With a raft of spooky TV treats having been released over the past few weeks, including The Fall of the House of Usher and Goosebumps, the big day is finally upon us.


That's right, Halloween is here for 2023, and if, like us, you're in the mood for something spine-chilling, horrific or simply holiday themed, we've got you covered.

We've been looking back through TV history to find five of the best Halloween TV specials ever to have aired, including episodes from The Simpsons, Community and Scream Queens, amongst others.

Read on for our list of 5 Halloween specials that are worth a rewatch this year.

Treehouse of Horror VI - The Simpsons

Homer in 3D in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VI
Homer in 3D in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VI. 20th Century Fox

While maybe not the most traditionally scary Treehouse of Horror instalment, this mind-bending 1995 episode has stuck with me since I was a child. It includes two other stories (Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores and Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace), but Homer3, based on a 1962 Twilight Zone episode, is the unsettling star.

More like this

While looking for a hiding place to avoid his sisters-in-law Patty and Selma, Homer slips behind a bookcase and into a 3D world. Despite his family’s - and Reverend Lovejoy’s - best efforts, he is stuck with no escape, eventually being sucked through a rip in the space-time continuum… into the real world. Darcy Giles

Epidemiology - Community

The cast of Community season 2
The cast of Community season 2. NBC

Season 2’s Epidemiology rivals the legendary paintball episodes as Community’s most memorable homage to genre cinema. The Halloween special sees a zombie outbreak hit Greendale college after the delightfully daft Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) acquires infected budget catering.

There are rapid fire gags and genuine tension as our favourites are picked off one-by-one, with iconic duo Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) stealing the show. Far from being swept under the rug, this surreal episode also has one lasting consequence that makes it essential viewing for any rewatch. David Craig

Haunted House - Scream Queens

Emma Roberts, Lea Michele and Billie Lourd in Scream Queens
Emma Roberts, Lea Michele and Billie Lourd in Scream Queens. 20th Century Fox

The Haunted House episode of Scream Queens, a black comedy from prolific trio Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, has it all: a serial killer disguised as a red devil who is terrorising the members of a sorority house, a slew of viable suspects, deliciously weird teen drama, hysterically funny dialogue, a cast that includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Keke Palmer and Niecy Nash, and the president of said sorority Chanel Oberlin, played exquisitely by Emma Roberts, who is one of TV’s finest love-to-hate characters.

The episode opens with her announcing her annual Chanel-O-Ween celebration, a hilarious, whip-smart detail that is Scream Queens at its very best and it ends with another compelling twist in the tale that leaves you hungry for more. Haunted House is the perfect Halloween watch. Abby Robinson

The One with the Halloween Party - Friends

Sean Penn and Lisa Kudrow in Friends
Sean Penn and Lisa Kudrow in Friends. NBC

It may not provide horror in the traditional sense, but you've got to admit that falling for your twin sister's other half is a pretty scary scenario. That's what happens to Phoebe in this iconic Halloween episode of Friends, which introduces Sean Penn in a memorable guest role.

The episode also features a lot of fun costumes, of course, from Chandler as the discoloured Velveteen Rabbit to Ross as the doody-looking Spud-nik (who could forget their overlong arm wrestle?). Phoebe and Monica went for superhero attire, while Rachel came as 'a woman who spent a lot of money on a dress' and Joey came as Chandler with a comedic impression to match.

On a rewatch, this episode of course takes on extra poignancy following the recent sad news of Matthew Perry's death. Rob Leane

Dead Line - Inside No. 9

Reverend Neil (Reece Shearsmith) and Arthur Flitwick (Steve Pemberton) in Inside No. 9
Reverend Neil (Reece Shearsmith) and Arthur Flitwick (Steve Pemberton) in Inside No. 9. BBC/Sophie Mutevelian

A live Halloween special about a mysterious mobile phone discovered in a graveyard sounded like a treat – but Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton had a devilish trick up their sleeves.

Aired in 2018, Dead Line is Inside No. 9 at its most creative and bold, paying homage to the seminal BBC chiller Ghostwatch by creating the kind of event television that is increasingly rare in an era of boxsets and catch-up – you really had to be there on first viewing.

And that Bobby Davro clip? Still one of the most horrifying TV moments of all time... in every way. Christian Tobin

Check out more of our Comedy coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10 – subscribe now and celebrate the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who with a special issue of Radio Times. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.