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Quick Hits

Ten Classic Halloween TV Episodes (And Where You Can Watch Them)

Settle in for a spooky TV marathon.
  • From M*A*S*H to Buffy to Modern Family, Halloween has inspired some of the most classic TV episodes of all time.
    From M*A*S*H to Buffy to Modern Family, Halloween has inspired some of the most classic TV episodes of all time.

    With Halloween just around the corner, there’s no better time to settle in for a spooky TV marathon. For decades, television’s biggest sitcoms, dramas, and animated series have gone all-out in celebration of the holiday, churning out special episodes designed to help viewers get into the Halloween spirit.

    But as scary as some of these episodes are, the real nightmare of our current fractured TV landscape is figuring out where you can watch them. Can’t find It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or the Friends Halloween episode online? You've come to the right place.

    It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

    It wouldn’t be Halloween without It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Released in October 1966, the second Peanuts holiday special follows Linus as he waits all night in the pumpkin patch for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang goes trick-or-treating, but Charlie receives nothing but rocks in his bag. Of course, the plot isn’t nearly as important as Linus’ iconic quote: “There are three things I’ve learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” Streaming on Apple TV+

    The Office: “Halloween”

    Who can forget the image of Three Hole Punch Jim? “Halloween” (Season 2, Episode 5) gave employees everywhere an easy out, as even the biggest workplace slacker could tape three black holes to their shirt and call it a costume. This 2005 episode, the first The Office Halloween episode, also features some classic Jim (John Krasinski) versus Dwight (Rainn Wilson) shenanigans, an unhinged Michael (Steve Carell) storyline (the Dunder Mifflin boss is forced to pick one person to fire), and the budding Jim and Pam (Jenna Fischer) romance. Streaming on Peacock

    Friends: “The One With the Halloween Party”

    Friends released no shortage of Thanksgiving episodes over its ten seasons, but “The One with the Halloween Party” (Season 8, Episode 6) is the sitcom’s only true take on Halloween. Set around a party hosted by Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry), the 2001 episode reunited fans with Phoebe’s (Lisa Kudrow) twin sister Ursula (also Kudrow) and her new fiancé, played by Sean Penn, and gave us years of costume inspiration thanks to Monica’s Catwoman suit and Ross’ (David Schwimmer) “Spud-nik” getup. Streaming on HBO Max

    M*A*S*H: “Trick or Treatment”

    It’s Halloween night at the 4077th, but just as they’re about to head out to a party, the hospital gets flooded with casualties. Beyond Hawkeye (Alan Alda), B.J. (Mike Farrell), and Potter (Harry Morgan) dressing in costume, “Trick or Treatment” (Season 11, Episode 2) features a storyline about a soldier who is toe-tagged before bring brought in, but ends up comes back from the dead, so to speak, as he’s read last rites. Remembered as a final season classic, M*A*S*H’s Halloween episode actually aired after the holiday, on November 1, 1982. Streaming on Hulu

    Family Matters: “Dark and Stormy Night”

    Carl Von Winslow and Sir Steven clash in the sitcom's fictional vampire story. (Photo: HBO Max)

    Few sitcoms have embraced the Halloween episode like Family Matters. The show’s early seasons gravitated toward the more comedic aspects of the holiday, but in 1994, it went in a different direction with “Dark and Stormy Night” (Season 6, Episode 6), a half-hour that goes full Dracula, and never looks back. When the power goes out on Halloween night, the Winslows transform into the Von Winslows, a vampire family at war with Sir Steven, the Duke of Urkel. What follows is a creepy tale that lays the groundwork for Family Mattersembrace of “Stevil” in Seasons 8 and 9. Streaming on HBO Max

    Frasier: “Halloween”

    The first of Frasier’s three spooky season episodes, “Halloween” (Season 5, Episode 3) sees the group dress up as their favorite literary characters at a party to benefit the Library Association. Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Daphne (Jane Leeves) don The Canterbury Tales-inspired outfits, while Niles (David Hyde Pierce), the host of the event, transforms into Cyrano de Bergerac. But not even their winning costumes can detract from the chaos that ensues at Niles’ party, which, in true Shakespearen style, stems from a series of misunderstandings and misinterpreted confessions. Streaming on Hulu, Paramount+, and Peacock

    Parks and Recreation: “George Pikitis”

    For Parks and Rec fans, Halloween is synonymous with Greg Pikitis, Leslie Knope’s (Amy Poehler) high school-aged arch nemesis. As is explained in the episode named after the teenage villain (Season 2, Episode 7), Greg (Cody Klop) has a habit of vandalizing Pawnee’s Mayor Percy statue, but this year Leslie is determined to stop him once and for all. Across town, Ann (Rashida Jones) throws a very boring Halloween party that ends up being saved by Tom (Aziz Ansari) and his terrible dance moves. “Greg Pikitis” may be the best-known of Parks and Rec’s Halloween episodes, but the equally great “Meet N Greet” (Season 4, Episode 5) is worthy of a mention here, if only for some top-notch passive-aggressive behavior from Ben (Adam Scott). Streaming on Peacock

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Fear, Itself”

    Just about any of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's 144 episodes could probably play as a Halloween episode, but “Fear, Itself” (Season 4, Episode 4) manages to stand out from the pack with its demonic storyline. Now in college, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) joins Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Oz (Seth Green), and Xander (Nicholas Brendon) at a fraternity Halloween party that they soon discover is a real-life house of horrors. After some fight-for-your-life action, they learn that the demonic presence in the house stands just a few inches tall and can be easily squashed, rendering “Fear, Itself” one of Buffy’s more delightfully absurd outings. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

    Cheers: “Fairy Tales Can Come True”

    Cheers’ “Fairy Tales Can Come True” (Season 3, Episode 4) serves as a pivotal episode for our favorite bar patrons. On Halloween night, Cliff (John Ratzenberger) meets the woman of his dreams, but he’s afraid to see her again when he’s out of costume — a true dating nightmare. Meanwhile, when Frasier bails on Diane (Shelley Long), she and Sam (Ted Danson) go on a platonic non-date to the Boston Pops. Streaming on Hulu, Paramount+, and Peacock

    Modern Family: “Halloween”

    Modern Family first introduced viewers to Claire Dunphy’s (Julie Bowen) undying love for Halloween back in 2010, and from there the series never looked back. The show's first Halloween episode (Season 2, Episode 6) follows Claire as she works to transform her home into a haunted house, but despite her best efforts, she can’t get her family to fully commit to the bit. Her resulting freakout is the stuff of marriage nightmare fuel, although she and Phil (Ty Burrell) manage to work through her disappointment by episode’s end. “Halloween” went on to earn several Emmy nominations, with Michael Spiller taking home Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. Streaming on Peacock

    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: Halloween, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cheers, Family Matters, Frasier, Friends, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, M*A*S*H, Modern Family, The Office (US), Parks and Recreation