Halloween simply wouldn’t be Halloween without these traditions: riding hayrides, carving pumpkins, going to parties, trick-or-treating, eating all the candy your kids got and stupidly forgot to hide and, of course, watching all 23 of The Simpsons‘ Treehouse of Horror specials.
“Time and Punishment”: “Oh, I wish I wish I hadn’t killed that fish.” Homer didn’t exactly have the best of luck as a time-traveler in one of the three great segments in ToH V, but lucky for us, it’s probably the most hilarious of the whole bunch. When Homer tries to fix a toaster, he inadvertently travels through time and space only to find various terrible fates in which Flanders is an evil overlord and donuts don’t exist. Homer finally settles on a world where everyone eats like lizards. Eh, close enough.
“Citizen Kang”: Space aliens Kang and Kodos are ToH staples, but their appearance in 1996’s ToH VII is simply the best. After they take on the human form of then-Presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, Homer accidentally ejects the real politicians into space and the aliens are elected into office. A sharply funny political episode, with one of the best Simpsons lines ever: “I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.” I’d have voted for him, too.
“Lisa’s Nightmare”: When the Simpsons visited Morocco (Simpsons did it!) in 1991’s ToH II, the segment became a lesson in teaching people to be careful what you wish for. Especially if you’re like Homer and you make a series of wishes on a cursed monkey paw. You could wind up with evil alien overlords, or even worse, a dry turkey sandwich. Lisa’s nightmare then gives way to “Bart’s Nightmare” (he’s a jack-in-the-box) and then “Homer’s Nightmare” (the unnerving Robo-Homer).
“Homer³”: One of the most inventive and groundbreaking things to be done on The Simpsons (remember what a big deal this was when it aired back in 1995?), Homer finds himself in another place when he discovers a third dimension. Even more amazing than the sight of Homer in 3D was the sight of Homer in our world. Well, a Los Angeles street in front of an erotic cakes store. Animation and effects have changed a lot since this ToH VI moment aired, but it can still give you goosebumps when you watch it today.
“Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace”: Also from ToH VI, this spoof on Nightmare on Elm Street gave the relentlessly murdered Willie (this time thanks to a furnace fire because of lousy Smarch weather) power to haunt the nightmares of Springfield’s kids, including Bart, Lisa, and even Maggie. They try to fight their sleep, but when they fail, they must fight Willie from killing them when he appears in the form of a lawn mower, a snake, and a giant bagpipe spider. The segment finds just the right balance of genuinely scary and funny.