10 Lesser Known Halloween TV Episodes

When I was a kid, I anticipated the Halloween specials that would air just like everyone else, but I also had a special affinity for Halloween episodes of my favorite shows.  While a number of recent shows have had beloved Spooky season themed eps, I thought I'd look back at a few lesser known ones from the spooky hallows of television history. 

1. The Adventures of Ozzy and Harriet:
Halloween Party

Airdate: October 31, 1952
Watch: YouTube

Ozzy thinks that Harriet's Halloween parties are always too disorganized. Determined to make Halloween orderly he sets out to schedule the perfect Halloween party down to the minute. The only problem is, come the day, he forgot little details like a place to have the party and food.

Planning a Halloween party takes lots of time as anyone who has done it knows, but husbands that think they know more than wives are literally older than this sitcom or the successful radio show it was based on. Ozzy and Harriet were the prototypical American family, the Cleavers before the Cleavers (and ironically a Pre-Beaver Jerry Mathers makes an appearance as a Trick or Treater).

While most people today will think Ozzy means Osborne, Ozzy and Harriet (along with their kids ) show, along with a few others, laid the groundwork for pretty much everything that came after.  You could still take the plot of this, plop Jim Belushi and Leah Remini in it and it would work. It wouldn't be as good because Jim Belushi was in it, but my point is that the basic tropes remain timeless.  Plus, Ozzy gives little Ricky the most slapdash skull face this side of that kid who loves turtles so that's worth seeing.

Quote: "Always wear a skeleton costume because people think you're real skinny and they feel real bad for you and give you extra cake and candy.", Ricky Nelson

2. M*A*S*H: Trick or Treatment
Airdate: November 1, 1982
Watch: Amazon

Hawkeye and BJ are almost dressed and ready for the Halloween party, but costumes and all they are thrown into surgery as the real life horrors of war keep them from making merry. In the OR, they share stories of supernatural occurances to pass the time.

Landing in the last season of M*A*S*H, the typically lovely balance of comedy and drama usually on display is landing in a more heavy handed vein. Thankfully the couple B stories lighten the mood as George Wendt (Norm!) shows up as a Marine who got a pool ball stuck in his mouth, and Father Mulcahy has a short bit where he brings a dead body back to life. Costumes run thoughout with episode with Hawkeye as Superman, BJ as a clown with Water Bottle shoes, Hot Lips as a geisha, and Potter, of course, as a cowboy.

Trivia: While appearing in this episode, George Wendt was also appearing in the first season of Cheers.  Speaking of which....

3. Cheers: Fairy Tales Can Come True
Airdate: October 25, 1984
Watch: Peacock

Cliff shows up to Halloween as his hero, Ponce De Leon, discoverer of his beloved Florida, but the guys wonder why he never shows up with a girl. Summoning up the courage from behind his Conquistador garb, Cliff hits it off with a pretty Tinkerbell. They make a date for the next day, but when she doesn't show, he worries she wouldn't like the real Cliff Clavin. 

While there is a subplot that runs throughout devoted to Sam and Diane going on a platonic outing, I was glad the episode spent the lion's share of the time on Cliff's story. Who among us hasn't been at a party chatting someone up, masked or not, only to wonder the next day if we made the impression we wanted. It feels like an universal experience and that's what Cheers was so good at, making characters feel like friends.  We just didn't know their name, we knew them. I should also mention the other costumes on display here with Frasier the Mad Hatter, Diane was Alice, Sam a cowboy, Coach a Fortune Teller, and Carla in tradional prisoner stripes.

Trivia: John Ratzenburger would go on to appear as a very Cliff Clavin type character in the Horror classic House 2: The Second Story

4. The Andy Griffith Show
Airdate: October 7, 1964
Watch: Hulu

Opie and his friend hit their baseball into the creepy old abandoned mansion in Mayberry. They go into get it, but after they hear a ghost inside, they run to Opie's Pa for help.  Andy sends Barney and Gomer who come back more scared than the kids.  It lands on level headed Andy to investigate, and when he does, he finds there's more spirits than spirit to the haunting as he busts up a moonshine still. 

