One of the most exciting things to look forward to during the month leading up to Halloween is that there are spookier episodes of our favorite TV shows. Watching the annual The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror is a tradition for many, and most other series have at least one episode to help celebrate the holiday. If you grew up in the 90s and early 2000s, then you’ve likely experienced some of the craziest Halloween episodes. There are some especially strange episodes of children’s TV that came out during that time. Below are some of the weirdest Halloween episodes from many of our childhoods.
“Trick or Treat” from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers had its fair share of wacky monsters for the heroes to fight against, but there’s none quite like the Pumpkin Rapper. That’s right, a pumpkin that raps. Everything he says is in the form of rap. Nothing screams Halloween like 90s hip hop, right?
This episode is fondly remembered by most who grew up with the series because of how ridiculous the monster was. Ridiculousness will forever be part of the show’s charm and fun, and the Pumpkin Rapper is the peak of that. It’s even stranger that the Pumpkin Rapper’s head was upside down. Was this to make him appear creepier or was it a mistake by the costume department? Also in this episode is a spooky game show with nonsense rules where Kimberly and Skull compete for a new car while in Halloween costumes. It’s overall a wild twenty or so minutes.
“Haunted Train” from Hey Arnold!
This classic Hey Arnold! episode features Arnold and his classmates taking a trip on a train that’s supposedly haunted. Not only is this a legitimately frightening episode for a 90s Nicktoon, but it’s revealed at the end that the ghost engineer who abducts people is real! The story is filled with unsettling details, like the thought of these nine year-olds being taken to Hell by an angry spirit.
What makes this a truly strange tale, though, is that Hey Arnold! is an overall grounded and realistic show, but this episode proves that the paranormal exists in this world. It’s never explored again, which makes it feel even weirder.
“Sleepless in Retroville” from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
This one didn’t release as a Halloween episode per se, but it is rather spooky and was played around Halloween because of it. To maximize sleepover fun, Jimmy invents a machine that produces pillows for pillow fights, bakes pizza, and tells ghost stories. While he and his friends have their sleepover, the machine malfunctions and creates a combination of the monster from the ghost story and the pizza. A floating pizza monster attacks the kids without much of a way to stop him. When this scary pizza is finally defeated, he just comes back declaring that he’s back for a sequel.
This bizarre episode comes to a close when it’s revealed that it was all a dream had by the pizza monster. The pizza monster’s wife, who’s also a pizza monster, assures him that it was just a dream and that children don’t exist. This is the strangest way the episode could end, and it brings up a lot of questions about the series’ canon.
“Night of the Day of the Living Dead” from Lizzie McGuire
Lizzie McGuire followed the everyday adventures of a middle school girl and her friends. Other than seeing her thoughts animated in cartoon form, the show was grounded in reality. It still is, but there’s an episode that plays with that a bit. During a Halloween and Day of the Dead party at the school, skeleton decorations come to life, people go missing, and Gordo is transformed into a talking doll. The skeletons turning human-sized is especially freaky.
It’s all revealed to have been faked to mess with the school’s bully, but some of it isn’t quite explained enough. It’s all a bit out there for a show about dealing with typical middle school drama.
“A Very Scary Story” from Even Stevens
Even Stevens is primarily about the squabbles between a teenage brother and sister. However, the Halloween episode is extremely strange, and not just because of Louis’ penguin jockey costume. On Halloween, students just looking to celebrate the holiday by wearing their costumes to school are tricked into being brought into a secret dungeon to have their eyeballs gouged out and are hypnotized to be zombies by the principal, gym teacher, and Louis’s sister Ren.
It’s an extremely strange and disturbingly fun episode for fans who are just tuning in to see what sort of shenanigans Louis is getting himself into this time. The whole thing feels like a fever dream for the audience.
“Don’t Have a Cow” from That’s So Raven
Speaking of fever dreams, does anyone remember the time Raven and Chelsea turned into cows on That’s So Raven? Really, there’s a Halloween episode of That’s So Raven where two of the main characters are transformed into cows. While casting a magic spell (which never happened in the series before or after this), Chelsea drops her cow pin (that she wears out of guilt after accidentally eating a hamburger instead of a veggie burger) into the cauldron. This causes them to gradually turn into cows.
Because the spell isn’t instant and transforms them over time, Raven and Chelsea spend much of the episode with gross, long tongues, cow ears, and unsettling human-cow hybrid faces. The whole episode turns out to just be one big vision that Raven has, but that means that it’s all something that would have actually happened if Raven didn’t stop Chelsea from eating a burger. What were the writers on when they wrote this one?
“The Ghost of Suite 613” from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody was another show that was grounded in reality (until the spin-off The Suite Life on Deck branched off into more paranormal territory). However, there was one particularly wacky Halloween episode that literally has a ghost haunting one of the suites. The characters are all convinced that everything is faked, but the ending reveals that the ghost is in fact real, and Zack and Cody never question it or bring it up with their friends.
This episode is creepy and has it all, including furniture moving on its own, a haunted hairbrush, a spooky pizza smell, and one of the characters being possessed. It’s all actually pretty eerie for a family sitcom on Disney Channel.
What are some of the weirdest or creepiest Halloween episodes from TV shows that you grew up with?