For almost as long as The Simpsons has been on TV screens, the show has aired a special run of Halloween-themed episodes. These episodes, which run under the banner name of Treehouse of Horror, began with the show’s second season, and have continued to appear annually, with one episode airing per season.
To date, there are 31 episodes of Treehouse of Horror, as well as one additional Halloween-themed episode of The Simpsons. This means there are at least enough episodes to watch one a day throughout the month of October, for those who simply can’t get enough of Halloween.
In this post I am taking a look at the Halloween episodes of The Simpsons, with a little rundown of each episode. So, if you have ever wondered which episodes featured what stories, hopefully this post can help you out.
Treehouse of Horror (Season Two – Episode Three)
The Simpsons kicks off its run of Halloween episodes with Treehouse of Horror, which aired during the show’s second season all the way back in 1990. This episode is divided into three segments, and contains the following stories:
- Bad Dream House
- Hungry are the Damned
- The Raven
These three stories demonstrate that when it comes to Halloween, all bets are off. Anything can happen and the events of each story have no impact on the regular episodes of The Simpsons.
This first Treehouse of Horror features various nods and spoofs to classic horror stories, including The Amityville Horror (1979), Poltergeist (1982), The Twilight Zone, and Edgar Allan Poe’s 1845 poem, The Raven. This episode is a fantastic way to begin Treehouse of Horror.
Treehouse of Horror II (Season Three – Episode Seven)
Following the same template set out by the first Treehouse of Horror special, Treehouse of Horror II includes another three story segments, each placing the Simpsons in various horror settings. None of these stories carry a title, so no specific segment names I’m afraid; however, they include a reworking of The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs; a spoof of The Twilight Zone episode, It’s a Good Life; and a story in which Mr. Burns steals Homer’s brain.
Treehouse of Horror III (Season Four – Episode Five)
For the third Treehouse of Horror episode, the individual story titles return. The segments include:
- Clown Without Pity
- King Homer
- Dial “Z” for Zombies
Across the three segments, this episode parodies King Kong (1933); the zombie genre; and movies featuring possessed dolls, including the likes of Trilogy of Terror (1975) and Child’s Play (1988).
Treehouse of Horror IV (Season Five – Episode Four)
For Treehouse of Horror IV the story segments include:
- The Devil and Homer Simpson
- Terror at 5 ½ Feet
- Bart Simpson’s Dracula
These three stories parody the 1936 short story The Devil and Daniel Webster by Stephen Benét; The Twilight Zone episode, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet; and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). All three segments are excellent, making this one of the best Treehouse of Horror episodes.
Treehouse of Horror V (Season Six – Episode Six)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror V include:
- The Shinning
- Time and Punishment
- Nightmare Cafeteria
This episode includes a reimagining of The Shining (1980); a parody of the 1952 Ray Bradbury story, A Sound of Thunder; and references to Soylent Green (1973). This is another great episode Treehouse of Horror – if not the best.
Treehouse of Horror VI (Season Seven – Episode Six)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror VI include:
- Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores
- Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace
For the sixth instalment in the Treehouse of Horror series, the show includes parodies of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958); A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984); and The Twilight Zone episode, Little Girl Lost. The segment, Homer3 is notable for including the use of 3D animation, as well as a live-action sequence where Homer enters ‘the real world’.
This episode, and the two that came before it are my top three Treehouse of Horror episodes.
Treehouse of Horror VII (Season Eight – Episode One)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror VII include:
- The Thing and I
- The Genesis Tub
- Citizen Kang
This episode includes nods to Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), as well a The Twilight Zone episode, The Little People. The Thing and I is the strongest segment in this episode.
Treehouse of Horror VIII (Season Nine – Episode Four)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror VIII include:
- The HΩmega Man
- Fly vs. Fly
- Easy-Bake Coven
Treehouse of Horror VIII continues the horror references with reworkings of The Omega Man (1971), The Fly (1958), and The Crucible (1996).
Treehouse of Horror IX (Season Ten – Episode Four)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror IX include:
- Hell Toupée
- The Terror of Tiny Toon
- Starship Poopers
The parodies continue in Treehouse of Horror IX with a reworking of The Amazing Stories episode, Hell Toupée, as well as the movie Stay Tuned (1992). Meanwhile, the final segment, Starship Poopers takes its name from the 1997 film, Starship Troopers and includes a sequence featuring The Jerry Springer Show – a talk show which became hugely successful during the 1990s.
Treehouse of Horror X (Season Eleven – Episode Four)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror X include:
- I Know What You Diddily-Iddily-Did
- Desperately Xeeking Xena
- Life’s a Glitch, Then You Die
For the tenth episode of Treehouse of Horror, the show kicks off with a parody of the movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), before moving on to make fun of the superhero genre, as well as the Millennium Bug (aka Y2K) – a supposed software glitch that many believed would cause mass disruption at the beginning of the year 2000 (it didn’t).
