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The 25 Best Halloween Sitcom Episodes to Stream During Spooky Season

Boo! Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos Courtesy of the Networks

This list was first published in 2016, then updated in 2018, 2022, and again this year to include even more October-worthy episodes. We’ve removed those from Square Pegs and Speechless as they’re no longer streaming (but are available for purchase) and replaced them with two recent Halloween sitcom classics.

Halloween is a time to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and scary movies as well as non-scary movies for wimps. For people who enjoy comedy and have seen every SimpsonsTreehouse of Horror” episode 17 times, it’s also a season to visit or revisit the great half-hour Halloween sitcom episodes.

Here’s a list of 25 to add to your rotation, all of which are streaming on various platforms (noted below) just in time for your All Hallows’ Eve festivities.

30 Rock, “Stone Mountain” (season four, episode three)

This installment finds the TGS writers attempting to throw a Halloween party, Tracy freaking out about becoming the third “rule of threes” celebrity to die, and Liz and Jack heading to Kenneth’s home town of Stone Mountain, Georgia, in search of the next great American comedian. That third story line — in which Jack asserts that the “real,” non-elitist, wholesome America can be found only in small towns like Stone Mountain, while Liz insists that people are both good and terrible in every part of this great nation — actually makes this a relevant episode for election season. “You’re supposed to be better! Nicer!” shouts Jack, played by Alec Baldwin, who once played Donald Trump on SNL, to a crowd of Stone Mountainers. “But you’re all terrible, like the people of New York!” Yeah, definitely relevant.

Abbott Elementary, “Candy Zombies” (season two, episode six)

The first-ever Abbott Elementary Halloween episode focuses on two of the classic hazards of the holiday: kids overdosing on sugar (which happens to pretty much the entire student body) and scary ghost stories (which, honestly, scare only Jacob). Another episode highlight: Janine dressed up as James Harden.

Better Things, “Scary Fun” (season one, episode eight)

This episode of the Pamela Adlon comedy places a heavy emphasis on the “trick” part of trick-or-treat. Sam (Adlon), her mother, Phil (Celia Imrie), and her middle daughter, Frankie (Hannah Alligood), engage in an extended effort to prank one another, while Sam tries to place some boundaries on her oldest daughter, Max (Mikey Madison), and her burgeoning romance. The whole thing culminates in a night of Halloween bonding when Sam and her three girls huddle to watch a scary movie after Max gets dumped. Throughout, “Scary Fun” does what this FX series consistently does so well: use everyday moments to illustrate how mothers and daughters press each other’s buttons while holding tight to each other’s hearts.

Stream on Hulu

Black-ish, “Jacked O’Lantern” (season two, episode six)

There are multiple Halloween episodes of Black-ish, but this was the first. It’s also the one most likely to make you feel old since the Johnson family dresses up as the First Family circa 2015, from Barack (Dre) right on down to (the now-late) Bo (Miles). Aw, we miss you, Bo.

Bob’s Burgers, “The Hauntening” (season six, episode three)

Our Angelica Jade Bastién declared this the best Halloween episode of Bob’s Burgers and the second-best holiday episode of the series, and it is indeed a goodie. The premise: Louise (Kristen Schaal) is completely jaded about Halloween and impossible to scare, but her parents, Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts), swear they’re really going to make it happen this year by creating a new haunted house that’s definitely terrifying … except it isn’t — not to Louise. But when the Belchers attempt to leave and have trouble doing so, Louise starts getting legitimately freaked. In addition to some smartly constructed surprises, this episode also features the return of the beloved Bob’s Burgers boy band Boyz4Now.

Stream on Hulu

BoJack Horseman, “Mr. Peanutbutter’s Boos” (season five, episode eight)

This is one of BoJack Horseman’s great flashback episodes. Here we follow the events at four of the annual Halloween parties Mr. Peanutbutter has insisted on throwing at BoJack’s house every year, always against BoJack’s will. The years covered — 1993, 2004, 2009, and 2018 — enable us to revisit Mr. Peanutbutter’s various romantic partnerships as well as some period-specific dialogue and costumes. (“Can’t I just wear a dumb hat and say I’m Blossom?” Mr. Peanutbutter’s first wife, Katrina, asks in 1993, echoing a question many of us have asked ourselves every Halloween since then.) You also have to hand it to the writers of BoJack Horseman for knowing that someone would think it was a good idea to show up at a 2018 Halloween party as a sexy handmaid from The Handmaid’s Tale, a costume that actually, but thankfully briefly, became a real thing in 2018. Corporate America, baby: It never lets you down!

