For most people, the Roseanne Halloween episodes are the sitcom tent pole around which this whole season is built. I dig those too, for sure, but my October staple has always been the seasonal episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
The catalyst in any episode of Sabrina, Halloween or otherwise, is that she is constantly misusing her powers and then has to put the pieces back together, after which a magical lesson is learned. In her first ‘Ween episode, her spellcasting mishap includes sending a clone of herself to a party because she can’t get away from her family’s holiday celebration.
Other times, the macabre mayhem is spurred by outside forces, and Sabrina has to keep the magic contained or hidden while trying to enjoy normal teenage activities, like having a horror movie night with her mortal friends. In the season 3 episode, she and her friends decide to spend Halloween at Sabrina’s house watching movies, but a Halloween gift from a relative in the Other Realm turns out to be a mischievous talking doll who terrorizes the gang for the evening. Frankenstein and The Mummy show up too.
The most relatable aspect for the show’s target teenage audience is how Sabrina is often at odds with her aunts’ traditions and would rather strike out on her own. She’s usually not feeling the spirit of a particular holiday, Halloween in this case, and tries to escape it. In season 4’s Halloween entry, she chooses to forgo Halloween revelry and work the night at her new coffee shop job. Aunt Zelda and Aunt Hilda warn her that as a witch, she can’t run away from Halloween. All manner of ghost, ghoul and zombie end up invading the coffee shop, but it turns out they only want to have a monstrous Halloween party.
In later seasons, Sabrina’s in college and she’s shed her teenage rebellion when it comes to October 31st. In season 6, when her friends are not feeling particularly festive one Halloween, she plans a Halloween Murder Mystery train ride for the gang. Of course, things get witchy and the crew is turned into their characters for real.
Really, a show built around a teenage witch and her witchy family would’ve been stupid not to celebrate Halloween so much. Which, makes the holiday’s omission from the final season feel particularly depressing. But still, we got a good six Halloween episodes out of the lot…and some good Christmas ones too.