Starting way back in the second season of The Simpsons, the Halloween Treehouse of Horror episodes allow the writers of the show to go even further with their ridiculous premises, transforming characters into werewolves, killing them off completely or introducing alien species into the fold.
Considered some of the best and most fun episodes of the series as a whole by many fans, it seemed fitting to include this in our 31 Days of Horror series… here’s seven of the best Halloween segments from The Simpsons.
7. I Know What You Diddily-Iddily-Did – Season 11
A parody of I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Simpsons accidentally run over Ned, killing him outright, or so they think. In an attempt to cover up their crime, they take Ned’s body hoke with them, and attempt to stage an accident, with Homer throwing Ned’s body from the roof. It turns out Ned isn’t dead, but is in fact a werewolf, bitten moments before they ran him over. Transforming into the werewolf in front of the family, Ned mauls Homer as the rest of the family escape.
6. Hell Toupee – Season 10
One of the most underutilised characters regarding the segments is Snake, the charming and loveable criminal who ends up always free and always committing crimes. The star of this segment, he dies pretty early on, but not before vowing vengeance on those who wronged him. As such it seems perfectly normal his hair piece goes on a murderous rampage, taking over Homer to do his bidding.
5. Frinkenstein – Season 15
Another character largely unused in the Halloween segments, Professor Frink figures out how to bring his father back to life. As per in the Halloween segments, things go awry and his father goes on a murder spree, taking their organs and becoming a super-brainy, super strong villain.
4. The Thing and I – Season 8
Bart has always been a hellraiser, with his antics and pranks on his friends and family being a staple of the show for years gone by. Knowing he had a supposedly evil twin meant we were in for a fun ride. The twist that Hugo was in fact the good twin, and they’d gotten the two mixed up at birth was an amusing if predictable twist, but the family’s solution to lock Bart up in the antic and feed him through the vents as they had previously to Hugo is always funny.
3. Time and Punishment – Season 6
Another instance of Homer blindly happening upon a situation, he breaks the family toaster and chooses to try and fix it. With his modifications he ends up creating a time machine, and with every trip back in time he takes, he ends up ruining the future a little more. From Ned being the dictator of the world, to the family being relatively normal apart from lizard-like tongues, it’s a wild ride from beginning to end.
2. The Homega Man – Season 9
In typical Homer fashion, he manages to survive a direct nuclear explosion on Springfield through pure chance. With everyone else seemingly dead, he embarks on activities of pure freedom, before realising he’s not as alone as he thought. Several other inhabitants survived, albeit mutated and affected by the explosion, and they chase Homer back to his own house, where thanks to the countless layers of lead, the rest of the Simpsons are waiting for him.
1. The Shinning – Season 6
Hands down the best Halloween segment from the many on offer, The Shinning is usually the first people think of when you’re talking about the Treehouse of Horror segments. A parody of The Shining, the family go and housesit, however they quickly realise all their creature comforts are gone. No television and no beer makes Homer a crazy boy. Featuring Willie giving Bart a prophetic warning about his father’s impending craziness, the segment is top drawer from start to end.
There are so many segments in the long history of The Simpsons, but these are seven of the best. Admittedly the earlier Halloween segments are better than the more recent, something that is shared by the normal episodes too, but for now we’ll have to look back and hope some other decent Halloween segments appear.