struggling as he’s away on a political campaign. Ben comes home and surprises Leslie while she’s at a house viewing, and proposes.
5. Stranger Things: Trick or Treat, Freak
Pretty much every episode of Stranger Things is a perfect spooky season watch, but the official Halloween special for the Netflix show is Trick or Treat, Freak, from the second season.
In the episode, Mike, Will, Dustin, and Lucas arrive to school dressed as Ghostbusters to find that no one else has dressed up. Dustin and Lucas invite Max out trick or treating with them, while Will laments that Jonathan has to take him.
Jonathan agrees to leave Will trick or treat with his friends alone, as long as he’s back at Mike’s house early. With Will gone, Jonathan arrives at a Halloween party to find Nancy black out drunk after having a fight with Steve.
6. Supernatural: It’s The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester
Like Stranger Things, Supernatural is another show that feels spooky all year round. However, the show also has one episode that is especially for Halloween.
In It’s The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, Sam and Dean are investigating mysterious deaths in a small town, close to Halloween. They find hex bags, and uncover that a witch is making human sacrifices to summon the demon Samhain.
Castiel warns that freeing Samhain is one of the Seals that will lead to Lucifer being freed. Castiel brings Uriel, who does not take kindly to Sam using his powers.
7. The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: The Ghost in Suite 613
Although Suite Life is a children’s show, a lot of the humour still holds up today. The Ghost in Suite 613 became one of the most memorable episodes in the shows history.
Most Disney shows have a Halloween episode but this is one of the best Disney Halloween TV specials, if not the best Disney Halloween special.
The twins hear a rumour that there’s a ghost in Suite 613, and visit the suite with Maddie, London, and Esteban to summon the spirit.
Zack and Cody hear a rumour that says there is a ghost in Suite 613. Along with Maddie, London, and Esteban, the twins go to Suite 613 to spend the night. Esteban summons the spirit of Irene, a woman who spent her honeymoon in the suite in 1942.
8. Spongebob Squarepants: Scaredy Pants
After his shift at the Kursty Krab ends, Mr. Krabs tells Spongebob the story of the Flying Dutchman, who steals souls on Halloween. After Squidward scares Spongebob by dressing up as the Flying Dutchman, he runs home and asks Patrick for help.
Patrick and Spongebob try to scare residents of Bikini Bottom to no avail. In the end Spongebob goes more extreme with his costume, and scares the real Flying Dutchman.
Fun fact: There’s actually a Spongebob version of the Slenderman game, called Spongebob Slendypants, and it’s just as creepy as you think!
9. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Who Got Dee Pregnant?
In true, Always Sunny fashion, this episode is crude and full of adult jokes – so this is not a special for the kids!
The gang don’t care about the fact that Dee is pregnant, until she reveals that one of them is the father. Charlie, Mac, and Dennis try to recall their Halloween party where they all “browned out” to determine who could gotten her pregnant.
10. Malcolm In The Middle: Halloween Approximately
Malcolm in the Middle has two Halloween specials; Halloween, and Halloween Approximately.
In Halloween, the family learn that prior to moving in, there was a murder in the home. Hal is terrfied of ghosts, while Malcolm tries to reassure his father that the house isn’t haunted. Meanwhile, Reese is trick or treating with Dewey and Jamie, and get into a fight with another kid, while Lois is trapped in work because of a robbery.
In Halloween, Approximately, the boys are disappointed that Francis missed Halloween because he was in trouble in military school. He arrives home a week later and promises to make it up to his brothers. The boys build a massive sling shot and terrorise the neighbourhood.
Although, Halloween has more spoopy vibes, Francis’ speech where he states that Halloween isn’t a date on the calender, Halloween is in your hearts, speaks to me.
11. Community: Epidemiology
One of my favourite things about Community is that every season had a Halloween, and Christmas episode, but for the sake of brevity, I’m going to pick the most memorable which is Epidemiology.
The gang are studying in the library while there’s a Halloween party going in the building. The gang get dragged into a virus outbreak, and have to save themselves as the Dean locks them in the building.
Given the circumstances of Halloween 2020, this episode might hit a little too close to home this year…
12. Brooklyn 99: Halloween Heist
Like Community, Brooklyn 99 has a Halloween TV special every year. So rather than going through each one, we’re just going to focus on the premise of the Halloween Heist in general. Each Halloween Heist is a strong content on this best Halloween TV specials list.
Every year, the nine-nine hosts their Halloween Heist. Jake started the tradition to to help Holt loosen out and have some fun. The person who successfully steals the object of the heist wins.
13. The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes have become the most one of the most beloved classic Halloween TV specials. Starting in season 2, every year the Simpsons Halloween episode is broken up into several short stories throughout the episode. One of the most memorable is the rendition of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, but their take on It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is also a classic.
I think Treehouse of Horror is one of the best Halloween TV specials of all time!
Sticking with The Simpsons, the last level of The Simpsons Hit and Run is pretty spooky.
What are your favourite Halloween TV specials? Are there any Halloween episodes that you have to watch every spooky season?