A Very Sitcom Halloween

Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! Anticipating tomorrow’s spookiest and sugariest of holidays, I thought it would be fun to feature some of my favorite sitcom episodes dedicated to the trick-or-treating phenomenon that is Halloween!

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THE HONEYMOONERS:

“Halloween Party” (Aired: 10/25/52 & 10/31/53)

The Kramdens and Nortons dress up for a Halloween party.

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This sketch was performed three times on the Gleason show. Unfortunately, only the ’52 and ’53 versions survive. Featuring an almost identical script, the plot concerns the foursome’s preparations for a Halloween party to which Ralph’s boss has invited them. Ralph as a Zulu Chief is hysterical and Norton as Clara Bow is not-to-be-missed! Both surviving versions are uniformly enjoyable.

BEWITCHED

Episode 43: “Trick Or Treat” (Aired: 10/28/65 | Filmed: Late July 1965)

Endora turns Darrin into a werewolf.

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Over the course of this supernatural sitcom’s eight-year-run, five Halloween episodes were produced. This, from the second season, is probably the strongest of those installments. Featuring the ever delightful Louise and Larry Tate, and an appearance by little Marcia Brady as Young Endora, this is one of the show’s most memorable episodes.

Episode 81: “Twitch Or Treat” (Aired: 10/27/66 | Filmed: Early September 1966)

Endora throws a Halloween party at Darrin and Samantha’s, and Uncle Arthur causes havoc.

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The other Bewitched episode I wanted to feature comes from the following season. A continuation of the previous week’s installment, Endora and Uncle Arthur’s feuding spills over into Endora’s Halloween party. Forget the continuity error regarding Endora’s sentiments regarding Halloween, this is a fun episode that’s blessed with the presence of Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur.

CHEERS

Episode 228: “Bar Wars V: The Final Judgement” (Aired: 10/31/91)

The Cheers crew prepares for their annual Halloween prank war with Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern. But this time Sam may have gone a little too far.

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Most of the episodes in the Bar Wars series are hit and miss — but this one adds a delightful new twist to the genre by tying it in with Halloween. Danson does a good job playing the dupe here, and the subplot of the Cranes letting Freddie have his first Halloween is solid. It may not be the BEST episode of this excellent series, but it’s entertaining and does its job. (It’s also one of the spookiest episodes of the series.)

MARRIED… WITH CHILDREN

Episode 164: “Take My Wife, Please” (Aired: 10/24/93)

Marcy hosts a Halloween party for women who have murdered their husbands, and Al gets a visit from the Grim Reaper, who offers him one last chance to stay alive.

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The quintessential sitcom parody had already gone into looney-town by Season Eight, but uninhibited by constraints, the series really allowed itself into some off-the-wall funny places. In addition to the ‘A’ story of Al being visited by the Grim Reaper (in the form of Peggy, naturally), there’s the totally bonkers storyline of Marcy recruiting the gang to dress up and stand in for the Village People, who failed to show at her party. Delightfully surreal episode.

FRASIER

Episode 99: “Halloween” (Aired: 10/28/97) 

Niles is throwing a literary-themed Halloween party, and Roz fears she might be pregnant.

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The costume party bit is obviously clichéd, but the Crane boys give it an excellent twist — as everyone must come dressed as a literary character. The farce is in high gear in this episode, as Roz’s pregnancy scare sends complications throughout the party and Niles comes to the conclusion that Daphne’s the one who’s pregnant — by Frasier. Excellent episode.

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

Episode 53: “Halloween Candy” (10/26/98)

Ray’s purchase of a colored condom variety pack goes awry when Frank mistakes them for chocolate coins and gives them out for Halloween.

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Another incredibly original storyline coming from the Raymond writers. What starts as a typical Ray vs. Debra episode about vasectomies becomes this HYSTERICAL story of Frank giving out condoms to the trick-or-treaters. Fresh, funny, and memorable, this is a stellar episode from the non-stellar third season.

 

Have any favorites of your own? Share them below. I know there’s plenty more!

BevH1

 

 

Come back next Wednesday for another Wildcard post! And tune in tomorrow as our Xena countdown finds us in the top three!

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4 thoughts on “A Very Sitcom Halloween

  1. Since it’s Halloween week again, and I just found this post, I thought I’d comment on it now.
    I’m glad you didn’t include any Roseanne episodes here. I know the show was known for its Halloween episodes, but I thought the show tended toward gross-out humor too much, especially at Halloween. (I don’t really care much for the show anyway.)
    I thought the Season 4 Halloween episode of Bewitched was also funny & memorable. Poor Monty Margatts got a chocolate cake in the face (off-camera), and Mrs. Kravitz got to see the spooks from Tabitha’s book come to life. I didn’t like Sandra Gould’s Mrs. Kravitz as much as Alice Pearce’s, as she always seemed meaner, so it was funny seeing her react to the spooks so strongly.

    • Hi, Jon! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      All of my attempts to survey ROSEANNE have been unsuccessful, largely because I too find the show gratuitously crass. More to the point, I find the series too self-important. It’s excessively conscious about it’s “non-traditional” domestic humor, and thus, often comes off as pompous (in that decidedly low-class way).

      Meanwhile, I get much enjoyment from MARRIED… WITH CHILDREN, which, though often a perpetrator of easy laughs and cheap gags, never takes itself too seriously. Also, I find it more character driven; the success of an episode rides on the writer’s ability to tap into the voices of the characters — rather than his/her ability to lock into an already established comedienne’s persona.

      But I intend to give ROSEANNE a harder try when Sitcom Tuesdays moves into the late ’80s. As of now, its inclusion isn’t likely.

      As for BEWITCHED, I love the first three season’s Halloween episodes. After that, I’m not quite as enthralled.

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