There's one good reason for this episode to exist, Don Knotts being scared.  Nobody plays bumbling, anxious, and scared like Knotts did, and this episode of Andy Griffith puts all his skills on display. It was this episode that inspired Don to go on to make the classic The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and if you haven't seen that, finish reading this list, share it to your friends, tweet it, snap it, tell two people you know in real life about it, as well as one stranger, and then watch it with no delay.

The episode also touches on some classic Scooby Doo type spookiness with eyes following from behind a painting, gastly groans from the cellar, and floating axes dancing around on fishing wire. As with most episodes of the show, there's a good feeling aww-shucks kind of Southern energy thay makes it an enjoyable watch.

Quote : " There's a lot we don't know! There's plenty happening in the Twlight Zone right now and we better steer clear", Barney Fife 

5. Barney Miller- The Wolfman
Airdate: October 28, 1976
Watch: Amazon 

Barney Miller's precinct is stretched thin with tons of cops out with swine flu (as Detective Harris (Ron Glass) says, "There's a joke there, but not for this crowd."), and to top it off, it's a full moon. When they get a call from a man pleading for them to stop him from killing, Barney dispatches a pair of officers to bring back the suspect who claims he is about to change into a werewolf.

There are a couple of subplots at play in this episode and I quite liked how they played off each other with the theme of fear. An elderly couple has all their things taken from them at gunpoint by their cab driver, the wildest fears of any 1980s New York tourist come true. Meanwhile, Wojo (Max Gail) is scared of needles and trying to avoid his inoculation. All of this is happening while a caged man, clearly a slave to his own fears, becomes ever more convinced he is going to be a raving beast come the full moon. Also, Fish (Abe Vigoda) passes up going home many times, and it seems like like might be afraid to have to face his wife.  Miller, like M*A*S*H often mined bigger issues or serio-comedy, and this episode is one of its better examples.

QuoteWerewolf: It's a rare disease, you don't see much lycanthropy these days.

Barney: Then someone must be making progress.

6.  Super Friends: The Super Friends Meet Frankenstein 
Airdate: November 3, 1979
Watch: HBO Max

The grandson of Dr Frankenstein vows to carry on his ancestors work, but building a monster just won't do.  So he creates a trap for the Super Friends, steals their powers, and fashions a Super Monster. It falls to Robin and the Wonder Twin's space monkey Gleek to save the day.

Even as a kid the true horror of this story weren't housed in the work of the Mad scientist, but rather in the thought that the Wonder Twins could just drop Gleek on the rest of the Super Friends and skip out with Aquaman. (All of which apparently not available for backup when it lands on the hands of the Boy Wonder and pal to save the day.) Of course this is Super Friends so it doesn't have to make any sense, it's just good fun to see one of the iconic monsters mix it up with favorite DC characters. Also Gleek is there.

Trivia: The Composite Monster looks similar to the Composite Superman featured in World's Finest Comics #142.

7.Murder, She Wrote- The Legend of Borbey House
Airdate: Oct 3,1993
Watch: Peacock

A newcomer in town, the mysterious Mr.  Baker, has moved into the town's most infamous mansion, Borbey House.  Mysterious happening begin to sprout up, and a supernatural researcher who looks like a dime store Van Helsing tells Ms. Fletcher that the Borbey family suffers the curse of vampirism. When Mr. Baker shows up with a stake in his heart, it's up to Jessica, somehow, to discover the mortal cause to the murders.

Since this is Murder, She Wrote and not Kolchak, there's never any real feeling like vamps might start tearing up the sleepy streets of Cabot Cove. However, there is a delightful treat to the mild effort at the supernatural in a series that has more in common with Agatha Christie than Shirley Jackson. If we could have just put Angela Lansbury's character going toe to toe with Frank Langella, the Lost Boys, or the Near Dark crew,  I would have been first in line.

Trivia: Director Walter Grauman was a veteran of television for over 40 years with episodes of Twilight Zone and Perry Mason to his credit as well as a number of TV flick and the feature Lady in a Cage. 

