Halloween should be the most terrifying holiday for Kate of Ben and Kate. The overly protective mother usually spends her Halloween inspecting daughter Maddie’s candy for razorblades, then checking into Hotel Sweatpants and falling asleep with a candy wrapper stuck to her face. While most other shows would probably focus on the actual trick-or-treating of Halloween, especially focusing on Maddie, Ben and Kate instead challenges expectations, giving Kate the closest the show has gotten to a romantic moment, while sending Ben into a drug trip.
Kate has been invited to a Halloween party by Steve, a neighborhood guy who seems to be a good match for Kate, as he sets up a stand to hand out flashlights for the night in his front yard, but Kate can only talk gibberish while near him. Since Maddie has only been what Kate wants her to be for Halloween, such as Mini Madame Curie and The Death of Print Journalism, BJ takes her shopping to get her whatever costume she wants. Since she’s a little girl, she almost immediately flocks to the princess costumes, much to the chagrin of Kate. Tommy wants to go out to a club for the night, but Ben shoots him down, saying they should stay home for hot moms. But after Tommy eats seven of BJ’s “special” candies from Amsterdam, the duo’s night takes a different turn.
The way Ben and Kate handles all these storylines is exceptional. At the party, Kate immediately kisses Steve, but then goes on to cry in front of him, scaring him away. But later that night, Kate meets another new guy, this time a single dad named Will who wants to call the police on the party Kate was just at. It’s almost surprising that Ben and Kate hasn’t had a potential romance spring up yet, but it’s smart that it’s focused on its core characters before introducing other minor characters.
After seeing a bunch of girls dressing slutty in the same princess costumes they wore as children, BJ goes to Maddie and teaches her that maybe she was wrong. It’s a nice change for BJ, to show that she cares about this little girl who she usually picks on. The relationship between BJ and Maddie is one of the show’s most fun dynamics, as BJ doesn’t talk down to Maddie.
The Ben and Tommy line is probably the weakest, since it does devolve into two guys being high together. They pull it off for some laughs though, and it even gets into a sweet relationship moment as Ben realizes he has been ignoring the wants of Tommy.
Ben realizes that everything isn’t all about him and that he should listen to others and be open to other viewpoints. Kate gets what she wants while being herself. When she dresses as a sexy baseball player, she gets screwed over, but as Babe Ruth Bader Ginsberg, she meets a guy who seems pretty perfect for her. BJ’s realization that her actions could cause damage to Maddie is a good change for BJ, who usually acts without thinking. And Tommy…well Tommy learns not to eat strange candies.
“Scaredy Kate” isn’t just a Ben and Kate theme episode, but rather has some fun character changes, such as BJ’s care for Maddie and Kate’s potential romance. It’s a nice companion piece to “21st Birthday,” which featured some of the same ideas, but this time it allows all of the cast to have fully fleshed-out storylines that are all enjoyable, even if some don’t work as well as others.