Welcome to The A-Z of Horror – an alphabetical window into the horror genre. Over the course of 26 days, I’ll be taking a look at horror in all its facets and forms, offering up suggestions of what to watch, should you be in the mood for a real good scare.

Today: H is for Halloween Specials

Look past all the tricks and Halloween is filled with many (many) treats, from costumes and parties to bucket loads of candy. There is also one other treat which pops up every once in a while, and usually in a place you least expect it. I am of course referring to Halloween specials.

So many TV shows have Halloween specials, from Garfield’s Halloween Adventure (1985) and Goof Troop’s Hallow-Weenies (1992) to SpongeBob SquarePants’ Scaredy Pants (1999) and Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s A Halloween Story (1996).

Below, I’ve set out three shows which became known for their great Halloween specials. You’ll be familiar with each show, but are you quite familiar with just how many Halloween specials each has produced?



Image: CBS

Throughout its original nine-season run, Roseanne served up a total of seven Halloween specials, appearing between Seasons Two and Eight. Episodes included: ‘BOO!’ (S2), ‘Trick or Treat’ (S3), ‘Trick Me Up, Trick Me Down’ (S4), ‘Halloween IV’ (S5), ‘Halloween V’ (S6), ‘Skeleton in the Closet’ (S7) and ‘Halloween: The Final Chapter’ (S8). Roseanne was one of the best-loved comedies of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s and the Halloween specials were some of the best remembered episodes of the show’s run.

Home Improvement

Home Improvement

Image: ABC

As with Roseanne, Home Improvement, another comedy show of the ‘90s, was also popping out Halloween specials – seven in fact. The episodes included: ‘The Haunting of Taylor House’ (S2), ‘Crazy for You’ (S3), ‘Borland Ambition’ (S4), ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ (S5), ‘I Was a Teenage Taylor’ (S6), ‘A Night to Dismember’ (S7) and ‘Bewitched’ (S8).

The Simpsons

The Simpsons

Image: 20th Century Fox

And of course, no discussion about Halloween specials would be complete without a mention for The Simpsons Halloween specials – Treehouse of Horror. To date, there has been a Treehouse of Horror episode for every season of The Simpsons bar one – the first. While many argue that the quality of the show isn’t what it was, most people will agree that the Treehouse of Horror episodes are still worth a watch and with so many of them (28 and counting) there are plenty to choose from.

If you look hard enough, you’ll find a wealth of Halloween specials hidden away in some of the unlikeliest of shows. The beauty is uncovering one you’ve not seen before and giving it a watch in the run-up to Halloween.

As mentioned during previous discussions in The A-Z of horror, not every aspect of the horror genre is there to freak us out – sometimes there’s just a bit of fun to be had. Halloween specials offer up a different viewpoint on horror and remind us that everyone needs a treat every once in a while.

Tomorrow: I is for…