8. The Flintstones: Meet Weirdly Grusome
Airdate: November 12th, 1964.
Watch: HBO Max 

When Weirdly Grusome , his Wife Creepela,  and their son Gob (with pet giant tarantula) move in next to the Flintstones, Wilma and Betty want to be friends with the new neighbors, and Fred and Barney get stuck babysitting Gob in the Grusome's house of horrors.

The IMDB synopsis says, "A very sinister-looking but affable couple and their child move into a mansion next door to the Flintstones." Sure, affable, if you think eating your pet is affable. The Grusomes ,while driving a boss hearse and having a lot of really cool goth stuff, plot to eat Dino, have eaten their neighbors pets before,and moved away because apparently their neighbors didn't think that was normal. To straight up eat your pet. Yep, this passed me by when I was a kid too. (But so did the fact that this was 20 years old when I was a kid watching it.) 

While clearly intended to be Hanna Barbara's Addams Family, The Grusomes would continue to reappear in The Flinstones, ultimately being redesigned as The Creeply's for The Pebbles and Bamm Bam Show, they would even appear on the  original multiverse smasher, Laff-o-lympics.

Weirdly: [Fred just opened the door and meets Mr Gruesome for the first time] Hello Mr Flintstone. I'm Gruesome.

Fred: Yeah, you are, sort of. But knowing it is half the battle.

Weirdly: You can call me Weirdly.

Fred: I was just about to do that.

9. Bewitched. A Safe and Sane Halloween
Airdate: October 26, 1967
Watch: YouTube

Darren is being a bummer. It's Tabitha's first Halloween for Trick or Treating, and he insists it be magical, just not Samantha's type of magical. Sam promises, but it's not her fault that Tabitha wishes up three characters from her storybook to go Trick or Treating with, or that only Tabitha can undo the spell (because it's wishcraft and not witchcraft. Can Wishmaster fit into Bewitched lore?) or that the nosey next door neighbor's nephew wore the same outfit as one of the characters, accidently went home with Sam, and got turned into a goat. Not Samantha's fault, but, of course she has to fix it, mostly through nose wiggling magic.

This episode follows the familiar formula of Bewitched.  Darren says no magic. Magic and chaos ensue. Darren says please fix this with magic. The Halloween trappings add to the the fun and and three little buddies Tabitha summoned look like an early version of something Silver Shamrock would produce.

Trivia: Bewitched was inspired by classic witchy comedies Bell, Book, and Candle (1958) and I Married A Witch (1942)

10. The Honeymooners
Airdate: Oct 25, 1952
Watch: Tubi

It's Halloween, and Ralph and Alice have been invited to the Bus Drivers Ball, and they invite along their best pals Trixie and Ed. Alice has a angel costume, Trixie a sailor, Ed as Clara Bow, and Ralph gets stuck as a Zulu Chief. Unhappy with this offensive outfit, Ralph decides to disress his new tuxedo to be King of the Hobos. Unfortunately, when the other couple going to the party arrives,  it turns out to have been a formal ball and now Ralph lacks the clothes to go.

While this is considered one of the "lost" episodes of The Honeymooners, it is more of a segment filmed for The Jackie Gleason Show and only runs a little over 9 minutes.  Yet it get across more plot, laugh points, and vaguely offensive content to modern viewers, in a short amount of time than your average Adult Swim show. It also is everything a half hour sitcom needs distilled to its bare bones existing in the early days of the format.   If you don't laugh once or twice, well, one of these days, bang to to moon! Not really, I don't advocate violence. So only go to the moon if it feels right to you.

Quote: Ralph: I can't go like this. I look like an idiot!

Ed: Isn't that what you're supposed to be?

So what have we learned from these episodes today that we can take into the Halloween season.  Go out looking like an idiot. Do magic up front to save yourself magic later. Don't let your neighbors eat your pet. Vampires aren't real. Super Frankenstien isn't the doctor or the monster, they never said that at all. Don't be afraid of needles or moonshiners. Don't put a pool ball in your mouth, and always dress as a skeleton so you get that extra cake and candy!


  1. Great to see you back again, unless it's just me.......

  2. At least for the Halloween season, expect to see The Bugg around. After that, it may be back to the Secret Writing Cave, but thanks for the welcome back.


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