Best Halloween TV Episodes
With Halloween right around the corner, some of the members of our CommRadio Arts Department wrote about the best Halloween-inspired television episodes to get everyone in the mood for this year's festivities.
“Halloween”- Season 1 Episode 6 “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
It’s hard to think of another show that has created as legendary an association with Halloween as “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and its iconic Halloween heists.
These heists that occur once a season have resulted in some of the show's funniest and most heartwarming moments.
From running gags that get more absurd each year, an iconic proposal and endless surprises, the Halloween heist is so integral to “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” that the series ended with one final heist.
While which season's heist is the best may be up for debate among “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” fans, the legacy of it wouldn’t be possible without the perfection of the episode with the first heist, “Halloween.”
The episode surrounds Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) making a bet with Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) that he would be able to steal his Medal of Valor by the night's end.
This episode is a masterclass in subverting expectations, relying on the audience's ideas of what Peralta and the squad are already like to create a phenomenal surprise and an exceptionally fun episode.
“Halloween” is the type of episode that makes viewers wish they could watch it again for the first time. It’s a perfect episode that sets up, arguably, one of the best recurring bits in sitcom history.
- Sophia D’Ovidio
“This Is a Dark Ride” - Season 3 Episode 13 “Pretty Little Liars”
"Guess who won't be making it to the end of the line?” - A.
“This is a Dark Ride” is a Pretty Little Liars Halloween episode. Released in 2012, it is Episode 13 of Season 3, and was originally part of ABC Family’s “13 Nights of Halloween”.
Packed with a night of chaos, “This is a Dark Ride” has everyone biting their nails.
Known for creating thrilling, scary episodes, “Pretty Little Liars” didn’t hold back for its Halloween special. The opening scene shows a mysterious Mona painting a mannequin head in the insane asylum. She describes why she loves Halloween and that “this will be the best Halloween yet” to a hooded and disguised figure.
The camera then changes scenes to the four liars: Hanna, Aria, Spencer and Emily, who are discussing their costumes for the Halloween party that night on the Ghost Train. After being released, Garrett continues to find a way to show up and he goes to Spencer’s to try and explain himself, but is told to leave by Toby, Spencer’s boyfriend.
The girls now make it on the train, both Hanna and Aria without dates, the night starts well with them dancing and having a good time. A solo Aria is so swept off her feet talking to the lead singer of the band performing that she doesn’t even notice her drink being drugged. The camera cuts away to show a nurse checking on Mona in bed…except she’s not in bed. Could Mona be on the train? The rest of the night, the girls are running around looking for Aria who they luckily “save” just in the nick of time.
Oftentimes, shows find a hard time sticking to their original storyline when doing holiday specials. “Pretty Little Liars,” however, transitions perfectly into a thrilling episode perfect for the season. This episode answers lots of questions for fans and leaves them asking for more.
With a night full of confessions, strange “coincidences” and suspicious trick-or-treaters, “This is a Dark Ride” perfectly enhances the plot line of Pretty Little Liars while providing a scary Halloween special for fans.
- Vanessa Wasden
“Trick or Treat, Freak” - Season 2 Episode 2 “Stranger Things”
“Stranger Things” is certainly no stranger to spookiness, but the Season 2 Halloween episode is one of the best of all time.
It begins with Eleven scaring the living daylights out of Hopper in a makeshift ghost costume. It’s funny to see such a serious character comically hidden beneath a sheet with cut-out eye holes, trying (and failing) to go outside since the “bad men” wouldn’t recognize her.
The D&D party dress up as the Ghostbusters, and Mike and Lucas get into a fight over who claimed Bill Murray’s Venkman first. However, their fight doesn’t last long when they realize they are the only ones in costume at school.
Later on in the night, trick-or-treating plans go awry when Max joins the party in a Michael Myers mask angering Mike, and Will has a vision of the Upside Down.
This episode is also the unfortunate end of Steve and Nancy’s relationship after Nancy hits the punch bowl too hard at a Halloween party and drunkenly claims that the couple was “pretending” to be in love and that they “killed” Barb. Steve storms out and Jonathan ends up taking Nancy home.
The episode ends with Dustin hearing a strange noise coming from his trash can. He ceremoniously throws off the lid, utters a cut-off expletive, and the screen goes black.
Not only does the viewer automatically want to hit play on the next episode, but “Trick or Treat, Freak” offers the viewer a perfect mixture of scary creatures from another dimension, and the portrayal of a nostalgic ‘80s Halloween.
- Kaitlyn Murphy
“mutANT Farm” Season 1 Episode 14 “A.N.T. Farm”
A.N.T. Farm was a Disney Channel show that aired from 2011-2014, telling the story of a group of student prodigies.
Starring singer China Anne McClain as Chyna Parks, this episode features the pop song “Calling All the Monsters,” which becomes a memorable hit for the TV series.
In this halloween special, the students are in a parallel universe in which they are monsters instead of humans. For example, Chyna’s hair is made out of living snakes…or at least poor-quality CGI snakes.
With the help of human students, the monster students plan a halloween dance at the school. Chyna is upset to hear that human students will not be allowed in attendance.
As a solution, Chyna pours a special formula into the punch bowl at the dance to make herself and her monster friends appear human for the night. Meanwhile, some human students sneak into the dance.
Some chaos ensues when the monsters transform to look human. The students knock over the speakers by accident, and the DJ flees the halloween dance.
Thankfully, Chyna decides to save the dance by playing music, and the masterpiece “Calling All the Monsters” was born. The halloween dance is a success, and the humans and monsters coexist together for a night of halloween fun.
“Calling All the Monsters” belongs on all Halloween playlists. While “Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett is a classic Halloween jam, “Calling All the Monsters” reaches a younger audience, and will likely impact the spooky holiday for decades to come.
This iconic episode may be lacking in CGI quality, but it is a must-watch when October rolls around.
- McKenna Wall
Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in communications. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vanessa Wasden is a first-year majoring in communications. To contact her, email email@example.com.
Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year studying digital and print journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
McKenna Wall is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year from Allentown, New Jersey. She is now a communications (undecided) major at Penn State University. Sophia intends on pursuing a career in journalism. Sophia writes for the CommRadio Arts department.