Stream on Netflix

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “HalloVeen” (season five, episode four)

Like all of Brooklyn Nine Nine’s Halloween episodes, this one focuses on the annual heist at the precinct, which pits cop against cop in an attempt to obtain the championship belt. (Captain Holt, played by Andre Braugher, calls it a cummerbund because he fancy.) This is also a very special episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine because the heist segues into a sweet marriage proposal. It’s extra-special because it gives us the opportunity to watch Braugher look at an adorable corgi and say, “You’re not Cheddar. You’re just some common bitch.”

Stream on Peacock

Cheers, “Fairy Tales Can Come True” (season three, episode four)

There are other Cheers Halloweens to potentially enjoy, including “Diane’s Nightmare,” “House of Horrors With Formal Dining and Used Brick,” and “Bar Wars V: The Final Judgment.” But I’m partial to this sweet-natured episode from season four, in which Cliff, emboldened by his Ponce de León costume, romances a lady dressed as Tinker Bell, then gets nervous when it’s time for the masks to be removed.

Community, “Epidemiology” (season two, episode six)

This is the episode for those who wished Community had just a tiny dash of The Walking Dead in its DNA … and also a little Mamma Mia! At a Greendale Halloween party, some mysterious taco meat causes a virus to spread that turns everyone into flesh-eating zombies. The whole terrifying chompfest unfolds to Dean Pelton’s (Jim Rash) iTunes mix, which consists entirely of some of his personal voice memos and Abba’s greatest hits. Based on this episode, one can only conclude that every zombie movie or TV show would be better with more Abba.

Curb Your Enthusiasm, “Trick or Treat” (season two, episode three)

When two uncostumed teenage girls come to Larry David’s door on Halloween night, do you think he (a) pleasantly gives them some fun-size candy bars or (b) refuses to give them candy because, damn it, they’re too old to be trick-or-treating? This is Curb Your Enthusiasm, so obviously the correct answer is option (b), a decision that causes Larry even more problems and spurs him to go on a rant about how trick-or-treating has an age cutoff: “What are you gonna be, 40? Trick-or-treating at 40? I’m 40 years old, I want free candy!”

Stream on HBO Max

Derry Girls, “Halloween”(season three, episode six)

If you needed an excuse to watch the third and final season of Derry Girls, please know it contains a very good Halloween episode in which Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), Clare (Nicola Coughlan), and the rest of the gang get amped up to go to a Fatboy Slim concert on Halloween. Things do not go as planned in ways that are both funny and heartbreaking.

Stream on Netflix

Freaks and Geeks, “Tricks and Treats” (season one, episode three)

If you’ve got time for a drama-length episode, this one from Freaks and Geeks is funny and poignant as the worlds of Lindsay and Sam collide on trick-or-treat night in unsettling, sobering ways. It’s also the only place, as far as I know, where you can see Martin Starr dressed as Lindsay Wagner from The Bionic Woman.

Ghosts, “Halloween” (season one, episode five)

You can’t make a show about ghosts and not do a Halloween episode. I mean, I guess you could but, like, why? Ghosts seems to agree, which is why its first season included this episode, in which the ghosts in Ghosts decide to watch Ghostbusters and also get busted for bad behavior on All Hallows’ Eve. Note: The show’s season-two Halloween episode, “Halloween II: The Ghost of Hetty’s Past,” debuts October 27 on CBS. 

Stream on Paramount+

Happy Endings, “Spooky Endings” (season two, episode five)

Couples’ costumes can be challenging, and this episode of ABC’s short-lived cult fave illustrates why. Jane (Eliza Coupe) dresses as a strip of bacon, but her husband, Brad (Damon Williams Jr.), refuses to go as an egg when they house-sit in the suburbs on Halloween night. Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and Dave (Zachary Knighton) finally get to dress up independently after breaking up, but at a Halloween party, people still get the wrong idea about their ensembles. And then there’s the real highlight of this episode: Casey Wilson’s Penny and Adam Pally’s Max as a mom and infant in a BabyBjörn, a costume that keeps them so literally joined at the hip that they can’t flirt with other partygoers. This is Halloween-based physical comedy that gives Charlie Brown trying to kick a football in Great Pumpkin a run for its money.

Stream on Hulu

Insecure, “Low-Key Distant” (season four, episode two)

Okay, fine, this episode technically contains only one Halloween scene. But it’s a funny scene, and it features Natasha Rothwell dressed as Halle Berry in B.A.P.S. and Yvonne Orji in a full East Compton Clovers uniform like Gabrielle Union in Bring It On. It’s worth watching for those brilliant strokes of costuming alone.

