I have always loved the way sitcoms celebrate Halloween. It’s one chance a year to get silly, dress up, and have some fun. Since Halloween is just two days away, this seemed like he ideal time to take a look at some of my favorites.
The 80’s Halloween show’s were always cute, but there was always something missing. They never went all out with things like decorations, for example. They would be light and silly, not scary or creepy. Take The Cosby Show Halloween episode as a good episode. This is a good episode, but it feels so fake. In fact in the first scene of the episode about a Halloween party we see Clair telling Cliff he can’t put a pumpkin out that Cliff had carved a typical jack-o’-lantern face into. The argument being that their daughter wanted this party to be “adult”. Ok, what teenager wants a Halloween party with no decorations? In the episode the lights are always on, the costumes are generic, and all the kids do is dance to some bland music. What kind of Halloween party is this exactly? I don’t mean to pick on this show because I liked it, but it is a great example of Halloween in the 80’s on TV.
Show’s that weren’t centered on a family tried harder. Take the Benson episode about a strange person visiting the mansion. They tried to make it scary, but it’s more depressing (though William Marshall is great in this episode). Though for an early 80’s show it was good, at least it tried. What was it about the family shows from that time? Even if they did do scary they always had to have it be a dream, like Perfect Strangers when they did an episode about Balki becoming an alien, or they use Halloween as dressing for a larger story like Punky Brewster which started as a good Halloween show but turned into another story altogether about seeing the good in people, or they would have to do the whole show as a silly made up ghost story or in a haunted house.80's saw Halloween episodes for Alf, Facts of Life, even Mr.Belvedere and they all fell into this same formula.