One of the significant reoccurring traditions in South Park - perhaps besides the various Christmas-related episodes - are the memorable and crazy Halloween specials. For whatever reason, Trey Parker and Matt Stone's efforts that provide Halloween backdrops often turn out being some of the funniest, most creative, and most memorable moments in this crazy show.
From a massive party thrown by Satan to pink eye zombie outbreaks to sinister goldfish, there is no shortage of distinct and imaginative premises that put an amusingly creative twist on the spooky Halloween theme. With that said, let's get our candy ready as we rank and analyze each of the 8 South Park specials based on this spooktacular holiday.
8 Goth Kids 3: Dawn Of The Posers
South Park's resident Goth kids were amusing to watch in their debut in the episode Rasins. Yet, an entire episode centered around them - especially a bizarre one featuring possessed ficus plants - proves more confusing and bland than entertaining.
This Halloween special does come with a pretty fun premise at its core - the rival factions of the Goths, emos, and "Vamp kids" makes for an entertaining showdown. The Goths try to hold on to their identity as they clash with the Vamps, which leads to a rather weird plot featuring the aforementioned plants, and, to its credit, a pretty funny twist ending.
7 The Scoots
It sort of helps to be into the overarching Marsh family plot involving Randy's weed business from the episode Tegridy Farms to truly appreciate this one. Still, it's a pretty clever scenario in its own right, as it essentially likens scooter-riding candy-seeking children to a zombie outbreak in South Park. The adults in town are in a frenzy as they realize the horrors that dozens of kids riding around in motorized scooters mean they'll be run dry of their candy stashes pretty quickly.
Why they're so frightened by the kids in the first place is a question never quite addressed but hey, this is South Park. No point in reading too much into it, right?
Being a Season 2 episode, Spookyfish might seem a tad dated and tame to our modern-day sensibilities, but it's tough to deny the classic nature of this fun little Halloween special.
In it, Stan gets a pet goldfish from his aunt, the cheekily named "Flo," as he finds his seemingly innocent fish is killing people, including his poor friend Kenny. It all feels very classic "Halloween horror," with its heavy references to Pet Sematary and a dash of Poltergeist.
5 Sons Of Witches
Unlike the relatively simple, more humble Spookyfish, Sons of Witches is a multi-layered thematic Halloween romp while also offering a nuanced commentary on society, with a few presidential digs tossed in for good measure.
The episode cleverly plays with the idea of witch hunts, or as all of the characters amusingly call it, "witch pursuit-thingies" by featuring a literal witch being pursued by the town. Randy and his witch-dressed pals are bro-ing out in the park, drinking and reciting witchcraft, when one of the men takes things too far and takes on evil powers, before flying away on a broomstick and terrorizing the town. It also features a cheeky side-plot in which Cartman is merely trying to get his girlfriend to the pumpkin patch while she spends quite a bit of time getting ready.
In a true classic that's even older than Spookyfish, Pink Eye still shines as one of the most timeless and memorable Halloween specials, despite it being a zombified two-decade-old cartoon relic.
Residing in the more culturally "free-wheeling" era of the late '90s, this episode features Cartman dressing up as Hitler for Halloween. After a backlash, he settles on a "ghost" outfit that resembles the KKK's infamous regalia. Meanwhile, an outbreak of pinkeye has turned many in South Park into zombies, and the kids must find a way to stop it at its source. It turns out it can be traced to Kenny (leading Kyle to gruesomely saw him in half), and that Kenny had been zombified by an infected Worcestershire sauce because why not? Chef fans, in particular, should get a kick out of this, as he really shines here, especially with his MJ Thriller zombie-dance homage.
3 Hell On Earth 2006
There's really much to love about this Satanic Halloween special: the dark lord dressing up as a sexy schoolgirl, a plethora of funny costumes, appearances by Biggie Smalls and a controversial Steve Irwin showing. But the best part about Hell on Earth 2006 has to be the appearance of three of the most infamous serial killers in world history acting like a murderous, psychotic version of The Three Stooges.
This might be a rare case in which the show's B-plot is even more entertaining and hilarious than the main story, which is still pretty great. In it, The Three Murderers engage in violent acts amongst themselves and others as they try (and desperately fail) to bake a Ferrari cake for Satan's party. Only in South Park, right?
2 A Nightmare On Facetime
When it comes to Halloween specials, this is totally peak South Park, so it's fitting that Matt Stone and Trey Parker have decided to spoof peak Stephen King in this clever and hilarious episode, A Nightmare On Face Time.
The show hones in on the Marshes, and specifically on one of the show's funniest characters, Randy. During the episode, he buys the rapidly dying Blockbuster franchise, only to discover there is absolutely no one showing up at his store. This is where the amusing parallels of The Shining kick in, as Randy begins to lose his mind, seeing ghosts, and contemplating killing his son the longer Halloween night drags on with no customers. And just like our previous entry, we also get to see some particularly funny costumes worn by some of the kids.
1 Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery
After only three seasons, we've already had a trio of pretty great Halloween specials on South Park, but this 3rd time really is the charm. Aside from hosting one of the most amusing cameos in show history with Korn (who actually plays the voices), it also runs with a funny Scooby-Doo spoof, in which Korn's glasses-sporting bassist plays Velma, and a weird bird thing replaces Scooby. Between the pirate ghosts, cheeky Scooby references, and somewhat grotesque corpse featured, it all feels very classically "Halloween."
The episode actually ends with a pretty admirable lesson which somewhat boils down to not "judging a book by its cover." How we get from Chewbacca costumes, ghost pirates, and hard-rocking mystery solvers to that moral is anyone's guess, but it's a charming, entertaining story nonetheless.