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Halloween specials from teen shows of the last two and half decades make for a fantastic marathon night for a couple reasons. First, writers take a break from regular programming, so the shows don't necessarily move the story forward, but can stand on their own. That might be frustrating for a single show binge, but it's great for dropping in, marathon style. Second, they're not that scary, a bonus for the terror allergic. Below, you'll find a spate of All Hallows' Eve episodes that will tickle your nostalgia nerve while offering a taste of the fright night spirit.
My So-Called Life
Thankfully My So-Called Life squeezed a Halloween episode into its first and only season. In it, a Jordan Catalano-esque ghost from the 1950s intrigues and spooks Angela.
"Spooked" is a little more dramatic than your typical Halloween special (it's Felicity). The episode kicks off with a couple robbers holding up Felicity and Ben, but then there's a Halloween party complete with a really great Courtney Love/Bride of Frankenstein joke.
"Four Scary Stories" (Daily Motion)
Like the episode title implies, Joey, Jack, Pacey, and Grams exchange "horror" stories that share the terrifying theme of "situations that are totally plausible in real life."
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"Fear, Itself" (Netflix)
Buffy and her crew navigate a nightmare frat party, one that's even more psychologically screwed up than actual frat parties. (Note: There's plenty of debate among Buffy diehards as to the show's best Halloween episode. The other contender is the second season's "Halloween." Watch it as well here.)
Freaks and Geeks
"Tricks and Treats" (Netflix)
Like My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks managed to fit a Halloween episode in its single season. It's equal parts funny and heartbreaking. Try to hold back the tears as Lindsay realizes she and her friends just egged her younger brother Sam, dejected in a homemade robot costume after having all of his candy stolen.
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Here's a murder mystery film noir with a strong witch lead. Sabrina just started college and is mingling with new mortals. She gets her pals stuck in the Other Realm and has to use her brains — not just magic — to free them.
Boy Meets World
"And Then There Was Shawn" (Daily Motion)
"And Then There Was Shawn" isn't technically a Halloween episode (it aired in February), but it's a tight, 20 minute parody of the '90s slasher movie genre.
"Pulp Friction" (Netflix)
"Pulp Friction" also isn't specifically Halloween-themed, but the episode features a perfect Quentin Tarantino-themed blowout at Yale. Should you still need last-minute costume suggestions, find a wealth of them here.
Haunted house shenanigans that double as commentary on young white professionals casually dating in the 21st Century!
"How to Succeed in Bassness" (YouTube/Amazon)
Besides having the single greatest name in the history of television featuring Chuck Bass, this episode includes all the opulent, rich kid costumery you can possibly want. Bask in it.
"The Rocky Horror Glee Show" (Netflix)
Most of the fun in this Halloween special comes from comparing and contrasting the original musical's raunchy numbers to the more sanitized versions performed by the show's high school students.