These Are the Best Spooky TV Episodes For a Cozy Night In

From The X-Files and Buffy classics to newcomers like Black Mirror, these episodes will make your night

By Lauren Piester, Chris Harnick Oct 30, 2018 5:58 PMTags
Buffy the Vampire SlayerWB

Going out is great, but sometimes staying in is even better. 

It can be especially great when the leaves and the temperatures have started falling, the fuzzy blankets have come out, the lights have been dimmed, the snacks are ready, and the couch is just calling your name. Here, on this Halloween Eve, we've prepared for you a list of TV episodes that are probably just the kind of thing you want to watch right about now, whether you're in the mood for true scares or goofy ghosts, and whether you've seen the rest of the show or not. 

From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Black Mirror, these episodes are sure to get you ready for the holiday.

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Watch alone or with a friend, go for scary, silly, or a mix of both, but whatever you do, prepare yourself to be spoooooooked...

Stranger Things, "Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers"

If we could pick the entire show, we would. Instead, we've decided to take it back to Stranger Things' scary beginning, where party member Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) vanishes into the Upside Down, a monster eats a scientist and a numerically named bald girl (Millie Bobby Brown) is introduced after escaping a lab using telekinetic powers.

Midnight Mass, "Book VII: Revelation"

If you're looking for a true terror tale, you'll want to throw on this Netflix series. Specifically, Midnight Mass' final episode is a true blood bath, as most of the residents on Crockett Island are transformed into vampiric creatures with a hankering for, you guessed it, human blood. Isolated from the mainland, few are left to defend the island, resulting in several heartbreaking deaths.

Black Mirror, "Crocodile"

Admittedly not the most traditionally frightening episodes of Black Mirror, "Crocodile" really plays with fear and desperation. Viewers are never quite sure how far Mia will go to keep her secrets. It's a thrilling episode that will make you look away from your TV more than once.

American Horror Story: Murder House, "Halloween"

The two-part installment of the first season of American Horror Story was not only chilling, but featured a parade for guest stars, significant deaths and reveals and the Rubber Man in all his creepy glory. Oh yeah, there are some mutilated teens running around too.

The X-Files, "Home"

There's a reason why this episode was banned from rebroadcast for so many years. In "Home," Mulder and Scully investigate the Peacock family, an incestuous, mutated and violent family who haven't left their home in years. The episode was pulled from syndication because of just how dark it was.

The Haunting of Hill House, "Two Storms"

Another Netflix show by the terrifyingly genius mind of Mike Flanagan. In episode six of The Haunting of Hill House, viewers watch as ghosts haunt the Crain family during two separate storms. Initially, the remaining Crains come together to mourn their late sister Nell (Victoria Pedretti), but find themselves at odds as a storm gears up. Odd instances occur, including Steve (Michiel Huisman) seeing their mother's ghost.

In flashbacks, a different storm puts the Crain family on edge, with Nell vanishing, Olivia connecting with the home's ghostly residents and the power going out.

Criminal Minds, "Our Darkest Hour"

Although most Criminal Minds episodes are down-right bone-chilling, the season five finale was particularly memorable thanks to Tim Curry's serial killer character. In the episode, Agent Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) and his BAU team arrive in Los Angeles to combat a killer who is using local blackouts to wreak havoc and hunt for victims.

The X-Files, "Bad Blood"

OK, this one is far from spooky, but after watching "Home," you'll want a palate cleanser. This is considered one of the best—and funniest—episodes of The X-Files ever. Gillian Anderson has deemed it her favorite. Mulder and Scully recount a tale of vampires, each special agent gets a chance to tell their version of events. The results? Well, we already told you its considered one of the best episodes ever.

Doctor Who, "Blink"

There are plenty of absolutely terrifying episodes of Doctor Who, but "Blink" is one that will stay with you. Carey Mulligan stars in this outing about angel statues that are, in fact, just statues…when you're looking at them. As soon as you're not, they'll zap you back in time, into a different life. This particular episode is even more standalone than Doctor Who tends to be, meaning it works as both an intro to the show and as the perfect thing to watch when you just want to be a little scared to close your eyes.  

Suite Life of Zack and Cody, "The Ghost in Suite 613"

Surely you've heard the tale of Irene, the hotel guest who was killed by a broken mirror in 1942 after her husband opened an Italian restaurant with another woman, and who is now a ghost who hates pizza. This episode is perfectly spooky, perfectly silly, and the perfect palate cleanser after some of the more terrifying parts of this list.

Boy Meets World, "And Then There Was Shawn"

As funny as this infamous episode is (mostly just thanks to Eric being…Eric), it's actually almost scary for being a TGIF sitcom (thanks to a kid getting murdered with a pencil). It's also an excellent parody of horror movies and features a cameo by Jennifer Love Hewitt, all in less than half an hour.

Atlanta, "Teddy Perkins"

While Atlanta is allegedly a comedy, and the confusion around who was actually playing the eccentric shut in when he appeared at the Emmys was pretty comical, the episode in which we meet him (and in which he's played by actual genius Donald Glover) is actually terrifying. Poor Darius just wants to buy a piano and instead ends up finding himself in a seriously scary family squabble. It'll distress you, it'll confuse you, and it will amaze you, and you'll probably need something a little goofy to follow it up...

Supernatural, "No Exit"

The very idea of serial killer HH Holmes and his murder castle is terrifying enough, but the idea that he's now an evil spirit, still stealing blonde women and trapping them in walls. The scariest parts of the episode are those dirty hands with the long fingernails, reaching through grates and grabbing arms and ankles. Just that hand is enough to give ya plenty of chills.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch, "A River of Candy Corn Runs Through It"

The sitcom version of Sabrina Spellman had some great Halloween episodes and some great goofy-spooky episodes in general, but season 2's Halloween party is one of the best/silliest. Sabrina finds herself forced into having a mortal party at her very magical house, and ends up with talking furniture, anthropomorphic termites, a troupe of demon carolers from the other realm, and a living room full of talking furniture. Hilda also made so much candy corn that it actually causes some property damage, but the oblivious mortals have never been happier.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Hush"

You've heard it before but we'll say it again: this episode is a terrifying masterpiece. Sunnydale is overrun by creepy demon men who steal your voice so you can't scream when they cut out your heart, and they're so dang scary that it doesn't take much more than a mere mention of the episode to put their evil grins front and center in our brains. Can't even shout, can't even cry, the Gentlemen are coming by…

Bonus: "Halloween" 

If you need something a little bit funnier and less nightmare-inducing than Hush, Buffy's first big Halloween episode is a classic. A new costume shop opens up in town, and any costumes purchased there become real on Halloween night. Xander becomes an actual soldier, Willow becomes an actual ghost, all the children become little goblins and devils, and Buffy becomes weak and terrified in her fancy 1800s ballgown. It's highly entertaining, especially when Cordelia is the only one unaffected and incredibly confused. 

What are your favorite spooky episodes to watch on Halloween? Tell us on Twitter!