As Halloween approaches, streaming services and traditional network channels alike will be packed with terrifying movies and TV shows designed to give audiences a good scare. But what if you’re not really into being scared?
Sure, Halloween vibes are all fun and games until someone is jumping five feet off the couch like Scooby-Doo. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to enjoy some seasonal fun without being too on edge. Here, we’ve rounded up a collection of some of our favorite Halloween-themed episodes from current and classic TV comedies. Trust us — these picks will have you cackling.
Bob’s Burgers | “Full Bars”
Bob’s Burgers chronicles the quirky lives of the Belcher family — Bob (voice of H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (voice of John Roberts), who run the titular restaurant, and their kids, Tina (voice of Dan Mintz), Gene (voice of Eugene Mirman) and Louise (voice of Kristen Schaal). In “Full Bars,” the kids concoct a brilliant plan to trick-or-treat in a wealthy neighborhood while their parents attend a (deadly) Halloween party. The draw of the ritzy houses? Full-sized candy bars. But things take a turn when they find themselves on the wrong side of “hell week,” a tradition that sees the older kids picking on the younger ones.
Los Espookys | “El Laboratorio Alienígena” (“The Alien Lab”)
Set in a fictional Latin American country, HBO’s Los Espookys follows a group of friends who turn their love of horror and the bizarre into a business. In this sense, many of the show’s magical realism-infused episodes make a great Halloween watch, but “El Laboratorio Alienigena” (“The Alien Lab”), stands out. In it, the crew, which features comedic greats like Saturday Night Live writer Julio Torres and stand-up-comedian-turned-actor Ana Fabrega, find themselves bringing aliens to life for a demanding researcher.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer | “Fear Itself”
While pretty much every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer blends horror thrills and campy hi-jinks, “Fear Itself” is among the show’s creepiest episodes. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her friends attend a Halloween party at a frat house and Oz (Seth Green), who happens to be a werewolf, accidentally casts a spell that brings the house’s Halloween decorations to life. In order to escape, the so-called Scooby Gang find themselves confronting their deepest fears.
BoJack Horseman | “Mr. Peanutbutter’s Boos”
This adult cartoon follows BoJack Horseman (voice of Will Arnett), a former ’90s sitcom star who also happens to be an anthropomorphic horse. In “Mr. Peanutbutter’s Boos,” BoJack throws his 25th annual Halloween party. Amid the festivities, viewers learn about Mr. Peanutbutter’s (voice of Paul F. Tompkins) love life as the show examines the humanoid yellow lab’s romantic exploits from four previous Halloweens.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia | “Who Got Dee Pregnant?”
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an FX sitcom that chronicles the adventures of an underachieving group of bar owners who call themselves “The Gang.” In a twist on typical Halloween horror, Dee (Kaitlin Olson), the lone woman of the group, strikes terror into her friends’ hearts by revealing that she’s pregnant — and that one of them is the father. Over the course of the episode, the guys attempt to figure out who the father is by piecing together the rather hazy details of the Halloween party where, Dee claims, the deed was done.
Parks & Rec | “Greg Pikitis”
Parks & Rec, the popular comedy series that followed the antics of a small town’s Parks and Recreation department, is certainly a fan favorite. Despite having several Halloween-themed episodes, the first, “Greg Pikitis,” revolves around the titular teen. Every year, he makes it his business to vandalize the town of Pawnee’s statue, which infuriates Deputy Director Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler). Will Leslie and her pals catch Pikitis this time — or will he continue to have the upper-hand?
The Simpsons | “Treehouse of Horror V”
Ever since its second season, The Simpsons has aired a Halloween special each October. Known collectively as The Treehouse of Horror specials, each episode is composed of several hilarious, Halloween-inspired shorts. In them, the denizens of Springfield interact with supernatural beings or find themselves in otherwise terrifying situations.
Sure, all of these specials are pretty much worth the watch, but the sixth season’s “Treehouse of Horror V” tends to be a fan favorite. While taking care of Mr. Burns’ summer estate, Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) goes all The Shining. The second short is a sendup of Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder, and, last but not least, the third short revolves around Bart (voice of Nancy Cartwright), who discovers the terrible truth behind Springfield Elementary’s cafeteria food.
Community | “Epidemiology”
In Community, Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) finds himself back in community college after his law degree is revoked. Alongside a quirky study group, Jeff attends a Halloween party in “Epidemiology,” but things go a bit haywire when a few students accidentally ingest a substance that turns them into zombies. After the dean locks the party-goers in with the zombie-infected students, our main gang has to find a way to survive without joining the ranks of the undead.
Brooklyn 99 | “HalloVeen”
Brooklyn 99, a workplace comedy set in an NYC precinct, developed a tradition early on — the Halloween heist. While later seasons move the heist to another holiday or time of year, the first few stick to the Halloween theme. The goal? The characters who opt in must steal a particular item and keep it in their possession until midnight in order to be crowned the “ultimate detective/genius.” The fifth season “HalloVeen” is particularly hilarious; everyone, from Jake (Andy Samberg) to Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) to Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) to Amy (Melissa Fumero), lets their ambition get the best of them. Plus, it has a very sweet ending that has nothing to do with candy.
Curb Your Enthusiasm | “Trick or Treat”
Seinfeld co-creator Larry David plays a somewhat fictionalized version of himself in Curb Your Enthusiasm, and finds himself plagued by the demands of daily life and constant misunderstandings. In “Trick or Treat,” Larry refuses to hand out candy to teens who aren’t even in costume. Later, the not-so-spirited teenagers vandalize Larry’s property — but the hilarity doesn’t end there.
Frasier | “Halloween”
Frasier, NBC’s Emmy-winning classic sitcom from the ’90s, is a spin-off of Cheers that follows the titular character when he moves from Boston to Seattle to launch a therapy-centered radio talk show. In the fifth season’s “Halloween,” Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) attends his brother Nile’s (David Hyde Pierce) literary-themed Halloween party along with his producer, Roz (Peri Gilpin), and his housekeeper, Daphne (Jane Leeves). Things get complicated when Roz confesses to Frasier that she thinks she may be pregnant. Niles misunderstands and thinks that Frasier has impregnated Daphne, causing a hilarious comedy of errors to ensue.
What We Do in the Shadows | Virtually Any Episode
If you’re looking for a hilarious horror show, you can’t go wrong with the FX series What We Do in the Shadows. Based on the feature film of the same name, this mockumentary-style series follows the exploits of a group of vampire roommates who have lived together on Staten Island for over 100 years. This October, tune in to follow the vampires’ always-quirky adventures as they dabble in local politics, escape from animal control after begin captured in bat form, and plot to take over New York City.
SpongeBob SquarePants | “Graveyard Shift
So, “Graveyard Shift” isn’t one of SpongeBob’s official Halloween specials (in fact, it aired on September 6, 2002 in the U.S.). However, this episode is such a perfect fit for Spooky Season that Nickelodeon has aired it on October 31 many times over the years. It’s not hard to why; “Graveyard Shift” features the infamous Hash-slinging Slasher, plenty of playfully creepy scenes, and special guest cameo by a legendary vampire.