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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

REVIEW: A definitive ranking of ‘Bob’s Burgers’ Halloween episodes

Apparently, this season of “Bob’s Burgers” won’t feature an official Halloween episode, but instead there will be a scary episode without ties to the holiday. In addition to this, season 14 will likely be five episodes shorter than prior seasons. This is, at least in part, due to the Writer’s Guild of America strike.

In my family, “Bob’s Burgers” is known for its phenomenal holiday episodes, so I’m excited to see what the season will look like without a Halloween episode and, possibly, without other holiday episodes. I’ve enjoyed the few episodes season 14 has offered so far, and I have high hopes for the rest of it.

While the lack of holiday episodes is, of course, disappointing, I understand the reasoning behind it, and I’m more than happy to indulge in the prior seasonal episodes of “Bob’s Burgers.” With that, let’s take a look at all 11 Halloween episodes that “Bob’s Burgers” has done so far, ranking them from worst to best, with characters’ costumes in mind (special thanks to this Reddit post).


Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Apple Gore-chard! (But Not Gory)” — Season 13 episode 6

“Louise suspects foul play on a Halloween field trip to an apple orchard, while Tina and Gene hope to win the school costume parade.” (episode summaries sourced from IMDb)


  • Gene: Bill Paxton from “Twister” (his hair looks great)
  • Tina: The twister from “Twister”
  • Louise: Helen Hunt from “Twister” (has anyone noticed how many references there are to Helen Hunt in “Bob’s Burgers”?)
  • Bonus point for Zeke and his panda costume

Coming in at the bottom is the most recent Halloween episode. I just don’t care for this episode at all. The storylines are boring and not really engaging, which is hard for me to find in “Bob’s Burgers” because I’m so invested in the characters.

The B plot following Gene and Tina and their quest to win a costume contest seems like a rip-off of “Teen-a Witch,” although I do like their costumes. The main plotline just didn’t resonate with me at all, even though some could argue that it is a reference to one of my favorite movies, A24’s “Midsommar.”

This is not to say that the episode is a complete dud. I enjoyed seeing Louise’s growth, and I love the addition of her classmates, especially Rudy. I was super excited to see Louise’s friend Jessica, who first debuted in season four episode “Slumber Party.”

Overall, this episode is pretty forgettable, but even the worst of “Bob’s Burgers” is not horrible. Still, I doubt it will be added to my family’s Halloween lineup anytime soon.


Photo courtesy of Fox Studios via IndieWire
  1. “Pig Trouble in Little Tina”  Season 10 episode 4

“Things get spooky when Tina dissects a fetal pig in science class; Bob and Linda battle a giant ball of earwax.”


  • Gene: Fiona Apple Sauce
  • Louise: The Bjorn Identity (mix of “The Bourne Identity” and a baby bjorn)

This episode, like a lot of other Halloween episodes, has a really intriguing plot that doesn’t follow a traditional storyline involving trick-or-treating or other spooks. This episode is Tina-centric, with a B storyline following Bob and Linda that really misses the mark for me personally — not that it isn’t funny. I just personally dislike when the main and side storylines are completely dissociated from one another. However, who can’t relate to having a really hard of hearing dad?

“Pig Trouble in Little Tina” honestly kind of grosses me out. I do think the plot is very unique and definitely something the series hadn’t done before. In science class, the pig Tina is dissecting is pretty weird-looking, so the class (minus Tina) unites to make jokes about the little pig.

Although Tina is opposed to it at first, she joins in on making fun of the pig, too, in order to fit in and be invited to the group’s Halloween plans. She has a series of dreams involving the pig haunting her as a personification of her guilt.

I definitely feel for the fetal pig, but I do not much care for him when he becomes personified, mostly because of his weird and creepy voice. The general nature of making fun of the pig throughout the episode just makes me sad.

I really like season 10, and the Halloween rendition of the season is among my least favorites.

One thing this episode does have going for it is the costumes. As the show has gone on, the kids’ costumes have gone from relatively normal (for Tina, at least) to really fun references and puns. Still, though, “Pig Trouble in Little Tina” was a miss for me. I needed more justice for the gross little pig.


Photo courtesy of Fox Studios via Bob’s Burgers Wiki
  1. “The Pumpkinening” — Season 12 episode 3

“Linda receives a mysterious note on Halloween and must go to her old hometown with Gayle to answer for a misdeed they committed 27 years ago.”


  • Gene: Grad-iator (a gladiator who just got his master’s)
  • Tina: Sher-Loch Ness Monster (Loch Ness Monster mixed with Sherlock)
  • Louise: Peter Pan’s Labyrinth (super creepy, I can’t even explain it)

There are plenty of puns in the Halloween costumes for this episode. I love a throwback to Linda and her sister Gayle as teenagers. This episode is a great break from the Halloween episodes, mostly being centered around the kids.

The episode starts with a flashback to Linda and Gayle in high school after they have destroyed everyone else’s pumpkins entered in a pumpkin decorating contest. Twenty seven years later, the sisters have both received notes that say, “PUMPKIN SMASHER!!!” Now, they must atone for their crimes.

Linda and Gayle have a great dynamic, and this episode is pretty spooky. I love the eerie music that sets the tone for the episode. It functions pretty well as a Halloween episode.

