Celebrate Halloween with these TV Episodes

Haunted highlights from “Parks and Recreation,” “Community” and more favorites.
Graphic by Nicole Gutierrez

Halloween is the light at the end of the October tunnel. After a long month of midterms, homework and Zoom meetings, it’s time to cozy up and watch some fall flicks. But if you don’t have time for a full movie, no worries — we’ve rounded up four of the all-time best Halloween-themed TV episodes to get you in the spooky spirit.

“Parks and Recreation”: “Halloween Surprise” (Season 5, Episode 5)

“Parks and Rec” is arguably one of the funniest and most endearing TV shows of the past 20 years. It never fails to pack several storylines into 20-minute episodes. “Halloween Surprise” is no exception. This episode sees Ron begrudgingly go trick-or-treating in a low-effort pirate costume with his girlfriend’s kids. Andy, the human incarnation of a puppy, tags along in a policeman costume. The rest of the Parks Department gang watches a horror movie and Tom starts a new business, Rent-A-Swag. Spoiler alert: To top it all off, Ben proposes to Leslie to resolve their long-distance relationship woes. “Halloween Surprise” isn’t spooky, but it’ll warm your heart.

“Friends”: “The One with the Halloween Party” (Season 8, Episode 6)

“Friends” is the undisputed champion of Thanksgiving episodes — nearly every season of the show features one. However, “The One with the Halloween Party” holds its own against the Thanksgiving episodes. The whole gang gets dressed up for Monica’s Halloween party, making for a very memorable night. Who doesn’t remember Ross’ “Spud-nik” potato costume and Chandler’s massive pink bunny suit? Phoebe’s insufferable twin sister, Ursula, also makes an appearance, showing off Lisa Kudrow’s acting chops. The overarching “Friends” storyline makes little to no progress in this episode, but it still doesn’t disappoint.

“Community”: “Introduction to Statistics” (Season 1, Episode 7)

This early installment of “Community” is technically a Day of the Dead episode, but because characters inappropriately dub it “Mexican Halloween” and don costumes for Annie’s Día de los Muertos party, it’s included here. In season one, we’re still getting to know the often terrible but lovable cast of “Community.” As Pierce gets high on some unknown pills at Annie’s party, we make his acquaintance pretty intimately. Meanwhile, Jeff attempts to woo his professor at the much cooler faculty Halloween party. As with most “Community” episodes, it’s a little ridiculous if you think about it too hard, but the characters keep it grounded.

“New Girl”: “Halloween” (Season 2, Episode 6)

This “New Girl” episode hinges around the spookiest topic possible: relationship trouble. Jess is celebrating the holiday by donning a gory zombie costume for her job at a local haunted house. By the end of the episode, she’s forced to reevaluate her casual relationship with Sam, a lingering side character. Winston and Nick do some reevaluating of their own. Winston and his girlfriend break up after Winston dresses “sexy” and isn’t rewarded for it. Nick’s hookup partner comes off too strong for him, so he’s forced to end things. With the characters dressed up in ridiculous costumes, the Halloween theme lends a lighter atmosphere to what might have been a heavy-handed episode.

Honorable Mentions: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”: “Halloween” (Season 1, Episode 6); “Seinfeld”: “The Opera” (Season 4, Episode 9)

Edited by Chloe Konrad | ckonrad@themaneater.com

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