Treehouse of Horror XI (Season Twelve – Episode One)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XI include:
- G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad
- Scary Tales Can Come True
- Night of the Dolphin
The eleventh episode of Treehouse of Horror features parodies of Ghost Dad (1990), Hansel and Gretel, and The Day of the Dolphin (1973). For me, this is where the quality of the Treehouse of Horror episodes start to falter a little.
Treehouse of Horror XII (Season Thirteen – Episode One)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XII include:
- Hex and the City
- House of Whacks
- Wiz Kids
The first segment sees Homer cursed by a gypsy, while the second is a parody of the movies 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Demon Seed (1977). The third segment spoofs the Harry Potter franchise – one of the weakest segments so far.
Treehouse of Horror XIII (Season Fourteen – Episode One)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XIII include:
- Send in the Clones
- The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms
- The Island of Dr. Hibbert
The first segment of this episode of Treehouse of Horror is a parody of the 1996 sci-fi comedy, Multiplicity. The story focuses on Homer’s new-found ability to clone himself.
The second segment focuses on the topic of gun control and includes references to famous characters from the Wild West. The final segment is a parody of the 1896 H.G. Wells novel, The Island of Doctor Moreau.
Treehouse of Horror XIV (Season Fifteen – Episode One)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XIV include:
- Reaper Madness
- Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off
In the first segment of this episode, Homer temporarily takes on the role of the Grim Reaper and is tasked with killing off residents of Springfield. The second and third segments are parodies of Frankenstein (1931), and The Twilight Zone episode, A Kind of a Stopwatch.
Treehouse of Horror XV (Season Sixteen – Episode One)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XV include:
- The Ned Zone
- Four Beheadings and a Funeral
- In the Belly of the Boss
For this episode, the parodies include The Dead Zone (1983), From Hell (2001), and Fantastic Voyage (1966). On a personal note, I believe this to be one of the weakest episodes of Treehouse of Horror as it is neither funny, nor particularly interesting.
Treehouse of Horror XVI (Season Seventeen – Episode Four)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XVI include:
- B.I. Bartificial Intelligence
- Survival of the Fattest
- I’ve Grown a Costume on Your Face
Parodies continue in the sixteenth episode of Treehouse of Horror, with reworkings of A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001); as well as the 1924 short story, The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell. The final segment is inspired by The Twilight Zone episode, The Masks, as well as the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, Halloween.
Treehouse of Horror XVII (Season Eighteen – Episode Four)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XVII include:
- Married to the Blob
- You Gotta Know When to Golem
- The Day the Earth Looked Stupid
Treehouse of Horror episode seventeen makes reference to The Blob (1958), The Golem (1915) and the infamous 1938 Orson Welles radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds.
Treehouse of Horror XVIII (Season Nineteen – Episode Five)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XVIII include:
- E.T., Go Home
- Mr. & Mrs. Simpson
- Heck House
Parodies in this episode include E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), while the final segment includes references to the painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights and the movie, Seven Footprints to Satan (1929). Once again, as with Treehouse of Horror XV, I personally find this episode to be a very weak entry in the series.
Treehouse of Horror XIX (Season Twenty – Episode Four)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XIX include:
- Untitled Robot Parody
- How to Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising
- It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse
For episode nineteen, Treehouse of Horror features references to the Transformers franchise, as well as the TV show, Mad Men. The final segment is a spoof of the beloved Halloween cartoon, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966).
While this is a weaker episode, the Charlie Brown spoof is fantastic and is easily one of the best segments in the collection.
Treehouse of Horror XX (Season Twenty-One – Episode Four)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XX include:
- Dial “M” for Murder or Press “#” to Return to Main Menu
- Don’t Have a Cow, Mankind
- There’s No Business Like Moe Business
Treehouse of Horror XX begins with a segment focusing on the work of Alfred Hitchcock, with its title making reference to the movie, Dial M for Murder (1954). Segment two is a parody of 28 Days Later (2002); while segment three is a reworking of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).
Treehouse of Horror XXI (Season Twenty-Two – Episode Four)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XXI include:
- War and Pieces
- Master and Cadaver
Treehouse of Horror XXI spoofs Jumanji (1995), Dead Calm (1989), and Twilight (2008). This episode is another weak entry in the series, with only Master and Cadaver offering anything interesting.
Treehouse of Horror XXII (Season Twenty-Three – Episode Three)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XXII include:
- The Diving Bell and the Butterball
- Dial D for Diddily
- In the Na’vi
Spoofs for this episode include The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), Spider-Man (2002), the TV show Dexter, and the sci-fi movie, Avatar (2009). Sadly once again this is another weak entry in the Treehouse of Horror collection, with the Avatar spoof (In the Na’vi) feeling very out of place.
Treehouse of Horror XXIII (Season Twenty-Four – Episode Two)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XXIII include:
- The Greatest Story Ever Holed
- Un-normal Activity
- Bart and Homer’s Excellent Adventure
The first segment of this episode sees the Simpson family keep a blackhole in their basement, while segment two is a spoof of Paranormal Activity (2007). The final segment is based on Back to the Future (1985).
