Halloween weekend is upon us, which means it’s time to binge watch the best spooky shows until 11:59 October 31 (just kidding, these episodes will get you turnt all year round). Here are the best TV episodes from some of the greatest shows on Netflix to get you in the Halloween mood. We promise, you’ll have spooky skeleton jack-o-lantern aesthetic running out of your eyes.
1. “Fear Itself”
Over its seven-season run, Buffy only had three Halloween episodes. “Halloween” from Season One is worth a watch, but “Fear Itself” from Season Four is the best of the seasonal episodes. The gang visits a haunted house come to life, which is—on some level—every horror nerd’s dream. Plus, that teeny, tiny demon is just the cutest. “Who’s a little fear demon?”
In this author’s younger and more vulnerable years, the Gentlemen were the only thing that genuinely frightened her. “Hush” is noteworthy because it’s an almost entirely silent episode of television. However, the most memorable part, for most, are the horrific suit-wearing, levitating ghouls that will steal your voice and then cut your heart out of your chest. You’ll die screaming but you won’t be heard.
David Lynch’s pilot for Twin Peaks will forever remain one of the greatest television episode ever created. On top of that, it’s actually one of the scariest episodes of the short-lived phenomenon. The pilot contains the mutilated corpse of Laura Palmer, a catatonic Ronette Pulaski, the bloody crime scene where it all went down (so horrific it made Deputy Andy physically ill) and the first eerily subtle appearance of Bob (you really have to be looking for him to catch it).
4. “Beyond Life and Death”
Fittingly, the other creepiest Twin Peaks episode is its last—well, at least until the revival. Agent Cooper travels to the Black Lodge and encounters the Man from Another Place, as well as Laura Palmer’s ghost, Windom Earle and Bob. It ends with a haunting conclusion that has left fans hanging for 25 years.
5. “Bloody Mary”
The entire first season of Supernatural touches on all the best urban legends Halloween has to offer, but episode five is definitely one of the scariest. Supernatural always did the creepy, ghost woman trope well (it was the basis for the pilot) and with a new take on the legend, “Bloody Mary” stands out as a triumph of the first season. To this day, I won’t say those words three times in a row, mirror or no.
6. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester”
This holiday-themed episode from Season Four takes on witches and some great Halloween-specific legends: razor blades in the candy, bobbing for apple mishaps and a mispronounced mention of Samhain. In a strong season that took the show in a completely new direction, this episode played a key role in all that made Supernatural great in the first seasons.
7. “Halloween Part II”
Another show where the entire first season just seems to be made for Halloween, American Horror Story’s first season, Murder House, has a two-part episode dedicated to the holiday. Part I consists of a lot of set up, so Part II stands out as the better installment. Perhaps most importantly, the second half features the dead Breakfast Club, which is really the highlight of the episode—and the season.
8. “Burn, Witch, Burn”
Coven, the only other watchable season of AHS, gave us this fun little diddy in the fifth episode. It comes with an Evil Dead-worthy zombie chainsaw massacre, and a good old-fashioned stake burning. Good times, good times.
9. “Jellyfish in the Sky”
Hemlock Grove was heavily inspired by Twin Peaks, and nowhere more so than in the beautifully shot pilot. It starts with a grisly murder and ends with an accusation, lots of blood, menacing music and plenty of weird stares along the way.
10. “What God Wants”
Although there were many other intense moments throughout the season, this was the episode towards the end of the first season, where I admit I just had to pause the Netflix binge and take a break. With a full moon in effect, an unhinged werewolf prepares for another deadly attack, but this one, dripping in complete chaos and blood, is particularly devastating.
Most of this show is filled with Scooby Doo-style shenanigans, but when Doctor Who does horror, it does it right. “Blink”—one of the most well-known episodes of the BBC sci-fi show—is especially fun because it can be watched as a standalone episode, and it introduces viewers to the Weeping Angels. Some of the scariest TV monsters out there, these will give you a serious complex about statues… and blinking. Also, check out a young Carey Mulligan being super emo and “deep.”
12. “Silence in the Library”
Another classic episode of the show, “Silence” is the first of a two-parter that is best known for introducing the character River Song. More importantly, for this list anyway, it also introduces us to the Vashta Nerada. Shadowy parasites, the Vashta Nerada sneak up on unsuspecting victims and then strip them of their flesh, leaving only a skeleton. With the help of communication devices that can still record thought patterns after death, these spooky little monsters produced some chilling death scenes. Don’t forget to count your shadows.
13. “Twenty Two”
This frightful episode was clearly an inspiration for the Final Destination movies. It centers on the story of a dancer recovering in a hospital, who has a recurring dream of visiting Room 22—the morgue. The dream turns out to be a premonition, but not exactly in the way you might think.
14. “The Masks”
Even though it’s in February, New Orleans’ Mardi Gras has a very Halloween feel to it. This episode of the horror anthology takes place during the holiday and features some of its creepy folklore. We meet a dying man and the family who stands to inherit his wealth. The catch? The family is absolutely horrible—but think the Royal Tenenbaums, not the Manson family. The patriarch uses the titular masks to teach his horrible heirs a lesson in character and vanity, leaving them changed forever.
15. “Nice Town You Picked, Norma…”
The second episode of the Psycho prequel delivers immolated corpses and a look into a mysterious sketchbook with graphic depictions of sexual abuse. It’s all about wrecked idyll. A tender moment between Norman and a potential love interest is broken by a man who’s been burned alive, and we find out that the sleepy town that produces serial killer Norman Bates houses just as many fatal secrets as the titular motel.
16. “The Box”
In this episode from Season Two, Norman has been kidnapped and trapped in a box à la The Vanishing, or Kill Bill. While stuck in this unfortunate position, Norman has disturbing flashbacks that reveal he cut Miss Watson’s throat while having sex with her in his first mother-hallucination inspired murder.
17. “The Haunted Mask”
The TV adaptation of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books might have been pretty corny, but out of the whole series, things didn’t get much scarier than this episode. The two parter is all about Carly Beth, a weak-willed brat scared of her own shadow, who buys a lifelike monster mask one Halloween to get back at her middle school tormentors. The mask soon reveals itself to be more than she bargained for, turning Carly Beth into an actual monster.
18. “Welcome to Dead House”
Zombies and annoying, useless kids? Is this The Walking Dead? This Goosebumps episode follows a family that moves to a new town where they got their new house “for a really good deal.” We all know that means you’re probably going to die there. At least, that’s what’s going to happen If the town’s inhabitants—a bunch of lively zombies—has anything to say about it.
19. “Die Hand die Verletzt”
Nothing will get you more turnt for Halloween than a good, old-fashioned satanic cult. This episode from the second season of the show focuses on a PTA group from hell, whose members are into offering local high schoolers to the devil. With a sexual assault storyline, voodoo, frogs falling from the sky and a man-eating snake, “Die Hand die Verletzt” wavers between gimmicky Halloween fun and genuinely horrific moments.
Basically, if The Hills Have Eyes met The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and had a deformed cannibalistic baby, this would be it. The episode starts out with the Agents investigating the death of one such infant, and things get worse from there. “Home” is so violent and disturbing, it was the first episode of the show to get a viewer discretion advisement due to graphic content.