The Simpsons, Episode #64: “Treehouse of Horror III”
Few things are more difficult than choosing your favorite episode of The Simpsons, at least in my opinion. Alas, one of those things is choosing your favorite Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons. While I adore Treehouse of Horror II (“Lisa’s Nightmare,” “Bart’s Nightmare,” and “Homer’s Nightmare”), Treehouse of Horror IV (“The Devil and Homer Simpson,” “Terror at 5 1/2 Feet,” and “Bart Simpson’s Dracula”), as well as Treehouse of Horror V (“The Shinning,” “Time and Punishment,” and “Nightmare Cafeteria”), I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Treehouse of Horror III.
Each story in this anthology is told by one of the Simpsons at Bart and Lisa’s Halloween party. “Clown Without Pity,” as told by Grandpa Simpson, is about a Krusty the Klown doll that relentlessly tries to kill Homer, a la Chucky. “King Homer,” as told by Marge Simpson, is basically King Kong if all the characters were replaced by Simpsons characters (You can probably guess who Homer plays). Last, “Dial ‘Z’ for Zombies,” as told by Bart Simpson (in an Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange costume), is about Bart and Lisa accidentally raising the dead and having to deal with the undead consequences.
Of those three, my favorite is “Zombies,” and here’s one of a million reasons why:
Frankly, if that clip doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart with all sorts of Halloween spirit, I don’t know what will.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
I’m pretty sure it’s illegal in 40 of the 48 Continental United States to leave It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! off of any “Best” list pertaining to Halloween episodes or specials – so here it is! Front and center!
Needless to say, The Great Pumpkin is a classic for a reason — one that has been beloved for decades and will likely go on being beloved for many to come. Like its Christmas counterpart, no Halloween is truly complete without at least a single viewing.
The bulk of the story sees the typically wise Linus van Pelt faithfully awaiting the arrival of the Great Pumpkin — basically the Halloween equivalent of Santa Claus — at the town pumpkin patch the night of Halloween. None of Linus’ friends believe him and they tend to mock his insistence that the Great Pumpkin exists. Hence Linus utters the famous line: “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”
I remember watching this as a kid and always wishing there were a Halloween equivalent of Santa. But maybe, instead of just bringing toys like Santa does, he’d scare the crap out of you in really strange and disturbing ways – like a sanctioned version of Jack Skellington from A Nightmare Before Christmas.
Check out a clip below of Charlie Brown getting nothing but rocks whilst trick-or-treating:
Apparently, seeing Charlie Brown receive rock after rock after rock instead of candy affected viewers so much that they actually sent bags and boxes of candy to Charles Schulz “just for Charlie Brown.” Which is kind of ironic, considering Charlie Brown, sort of like the Great Pumpkin, is a fictional being.
Boo to You, Too! Winnie the Pooh
I’m sure many of you are wondering why Boo to You, Too! Winnie the Pooh – the Pooh Halloween special that aired on CBS in 1996 - is on this list of TV episodes/specials to get you in the mood for Halloween. Well, if that is indeed the case, I submit that you, sir or madam, have never actually seen Boo to You, Too! Winnie the Pooh. Because if you had, you’d know that Boo to You is positively dripping with enjoyably spooky atmosphere, creativity, and a childlike whimsy found in few fictional tales involving October 31st. Isn’t that what Halloween is all about?
Here’s the opening voiceover, narrated by David Ogden Stiers, to give you an idea of the tone:
“Once each year, as October breezes bluster, there comes a most particular and most peculiar night. An anxious sort of night, when the dark grows a little more so. A jittery sort of night, where nothing is quite as it was. A night called — Halloween.”
Also, check out one of the musical clips below:
Briefly, the plot of Boo to You follows the various Pooh characters as they try to help Piglet overcome his overwhelming fear of Halloween. Boo to You, Too! Winnie the Pooh is to Halloween what Mickey’s Christmas Carol is to Christmas, in my opinion. Yeah, it’s that good.
- Garfield’s Halloween Adventure
- Supernatural: “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester”
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Halloween”
- The Cosby Show: “Halloween”
- Roseanne: “BOO!”
- The Adventures of Pete and Pete: “Halloweenie”
- My So-Called Life: “Halloween”
- South Park: “Pink-Eye”
- DuckTales: “Ducky Horror Picture Show”
- Community: “Introduction to Statistics,” “Epidemiology”