Halloween is still my favourite holiday of the year by far. Candy, costumes, horror films and no family obligations? Awesome. And call it nostalgia or die hard loyalty, but The Simpsons is still my favourite source of Halloween-themed entertainment. So, in celebration of my favourite holiday and my favourite show, I’m happy to bring you my Top 5 Simpsons Halloween episodes.
Now sure, some of you fell off the Simpsons wagon awhile back… and maybe you hit your head and forgot how awesome the show is. But let’s not forget that for a solid oh, 15 years, The Simpsons dominated the airwaves and drove the baseline for cultural comedy. Since its second season The Simpsons has embraced Halloween in annual Treehouse of Horror episodes, and these Top 5 are by far my favourite episodes for getting a strong dose of Halloween spirit.
#5: Treehouse of Horror
The first episode of the Simpsons Halloween saga began as an ode to one of my favourite horror films, Creepshow; and still holds its own against later episodes (which became subsequently more abstract in their take on ‘Halloween’). I love this episode because it offers three awesome bone chillers, all gorgeously ‘Simpsonified’ as Bart and Lisa try to top each other’s ghost stories (while Homer eavesdrops). Bad Dream House and Hungry are the Damned are fun stories with a twist, but James Earl Jones reading Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, is classic. We used to play the audio from The Raven in this episode on a loop at my house on Halloween and people loved it! This episode totally sets the Halloween mood.
#4 Treehouse of Horror IV
Another episode that stuck to its Halloween guns and my 4th favourite features Homer making deals with the devil, a gremlin on the plane, and something the writers threw together with Vampires. Casting Ned Flanders as the Devil was one of the more brilliant establishing elements of this episode; that and the insatiable appetite for mocking classic horror films. William Shatner’s Nightmare at 20,000 feet and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (the cinematic version) all get the Springfield treatment in this clever classic episode.
#3 Treehouse of Horror VIII
Somehow this episode marks the beginning of the end for Simpsons Halloween…. but it’s a great final huzzah before the writers spiraled in to Harry Potter references (cough). I sincerely love this episode, although it’s only sitting at #3… I’m a sci-fi fan at heart, so each of these might be borderline horror but they still work at Halloween for me. HΩmega Man puts Homer against the zombie apolcalpyse, and taught me that dancing in church can be fun. Fly vs Fly shows how to haggle at garage sales, and warns of the dangers of imitating Jeff Goldblum. And finally, Easy Bake Coven… one of the more clever explanations of where Halloween came from. A solid #3 episode, for sure.
#2: Treehouse of Horror V
I had a hard time putting this episode as #2, because I love The Shining and really enjoy seeing Willy struggle. Probably the most memorable of all Simpsons Halloween episodes, the sixth season brought us The Shinning, Time and Punishment, and Nightmare Cafeteria. Almost all of the core cast is used in this episode and at the height of ‘Simpsons greatness’, it also has a lot of great punchy one-liners about Willy, Üter, and the follies of time travel. I also love the continuity between segments, with Willy being axed in the back in each story (sorry Willy). As a strong Halloween-themed episode, this comes in at a very close second to my #1.
#1: Treehouse of Horror VI (7th season)
This gem probably stands as #1 because it aired at the height of my Simpsons fanaticism. I can (shamelessly) admit that I sing the jingle for Stopping Monsters on a weekly basis, and “Holy Macaroni” has been enshrined as a point of exclamation. Why is this my #1? The episode is solid, 3 good shorts that are all Halloweeny, especially Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace (although Homer3 is borderline sci-fi) and the jokes are non-stop. This episode also featured the first 3D rendering of the Simpsons, overlaid on a real video sequence… it even won the grand prize at The Ottawa International Animation Festival (woohoo).
Enjoy – Happy Halloween!!!