Treehouse of Horror XXIV (Season Twenty-Five – Episode Two)
Treehouse of Horror XXIV begins with a very lengthy opening sequence featuring many, many iconic horror movies and television shows. As for the three stories, for this episode they include:
- Oh, the Places You’ll D’oh!
- Dead and Shoulders
- Freaks, No Geeks
The segments featured in Treehouse of Horror XXIV include parodies of the Dr. Seuss’ book, The Cat in the Hat; the 1972 movie The Thing with Two Heads; and Tod Browning’s horror film, Freaks (1932).
Treehouse of Horror XXV (Season Twenty-Six – Episode Four)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XXV include:
- School is Hell
- A Clockwork Yellow
- The Others
In the first segment Bart and Lisa get sent to Hell, while the second segment parodies the work of Stanley Kubrick, specifically the movie, A Clockwork Orange (1971). The final segment is a parody of The Others (2001) and includes two versions of the Simpson family – the contemporary clan and the less polished version that appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show.
Halloween of Horror (Season Twenty-Seven – Episode Four)
And now for something different…
This episode is NOT an official Treehouse of Horror episode; however, it is a Halloween-themed story. It aired as the fourth episode of Season Twenty-Seven, appearing one week before the annual Treehouse of Horror episode.
Halloween of Horror tells a single story, which is set during the run-up to Halloween. The episode focuses on Lisa’s fear of Halloween – a situation that develops during the course of the story – and includes nods to movies such as The Strangers (2008), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), and Halloween (1978).
Despite this episode not being a Treehouse of Horror special, Halloween of Horror is one of the best Halloween-themed episodes of The Simpsons since the early days of the show. If you decide to work your way through the Treehouse of Horror episodes, then be sure to add this episode to your list.
Treehouse of Horror XXVI (Season Twenty-Seven – Episode Five)
After a brief pause for Halloween of Horror, the Treehouse of Horror episodes continue with XXVI, which includes the stories:
- Wanted: Dead, Then Alive
- Telepaths of Glory
The first segment in this episode sees Sideshow Bob murder Bart, only to continually reanimate him so he can kill him again, and again. The second segment is a spoof of Godzilla (1954), while the third segment is a re-working of the sci-fi movie, Chronicle (2012).
The opening story, Wanted: Dead, Then Alive is mildly interesting, but segments two and three are very weak.
Treehouse of Horror XXVII (Season Twenty-Eight – Episode Four)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XXVII include:
- Dry Hard
- BFF R.I.P
Spoofs this time around include The Hunger Games franchise and the Mad Max series, as well as Goldfinger (1964), and Kingsman: The Secret Service. The horror connection here is somewhat lacking.
Treehouse of Horror XXVIII (Season Twenty-Nine – Episode Four)
The three segments of Treehouse of Horror XXVIII include:
- The Exor-Sis
- MMM… Homer
After the horror-lite content of the previous entry, this episode makes up for the shortfall. The Exorcist (1973), Coraline (2009), and the 1982 Stephen King story, Survivor Type all get reworked for Treehouse of Horror XXVIII.
Treehouse of Horror XXIX (Season Thirty – Episode Four)
The three segments featured in Treehouse of Horror XXIX include:
- Intrusion of the Pod-y Switchers
- Geriatric Park
Treehouse of Horror XXIX includes references to Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Split (2016), and Jurassic Park (1993).
Treehouse of Horror XXX (Season Thirty-One – Episode Four)
Treehouse of Horror XXX is notable for being the 666th episode of The Simpsons. The three segments in this episode include:
- Danger Things
- Heaven Swipes Right
- When Hairy Met Slimy
This episode parodies Stranger Things, Heaven Can Wait (1978), and The Shape of Water (2017).
Treehouse of Horror XXXI (Season Thirty-Two – Episode Four)
And finally, Treehouse of Horror XXXI includes the following stories:
- Toy Gory
- Into the Homer-verse
- Be Nine, Rewind
The three segments in this episode include parodies of Toy Story (1995), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), and Be Kind, Rewind (2008).
I hope this run-through of the Treehouse of Horror episodes has given you an overview of the Halloween-themed stories that are on offer from The Simpsons. While I have highlighted the main parodies featured in each episode, it is important to note that throughout the collection there many nods to the horror genre, with some episodes becoming a pure treasure trove for fans.
As noted above, not all of the episodes hit the mark, and there are some episodes which demonstrate the writers struggled for ideas. Yet despite some weak entries, the Treehouse of Horror episodes are mostly enjoyable.
In my opinion, Treehouse of Horror I – VI are the best episodes of the bunch, but there is some good material dotted throughout the rest of the collection (i.e. the Charlie Brown spoof). The non-Treehouse episode, Halloween of Horror is also a treat, and is certainly worth checking out.
Thanks for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this spook-tacular post. If you would like to read more horror-themed content, be sure to take a look at the recommended reads below.