Great Pumpkins to Vampire Slayers: The finest Halloween TV episodes

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Mr. Television picks the season's all-time Top 10

When it comes to holiday-themed episodes, Halloween is second only to Christmas, with sitcoms like "The Simpsons" and "Roseanne" accumulating enough chapters for a spooky all-night marathon. Here are my picks for the all-time creepiest and the kookiest, a mixture of comedy and drama, weepy and witty. Drum roll, please …

10. "Everybody Loves Raymond" ("Halloween Candy," Oct. 26, 1998)
Frank (Peter Boyle) mistakes the colorful package of condoms purchased by Ray (Ray Romano) for chocolate coins and gives them out to the trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood. And all Ray wanted was a night (or two) of passion with Debra (Patricia Heaton). Holy crap!?

9. "Modern Family" ("Halloween," Oct. 27, 2010)
Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil’s (Ty Burrell) obsession with the holiday, coupled with Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) not knowing if he should dress in a costume at his new job (he does, and is the only one) makes this a prime example of why "Modern Family" took home the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series for five consecutive years.

8. "Roseanne" ("Boo," Oct. 31, 1989)
With eight Halloween-themed episodes over nine seasons, the Conner clan took the holiday more seriously than almost any other fictional TV family. And this first of the bunch, set in the Conner "Tunnel of Terror," focused on the competition between Roseanne and Dan (John Goodman) to see who could be more diabolical (all while Dan awaits word on an important business deal).

7. "The Office" ("Halloween," Oct. 18, 2005)
Smack in the middle of the Halloween festivities, clueless Michael Scott (Steve Carell) must meet his deadline and fire one of the Dunder Mifflin staffers. Creed Bratton is his first choice, but Creed convinces Michael that Devon (Devon Abner) should get the axe. And lonely Michael, who is fretting over his decision, spends the evening home alone in front of the television.

6. "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" ("Fear Itself," Oct. 26, 1999)
A haunted frat house with real bats, zombies and a spooky demon wreaks havoc on a Halloween party, leaving Sarah Michelle Gellar and company on their toes.

5. "It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (Oct. 27, 1966)
I know, this is a special and not a regularly scheduled series. But no conversation about TV and Halloween is complete without this Peanuts classic.

4. "American Horror Story" ("Halloween," two parts — Oct. 26 and Nov. 2, 2011)
Just as we were familiarizing ourselves with this franchise came a two-part Halloween-themed story riddled with truly terrifying moments, lots of gore and the typical melodrama for this can’t-miss seasonal anthology.

3. "Community" ("Epidemiology," Oct. 28, 2010)
In this parody of various zombie-slash-horror movies, a nasty food-poisoning epidemic sweeps through a party on Greendale’s campus, turning the affected attendees into zombie-like beings. Just as the study group tries to escape, they are locked inside, trapped with the infected. Consider this underrated "Community" at its finest.?

2. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ("Trick or Treat," Oct. 7, 2001)
Leave it to Larry David, who after questioning why two teenage girls not wearing costumes are tick-or-treating finds his house toilet-papered the morning after. Little does he know they also spray-painted the words "Bald Asshole" on his front door. It was never a dull moment for whiny Larry!

1. "The Simpsons" ("Treehouse of Horror V," Oct. 30, 1994)
If my math is correct, this weekend will mark the 26th installment of the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes of Fox’s "The Simpsons." The first was in Season Two, 1990, and it kicked off the annual fright-fest known for its trio of standalone short stories, darker tone and merchandising mania. While no easy pick, the parody of Jack Nicholson classic "The Shining" (here called "The Shinning") in the fifth edition features the clan as caretakers at Mr. Burns’ mansion. And Homer, sans his beloved television and beer, becomes insane and tries to murder the family.  D'oh!


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