Each year, media companies compete to outdo one another with various holiday-centered movies and shows.
This Halloween, our entertainment writers put together a list of their favorite Halloween films and TV specials, from spooky to silly to heartfelt. Whether you’re in the mood for horror or comedy this Oct. 31, this list has something for you.
“Boy Meets World” Season 5, Episode 17 — “And Then There Was Shawn”
My favorite horror movie is “Scream,” so It Follows (ha, see what I did there?) that my favorite Halloween special is an episode of “Boy Meets World” dedicated to parodying classic slasher films. The episode is riddled with references, even starting with the title — a spoof of mystery writer Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.” As they’re stalked during detention in an empty school, each character takes on a slasher film archetype: the virgin, the final girl, the scream queen and the film bro. It’s a perfect episode if you need a quick fix of slasher vibes. - Maggie Peña, Entertainment Editor / Asst. Campus and Community Editor
Is “The Conjuring” technically a Halloween special? No, but it is quintessential fall horror. This one’s got all the tropes — new house, young kids, ghosts, dead dog, an exorcism — and it pulls them off beautifully. If you’re in the mood for a scare this Spooky Season, any entry in “The Conjuring” franchise has my pick, but especially the first and second movies. And if you’re in the mood to make the experience even more fun, I recommend playing hide and clap immediately after you finish watching it. - Sean Scott, Entertainment Editor / Campus & Community Editor
“The Simpsons” Season 6, Episode 6 — “Treehouse of Horror V”
While the yearly Halloween episodes of “The Simpsons” are always highlights of their respective seasons, they’ve never been better than “Treehouse of Horror V.” The three stories each embody a different genre of horror perfectly — psychological manipulation and clever parody in “The Shinning,” science fiction experimentation in “Time and Punishment” and straight slasher terror in “Nightmare Cafeteria.” There’s no weak link, with unique visual compositions and in-jokes throughout each segment that build on horror conventions in fun ways. And as is the case with much early “Simpsons,” it’s all absolutely hilarious. “No beer and no TV make Homer … something, something.” - Reece Hollowell, Asst. Entertainment Editor
“The Fairly OddParents” Season 2, Episode 12 — “Scary Godparents”
What I love about this episode is the absolute nostalgia it invokes for me. I vividly remember watching this special every Halloween with my mom. The plot is fun, and I’ll always love the animation style. Plus, there’s an awesome musical number that still gets stuck in my head to this day. Forget the new “Fairly OddParents,” this is where it’s at. The only “real & scary” thing in my life is navigating adulthood, but watching “Scary Godparents” will always take me back to simpler times. - Chloe Southard, Staff Writer
“Stranger Things” Season 2, Episode 2 — “Trick or Treat, Freak”
This is a really fun episode that helps add definition to how the main cast of characters walk the awkward, frustrating line between childhood and teenagedom. Between showing up to high school fully decked out as the “Ghostbusters” and getting made fun of while trick-or-treating, this episode develops the characters while advancing Will’s connection to the Mind Flayer. It’s a fun episode to watch even without rewatching the rest of the series! - Lily Wahl, The Miami Student
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“It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”
Who doesn’t love the time of year when the Charlie Brown specials appear on our TV screens while celebrating with family? I have fond memories of this playing in the background while I’m sorting my candy, trading the ones I dislike with my friends. No one can convince me that Vince Guarldi’s piano music isn’t immaculate. And I know Maggie will agree with me from her piece: “Good Grief, I miss Charlie Brown Halloween Dates with My Mom.” - Abbey Elizondo, Staff Writer
“Modern Family” Season 2, Episode 6 — “Halloween”
If there’s one thing Modern Family does best, it’s Halloween. This episode in particular is one of my personal favorites of their Halloween specials because it introduces Claire’s iconic obsession with the holiday and the classic Dunphy haunted house. You don’t even have to watch Modern Family to enjoy this episode. - Emily Siderits, The Miami Student
This film, based off of the classic family board game, feels like a close cousin to “Knives Out.” It also falls directly behind “Beetlejuice” on its level of camp. Not only do the characters endure various twists and turns inside a mysterious mansion on a stormy night, but the film also has alternate endings. Come on. What’s more “extra” than extra endings? It’s the perfect not scary, scary Halloween movie. Murder and mystery linger around every corner as the classic board game characters frantically navigate through a murder scene. It’s lighthearted and funny throughout and will be sure to put you in the Halloween spirit! - Jane McKinley, The Miami Student
This movie brings back the childhood excitement of trick-or-treating and watching Halloween movies with your candy. It has all the best aspects of the holiday, with a sweet story and a hilarious plot. The magic and the hysterical spooky aspect of the movie was always my favorite as a kid. It reminds me of hanging out with my family and it always gets me in the mood for Halloween every year. - Chelsea Fall, The Miami Student
“Superstore” Season 3, Episode 5 — “Sal’s Dead”
“Superstore” is one of my favorite NBC comedies, and “Sal’s Dead” is not only a great episode overall but also a good example of a sitcom incorporating Halloween into its story and setting. In the episode, the employees find a dead body in the store’s walls and try to keep shoppers from noticing it. The show’s background gags are also top-tier in this episode, using costumes and decorations to full advantage of the holiday. - Luke Macy, Asst. Campus & and Community Editor
“Bob’s Burgers” Season 3, Episode 2 — “Full Bars”
“Bob’s Burgers” always nails their Halloween episodes, whether spooky or not, but Season 3, Episode 2: “Full Bars” comes in first for being the most creative. This episode sends the kids on the perfect mission to rob the rich of their candy, taking them off the mainland and introducing a new location in the Bob’s Burgers world. It also pulls together the funniest voices in its cast at an adult costume party the parents go to, highlighting the writers’ strengths in adapting their average situations and characters to seasonal themes. “Full Bars” celebrates adventure and friendship, but mostly, all the elements of the uncanny which founded the show. - Evan Stefanik, Staff Writer