Although Halloween is a religious festival believed to have pagan roots, in the US it is an excuse for children, and adults, to dress as their favourite film or TV characters, and eat sweets, play pranks, and in the case of the older participants, have a hell of a party.
To reflect this lucrative phenomenon (which generated $9 billion last year in the US alone), Halloween-themed episodes have become a recurring feature on TV shows. Here are some of the most memorable, including The Simpson’s being abducted by aliens, to Buffy accidentally summoning a demon, and Modern Family’s memorable Halloween meltdown.
American Horror Story – Tricks and Treats
No one does a Halloween episode like the the hit horror series, American Horror Story. In the very first season, Murder House, it featured a two part Halloween episode, wherein it is the one night of the year where the dead get up and walk around – presumably because no one will notice as so many people are dressed up as ghouls and ghosts themselves. So, the episodes are packed with a load of zombies, and also features the terrifying Rubber Man, as well as a strange creature lurking in the basement.
Bones – Mummy In The Maze
In this episode of the crime drama, forensic specialist Dr Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI Agent Seely Booth (David Boreanaz), must look into a murder, after the discovery of two mummified people discovered in a hay maze. This occurs slap bang in the middle of Halloween festivities, and takes them to the ultra-creepy ‘Dungeon of 1000 Corpses’ fun house at an amusement park, where they must chase the killer while still dressed in their costumes!
Modern Family – Halloween
The Dunphy place is turned into a haunted house for trick-or-treaters, which means all the family get kitted out in Halloween outfits, and all kinds of scary gimmicks are put into place. Unfortunately for the family, everything goes wrong and descends into chaos.
Buffy – Fear Itself
In this episode of the massively popular supernatural series, Buffy and her pals go to a haunted house themed costume party. So far, so fun, right? Well, not really, because the house chosen for the party just happens to be portal to hell, and the demon that resides there grows stronger and stronger by feeding on the fear of the partygoers. Wait until the evil being finally emerges – it’s not what you’d expect!
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror
The Treehouse of Horror episodes of the long-running animated series started in October 1990, and has run every year since then around Halloween. The very first Treehouse of Horror was inspired by the ghoulish American EC Comics, which featured three individual scare stories. In this episode, the Simpsons moved into a mansion house with a curse on it, get abducted by aliens, and Homer has an encounter with a very cheeky raven. Just another typical day in Springfield.
American Dad – Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls
In this hilarious episode of the Seth McFarlane comedy show, Stan attempts to have the scariest haunted house in the neighbourhood by enlisting five real life serial killers to wreak havoc on Halloween. As you might expect, things get badly out of hand.
How I Met Your Mother – Slutty Pumpkin
Marshall dresses up as Jack Sparrow, and Lily as a green parrot, in a bid to win the best costume at the forthcoming Halloween party. They are both extremely excited at the prospect of securing the fifty dollar gift certificate. Despite having forked out $200 on the costumes themselves.
Angel – Life of the Party
Of course you’d expect a Halloween themed episode in this Buffy spin-off, a fantasy drama about a vampire (David Boreanaz) helping people in Los Angeles deal with problems of the supernatural variety. In Life of the Party, at a Halloween party thrown by Wolfram & Hart (a law firm acting as a front for interdimensional demons), Lorne turns into a horned beast and starts killing guests. The moral of the story is, don’t have too many drinks at your next Halloween party – you might make a spectacle of yourself.
Available to own from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment