chilling adventures of sabrina clip

(Welcome to Small-Screen Stream, a feature where we share the best television shows streaming and where you can watch them.)

I’m going to do something a little different for this week’s Small-Screen Stream column. Instead of focusing on full shows, I’m going to highlight individual episodes of TV shows that feature Halloween-centric episodes. I went with a mix of old and new, and popular and less popular entries. A lot of sitcoms have done multiple Halloween episodes through the years, so I got creative about which ones I chose of the many.

Halloween episodes can be a great way to get in the holiday spirit with a little more variety and a little less time commitment than a feature-length movie. It’s also a good alternative for those of you who don’t do well with full-blown horror. I love to revisit my favorite Halloween episodes every year, so I thought I’d introduce them to you — along with some new discoveries and hidden gems in the back catalogues of these streaming services. Let’s get spooky!

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Season 1, Episode 2: “The Dark Baptism”

Where To Watch: Netflix

Netflix’s eagerly anticipated Sabrina re-imagining finally hit the service last Friday, and it’s already generating significant buzz and binge sessions. I loved the entire season, which is unapologetically gothic and legitimately scary. For the sake of keeping this list on theme, it also has a Halloween-centric episode. Our titular half-witch, Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) turns 16 on October 31, and is set to partake in a ceremony called the “Dark Baptism,” where she’ll revoke her mortal self and pledge herself to Satan. But that means leaving her friends behind and joining a patriarchal world she hasn’t yet made up her mind about. This episode focuses on that decision; the one to retain the parts of herself she still loves, or risk isolating herself from her Devil-worshipping family.

The Office, Season 2, Episode 2: “Halloween”

Where To Watch: Netflix

The Office loved a good Halloween episode, but I’d be remiss to choose any other than the original. This episode finds Michael Scott torn over which member of his team to lay off after he gets the downsizing directive from corporate. Meanwhile, Pam and Jim prank Dwight by posting his resume on the internet. The real highlight in revisiting this episode is seeing all of the iconic costumes we’ve come to associate with these characters, like Sith Lord Dwight and Three-Hole-Punch Jim.

The Brady Bunch, Season 4, Episode 6: “Fright Night”

Where To Watch: Hulu

I grew up watching Brady Bunch reruns on Nick at Nite, and I distinctly remember this episode, when the Brady boys prank the girls with fake ghosts. The girls eventually catch on and exact their own revenge. If you’re not into the “gee, shucks” humor of the Brady family, you might want to pass this one. But there’s something extremely nostalgic about stepping back into this world for me; like trick-or-treating through an old neighborhood.

Stranger Things, Season 2, Episode 2: “Trick or Treat, Freak”

Where To Watch: Netflix

The trailers for season two of Stranger Things played up its Halloween setting, with images of pumpkins and the boys — Will, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas — in Ghostbusters costumes all set to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Actual Halloween came early in the season — episode 2, in fact. While out trick-or-treating, Will has another vision of the Upside Down’s tentacle monster. Meanwhile, at a high school party, Nancy and Steve break up when Nancy gets too drunk. Stranger Things is a perfect show for Halloween, and this entire season is appropriately October-y.

Happy Endings, Season 2, Episode 5: “Spooky Endings”

Where To Watch: Hulu

I miss Happy Endings. Don’t we all? The charming sitcom deserved more than its three seasons, and this episode just cinches it. Who can’t relate to planning an elaborate and exciting dream Halloween costume, only to have no one at the party “get it”? That’s what happens for Dave and Alex, whose Austin Powers and Marilyn Monroe garbs don’t exactly play out as planned. That cringeworthy humor was part of what made the short-lived series so endearing.

American Horror Story, Season 1, Episodes 4-5: “Halloween Pt. 1 & 2”

Where To Watch: Netflix

I feel like I work American Horror Story into these lists constantly. Sorry not sorry, because I genuinely love this silly damn show, and this pairing of Halloween episodes — where first learn the truth about Tate Langdon’s school-shooting past, get a touching backstory for mysterious maid Moira, and watch as Constance tragically loses another child — is loaded with spooky goodness. The show was basically created in a lab for Halloween, but this is its most celebratory venture into the holiday.

Roseanne, Season 2, Episode 7: “Boo”

Where To Watch: Amazon Prime

This is bound to be a controversial choice, but I can’t help but include one of the greatest-ever sitcom Halloween episodes on this list, despite the controversial star at its center. Roseanne was the queen of Halloween, and so famous were the show’s yearly themed episodes that you can buy a collection of just the Halloween episodes on DVD. This episode, the first of its kind, finds Roseanne and Dan competing for the title of “Halloween master,” with a series of escalating ghoulish pranks that end in Roseanne fake-hazing Dan’s client in a haunted house. It’s hard for me to watch anything Roseanne-related in good faith, but the original series aired before she lost it, and the rest of the cast is incredible, so I can justify a re-watch in hindsight — though I understand if many readers can’t.

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