It’s a tradition for all Sitcoms to have at least one bona fide Halloween episode, and one bona fide Christmas episode, and since December isn’t for another couple of months, we want to focus on the spooky stuff. While nothing on this list goes bump in the night or will keep you awake in fear, every entry on this list is truly a wonder piece of Halloween tradition fit for anyone yearly rewatch.
For more family-friendly Halloween content check out our list of family friendly Halloween movies.
10. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Who Got Dee Pregnant
Where to Watch: Hulu (Season 6, Episode 7)
Always Sunny delivers another a fast-paced, chaotic episode, this time as a farcical Halloween who-dun-it as the gang tries to piece together the events of last Halloween to find out who is the father of Dee’s baby. We get to see the same events play out multiple times from different characters perspectives. Charlie getting punched in the face, Frank’s costume, how much Dee resembles a bird, everyone has a different version.
As they try to fit together each of their “brown-outs” as Mac puts it, they start to run into more and more inconsistencies and unanswerable questions that force them to go out and involve more people to see what they remember. When all they really wanted to do was spend the night at a museum to see if anything came to life. Which honestly, is a premise that should have its own episode by now.
9. Friends: The One with the Halloween Party
Where to Watch: HBO Max (Season 8, Episode 6)
Obviously one of the most successful and popular sitcoms in the country is going to have one of the most iconic Halloween episodes. In this episode, Chandler and Monica decide to throw a Halloween party and we get to witness Phoebe develop a crush on her twin’s fiancé (played by Sean Penn!), Rachel having a maternal crisis with trick or treaters, and Ross and Chandler doing the world’s saddest arm-wrestling match.
There is a joke however right at the beginning that hasn’t aged very well. Not for any insensitive or damaging reason, it’s just a running joke where everyone discovers they have to dress up in costume for the Halloween party and no one wants to? What? Insanity. Us new generations love an excuse to wear a costume.
8. Parks and Recreation: Meet and Greet
Where to Watch: Peacock (Season 4, Episode 5)
It begins with the much adored and highly meme-d cold open of Andy and April telling us about the Halloween party they are throwing and April keeps trying to make it sound scary while Andy keeps trying to make it sound fun.
This one is really only half a Halloween episode since the other half focuses on Tom and Leslie running an event for small business owners, but the half involves us getting to watch our beloved cast enjoy a perfect enjoyable and fun Halloween Party. No high stakes, no dire relationship changes, Ben does break Andy’s nose, but Andy takes it really well.
7. How I Met Your Mother: The Slutty Pumpkin
Where to Watch: Hulu (Season 1 Episode 6)
How I Met Your Mother has a solid Halloween episode in their very first season however the catharsis doesn’t come until you finish the sequel The Slutty Pumpkin Returns (Season 7 Episode 8). This episode splits its time between two doomed Halloween love affairs. Robin, who can’t seem to be on the same page as her new boyfriend, and Ted who is spending the fourth Halloween in a row waiting for a woman he met four years ago dressed as a Pumpkin carved in very creative places.
On Robin’s date we see Marshall and Lilly (dressed as pirate and parrot) try to get her to come up to the same level as him, and on Ted attempted reconnection, Barny tries to persuade him to ditch this party for a yacht party full of Victoria’s Secret models. Neither Robin nor Ted succeed in their endeavors but they do get to share a sweet moment together at the end as they prop each other up. Also Marshall and Lily win the costume contest.
6. New Girl: Halloween
Where to Watch: Netflix (Season 2 Episode 6)
New Girl has a charming and heart-warming episode centered around Halloween. Even if it does include both breakups and someone getting punched in the face.
Jess has a job at a haunted house and thinks about turning her casual fling into a genuine relationship, Nick reconnects with an old crush from college, Schmidt tries to seduce his ex and intimidate her new boyfriend, and Winston doesn’t like his girlfriend’s very clever and funny Halloween costume (Reigning Cats and Dogs is genuinely a great costume, Winston is 100% wrong about it not being funny. It rules.)
5. Bob’s Burgers: The Hauntening
Where to Watch: Hulu (Season 6 Episode 3)
Tina Belcher is bragging/complaining that she can never get scared. So, her parents borrow an old house from a friend of their in an attempt to create the scariest haunted house their children have ever seen, and it goes about as well as you’d expect, up until the moment that is doesn’t. (cue creepy organ musical sting for dramatic effect).
Bob’s Burgers is a show that has climb up the ranks over the years into Simpson‘s level creativity and popularity, and this Halloween special episode is no different. It’s no Treehouse of Horrors (something not on this list because it feels like it’s own unique thing entirely) but it’s in that same vein.
4. The Office: Costume Contest
Where to Watch: Peacock (Season 7 Episode 6)
The mother of all workplace comedies of course has the mother of all office Halloween parties. Everyone is dressed in fun costumes and every plot thread exists within the confines of the party which makes way for funny scenes like Daryl, Michael, and Gabe are arguing while dressed as Dracula, Daryl, and Lady Gaga respectively. The Office has several good Halloween episodes to choose from, but this one is the best one.
The episode also includes the extremely handsome and actor-who-seems-most-likely-to-own-an-actual-bar, Timothy Olyphant as “Guy who took Pam on two dates and then never called her back” and Jim and Pam both want to know why. Oscar protests the costume contest by dressing up as “A responsible consumer”, and Michael gets mad at Daryl for going above his head and talking to corporate about a good idea he had.
3. Malcolm in the Middle: Halloween
Where to Watch: Hulu (Season 7 Episode 4)
Hal struggles with feeling safe in his own home after learning that their home was once the site of a grizzly murder, trying to plead with the ghosts, sleeping in his car, and hovering around Malcolm so as to not be alone. Lois catches a shoplifter and work and wonders why no one cares about justice but her, and Reese and Dewey take Jamie trick or treating for the first time.
There is also a plot beat in which Reese and Dewey egg an elderly man’s house and he chases them but he can’t move very quickly as he is using a walker for assistance and I can’t help but think this scene ended up being David Robert Mitchell’s inspiration for his 2014 film It Follows.
2. Community: Epidemiology
Where to Watch: Hulu (Season 2 Episode 6)
Community is another show that leaves us spoiled for choice when it comes to Halloween episodes but Season 2 Episode 8’s Epidemiology takes the cake. Dan Harmon and the writers of Community are always good at subverted classic genres and tropes, which is why their zombie episode about a batch of bad army surplus food giving everyone a unique rabies strain is our winner. That and the fact that the whole episode is scored by ABBA.
This episode also has Dean Pelton dressed up as Lady Gaga which means we are two episodes on this list that include an effeminate authority figure dressed up as Lady Gaga and making a “Pah-Pah-Pah-Poker face” joke. And the Third episode on this list to feature someone getting punches in the face (Seriously, is there a thing about people getting punched in the face on Halloween?)
1. Brooklyn 99: Halloween Heist
Where to watch: Peacock (Season 1 Episode 6)
This is our winner because it isn’t just one episode of Brooklyn 99 that blows all the other Halloween specials out of the water, it’s every one. As much as the other sitcoms on this list have nailed their Halloween specials, Brooklyn 99 is the only one to make it a seasonal tradition in which each each season builds off the one that came before.
Every Halloween Detective Jake Peralta and Captain Raymond Holt make a bet to see who can successfully complete a heist to steal an agreed upon item. Sometimes one needs to steal while the other needs to protect, other times both teams are trying to steal the same item. As the heists grow more and more complicated, Peralta and Holt end up drafting teams that get the entire precinct (or at least the characters we care about) involved.
For more Halloween fun check out our list of most romantic Halloween movies.