How I Met Your Mother: The slutty pumpkin party
Why would a single, heterosexual man pass up the opportunity to spend Halloween on a yacht with costumed Victoria’s Secret models? Because he’s got to do what he does every year: go to the party where he once met a woman in a “slutty pumpkin” costume who might have been his soul mate, if only he hadn’t lost her phone number. In an episode that may be the most famous in How I Met Your Mother history, Ted spends his fifth straight Halloween dressed as a “hanging chad” (that would be some 2000 election humor, for those who don’t remember) and — as usual — has no luck finding his mystery girl.
But that’s not where the story ends. In last year’s Halloween episode, Ted tracked down the slutty pumpkin — who turned out to be Katie Holmes (or, rather, a woman named Naomi who was played by Katie Holmes)! And, wouldn’t you know it, things don’t exactly work out the way he had fantasized.
Parks and Recreation: April and Andy’s house party
As happy as we are for Ben, who’s gone off to DC to fulfill his political potential, we miss the days when the Pawnee city government’s most anal staffer roomed with April and Andy. Remember when those crazy kids threw a Halloween party without telling him? Ron Swanson enlisted Ann to assist him in making household repairs, while Chris and Jerry’s daughter grossed everyone out with their lewd behavior? The evening ended with an outraged Ben finally succumbing to his anger about the party and breaking Andy’s nose. Hey, it was no gay Halloween party, but the Parks Department crew did pretty well for a bunch of straights.
Friends: Chandler and Monica’s costume party
This one is worth re-watching for the funny costumes alone. Monica makes Chandler wear a pink bunny suit, and Ross shows up as “Spudnik” — that is, a potato Sputnik. Of course, that latter reference is lost on Joey, who observes, “Ross came as doodie!” This Halloween party is also notable for an appearance by Phoebe’s twin sister, recurring Mad About You character, Ursula.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Alpha Delta’s demonic frat party
Just like the Friends Halloween party, this fourth-season Buffy episode features an unlikely character in a pink bunny costume. This time it’s Anya, and that’s where the similarities between the two shows end. When strange, scary things start happening at Alpha Delta’s Halloween party, it’s up to the Scooby Gang to discover that those stupid frat dudes have adorned their floor with the Mark of Gachnar, and an unlucky drop of Oz’s blood has put the ritual to summon him in motion. Luckily for everyone, when Gachnar finally does appear, he’s only a few inches tall. Everyone has a good laugh after Buffy tramples him, marking one more comparatively mild Halloween for the Slayer set.
Community: Greendale Halloween party
Ah, the Greendale Halloween party. It’s an annual tradition — which is no surprise, considering Dean Pelton’s year-round fondness for costumes. Although both the first and second seasons of Community featured great, awkward shindigs, the latter episode was the most wonderfully absurd. After the dean caters the party with food he got a great deal on at an army surplus store, everyone who has eaten it comes down with a mysterious illness that transforms them into zombie-like creatures. And that’s not even the scariest part of the episode — what’ll really make your skin crawl is seeing Shirley hook up with Chang.
Everybody Hates Chris: Chris’ grown-up Halloween party
In another great moment for TV-character Halloween costumes, 13-year-old Chris attempts to impress a girl by showing up at a party for adults in a Prince costume his mom made him. (We wonder if that’s where this kid’s parents got the idea.) He isn’t successful, but he does manage to get in a pretty formative slow dance with a different woman at party that looks like a whole lot of fun.
Beverly Hills, 90210: Donna Martin, mermaid
There were plenty of 90210 Halloween episodes, but by far the most memorable was the first one. From the show’s second season, it features poor, not-so-bright Donna in a mermaid costume that makes it impossible to dance (or really even move at all). That’s the comic relief. But since it’s 90210, there’s got to be some melodrama, too — and it comes in the form of Kelly’s attempted rape at the hands of an older man in a cowboy suit. Tonal inconsistency aside, though, the decision to dress Brenda and Dylan as Bonnie and Clyde holds up 20 years later.
Roseanne: Halloween at the Lodge
“It wouldn’t be Halloween unless the Conners overdid it,” eh? Roseanne’s annual Halloween episode was a beloved tradition, and the Season 4 installment, written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, found the family at a clusterfuck of a Lodge costume party. Jackie shows up to discover that she and Crystal are both dressed as Morticia Adams (or Elvira, or Cher), and is haunted by a particularly creepy ghost of Elvis. But that’s just a sideshow to Dan and Roseanne’s endearingly cheesy dead-ventriloquist-and-dummy act — and her obsession with the idea that her prim neighbor, Kathy, is planning to get back at the couple for a gruesome prank. Bonus: There’s also some excellent footage of a young George Clooney, who played Booker on the show, in a moose costume.
The Cosby Show: Vanessa’s boy/girl party
Despite her dad’s attempts to embarrass her with childish jack-o’-lanterns, Vanessa manages to throw a more sophisticated party for her junior-high friends. When she gets some secondhand news that he’s attending, she becomes obsessed with impressing her crush, Robert Foreman, “the absolute coolest boy in the seventh grade.” After some complex politicking, he approaches Vanessa — and she runs away, panicked. By the end of the episode, she’s endured a few humiliating false starts, but Robert turns out to be a total sweetheart who just wants to go steady with her. OMG, you guys, best Halloween party ever!
Pretty Little Liars: Ghost Train
When you’ve got a network of murderers constantly one step ahead of you, what could possibly go wrong at a Halloween party on a moving train? In an elaborate episode that aired earlier this week, the Pretty Little Liars gang decked themselves out as silver-screen sirens and hopped on the Sketchy Express. Everything started out innocently enough, with a completely random performance by Adam Lambert, but soon enough, Aria was locked in a box and someone dressed exactly like Caleb tried to get fresh with Hanna and then all of a sudden it was the kind of party where the night ended with police taking statements from witnesses. Sigh. These girls just can’t catch a break.