Living Single, “Trick or Trust” (season two, episode eight)

There are so many ’90s delights in this 1994 Halloween episode of the Fox sitcom. There’s baby-faced Black Lightning, a.k.a. Cress Williams, as Scooter, the boyfriend of Khadijah (Queen Latifah). There’s the fact that Khadijah gets mad at Scooter when she reads a fax — a fax! — that appears to be a love note. There’s the related fact that Latifah wears a Little Bo Peep Halloween costume mainly so Kim Fields’s Regine can show her the fax and say, “Bo, you better peep this.” And there’s a joke about a Tito Jackson Unplugged CD. This one really has it all.

New Girl, “Keaton” (season three, episode six)

When Jess (Zooey Deschanel) wants to dissuade a mopey Schmidt (Max Greenfield) from attending her Halloween party, she, Nick (Jake Johnson), and Winston (Lamorne Morris) send him fake messages from Michael Keaton, the actor, who Schmidt wrongly believes has been sending him supportive letters and emails for most of his life. That deliciously random premise yields some quality jokes about Keaton’s filmography — finally, a sitcom with the guts to make a Multiplicity joke! — as well as one of my favorite costumes ever featured on a TV series: Jess’s genius Joey Ramona Quimby.

The Office, “Halloween” (season two, episode five)

The Office really started to hit its stride in season two, as evidenced by this episode, directed by Paul Feig, in which Michael, dressed as a two-headed version of himself, hastily has to decide who to fire to meet an end-of-the-month deadline. As always, Michael proves that the most unbelievable costume he could wear on Halloween would be one that, like his coffee mug, identifies him as “world’s best boss.”

Stream on Peacock

Parks and Recreation, “Halloween Surprise” (season five, episode five)

This fifth-season episode includes Donna live-tweeting a screening of Death Canoe 4: Murder at Blood Lake, Leslie receiving a life-changing proposal, and, most important, Jerry having a fart attack. I’m not sure what else you could want from a half-hour of Halloween comedy, but if you’re asking for more than this, your standards are way too high.

Stream on Peacock

PEN15, “Vendy Wiccany” (season two, episode three)

This season-two episode is technically not a Halloween episode — no one dresses up in costume, trick-or-treats, or throws a party on October 31. But best friends Maya (Maya Erskine) and Anna (Anna Konkle) do get freaked out by an episode of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and decide to become witches who attempt to cast spells on the boys at school. So close enough.

Stream on Hulu

Roseanne, “BOO” (season two, episode seven)

This season-two episode was, at the time, the rare Halloween sitcom moment that showed a family embracing the ghoulishness of the holiday. In the first of what would become a Roseanne tradition, Roseanne and Dan are determined to play tricks on each other while uniting the whole family into turning the house into something haunted, right down to the sight of Aunt Jackie’s (Laurie Metcalf) head on a platter.

Stream on Peacock

Scrubs, “My Big Brother” (season two, episode six)

The A-story in this half-hour of Scrubs is about the relationship between J.D. (Zach Braff) and his visiting brother, Dan (guest star Tom Cavanagh), a smart-aleck bartender who still lives at home and causes J.D. some embarrassment. But those dynamics play out against a Halloween backdrop, which means Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) is complaining about the quality of the candy in the hospital, the janitor (Neil Flynn) is determined to scare the heck out of J.D., and someone in a gorilla costume is roaming the halls of Sacred Heart.

Superstore, “Halloween Theft” (season two, episode seven)

This season-two episode of the NBC sitcom finds the employees at Cloud 9 in costume — Jonah’s Brexit outfit seems even more relevant now than when this first aired in 2016 — and scheming to override assistant manager Dina’s insistence that no one can clock out on Halloween until one of them confesses to stealing some misshapen produce. Just another day working in retail.

Stream on Hulu

WandaVision, “All-New Halloween Spooktacular” (season one, episode six)

Not only is this installment of WandaVision a Halloween episode, it’s a meta commentary on the entire concept of the Halloween episode. Like each of this Marvel series’ segments, it spoofs an era of the family sitcom: in this case, the early aughts. That gives WandaVision the license to tell its story Malcolm in the Middle–style while enabling its primary characters — Wanda, Vision, and the “recast” Pietro — to dress up as their superhero-comics counterparts in the name of Trick-or-Treat Night. Clever, suspenseful, and featuring Kathryn Hahn in costume as a witch (foreshadowing!), it’s one of the best Halloween episodes in recent years. (For extra credit, feel free to watch the season-two Malcolm in the Middle episode “Halloween Approximately,” streaming on Hulu.)

Stream on Disney+

You’re the Worst, “Spooky Sunday Funday” (season two, episode eight)

It’s Sunday Funday but with costumes, a creepy-ass house, and Jimmy trying desperately to cheer up Gretchen while dressed as Heathstead from some weird British show called Buckle Your Shoes!

Stream on Hulu
25 Great Halloween Sitcom Episodes to Stream