The story is interesting in theory but falls flat in practice. “The Pumpkinening” is alright, but overall, kind of forgettable.


Photo courtesy of Fox Studios via The Hot Corn
  1. “Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street” — Season 9 episode 4

“The Belcher kids set out to find the culprit who’s snatching everyone’s candy bags on Halloween night. Meanwhile, Teddy gets carried away when he decorates the restaurant to compete with another handyman on the street.”


  • Tina: Nun of your business (nun with a briefcase)
  • Gene: André 3000 the Giant (André 3000 meets Andre the Giant)
  • Louise: Dragon with a girl tattoo (reversal of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”)
  • Super special shoutout to Rudy going as Paul Rudd from “I Love You, Man”

“Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street” has a good balance of spooks and mystery with light-hearted fun. This is one of the only episodes, other than “Full Bars,” that I think features a full trick-or-treating sequence. In many of the other episodes, the trick-or-treating is either left out of the actual episode or is in some way foiled.

It’s cool to see the kids, and a lot of their classmates and friends make an appearance in this episode. Seeing Gene, Tina and Louise actually get to be kids is really wonderful, and I think makes the family seem more real. Louise especially is so oddly mature at times that it’s easy to forget that she’s a 9-year-old girl. Episodes like this, where she and her siblings and friends are plotting to figure out why their Halloween candy is getting stolen, are really important for fleshing out all of the characters.

Back at the restaurant, Teddy competes with the neighboring storefront’s Halloween decorations. I really enjoy the adult-centered plotlines, and this one personally resonated with me as the child of a parent who strives to go all-out with spooky Halloween decorations. I would have loved it if this story blended with the kids’ storyline.

“Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street,” like a lot of other “Bob’s Burgers” Halloween episodes, is good for filling out everyone’s characters but not too great as a stand-alone episode. The mystery plotline is one of the weaker ones “Bob’s Burgers” has done.


Photo courtesy of Fox Studios via Bob’s Burgers Wiki
  1. “Fort Night” — Season 4 episode 2

“Tricks and treats and lunatics abound.”


  • A group dragon costume that never comes to fruition (though it totally would’ve been super cool)

To sum this episode up better than IMDb, “Fort Night” is the non-Halloween Halloween episode, as the kids are trapped inside a cardboard box fort for most of the holiday. Louise’s evil friend (or frenemy) Millie hears them trapped but decides not to help them to blackmail Louise into being her friend.

Meanwhile, Bob and Linda are getting increasingly frustrated (and panicked) when the kids don’t come home to finish their costume.

This was the second Halloween episode that “Bob’s Burgers” aired, and I think it’s a solid watch. It does hold a nostalgia factor for me, just because I’ve been watching it every Halloween for the past 10 years, but I think it’s a really good episode throughout.

Darryl, as always, is a great appearance for the show. Andy and Ollie are, too, though, at times, their antics get a bit tiring. I love how genuinely evil and scary Millie is, especially contrasted with Louise’s genuine evilness and scariness.

“Fort Night” is a good episode, but it’s not my favorite. Still, it’s definitely a “Bob’s Burgers” Halloween classic.


Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Tina and the Real Ghost” — Season 5 episode 2

Tina begins an out-of-this-world romance with a ghost that is believed to be living in the Belcher’s basement.”


  • Gene: Turner and Pooch (reference to “Turner and Hooch”)
  • Louise: Ryan Gosling from “Drive”

“Tina and the Real Ghost” is a genuinely good episode. One of the things I really enjoy about this episode is that the A and B plot connect: the family discovers a ghost named Jeff living in their basement. Tina falls in love with him and introduces him (held in a shoebox) to her friends at school. Meanwhile, at the restaurant, Bob and Linda grapple with the annoyance of having ghost hunters in the restaurant.

Overall, this is a wonderful Halloween episode, and it feels spooky in every aspect. I love episodes centered around Tina having a crush — I feel like they perfectly encapsulate the experience of being an awkward middle schooler when everything feels like a huge deal.

This is a funny and sweet episode and another example of Tammy just being the worst. Also, Gene looks so cute in his costume. Gene, with a half-man-half-dog costume, is what carries “Tina and the Real Ghost.”


Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Heartbreak Hotel-oween” — Season 11 episode 4

The kids meet a mysterious old woman at a hotel on Halloween as Louise plots her revenge for a candy transgression; Bob and Linda donate blood at a vampire-themed blood mobile.”


  • Group snail costume
  • Gene: Cat Stevens, Baby Gaga
  • Tina: Toast Busters, 16 Handles
  • Louise: Freshly squeezed Beetlejuice, Blade Bunner

I love this episode. It’s a great little whodunnit story with a heartwarming story and features a nice lineup of costumes, both in the flashbacks and with the present-day group costume.

Some of my favorite episodes center around the kids improving the quality of life of some random character, often a character that the family doesn’t like at first. I think this episode is a vague example of that, and it also has some murder mystery themes.

This is a good episode, definitely one of the better ones that has come out of the recent seasons. The B plot is insanely funny as well, and honestly, one of my favorite minor storylines that follows Linda, Bob and Teddy. “Heartbreak Hotel-oween” is definitely worthy of your Halloween lineup.


Photo courtesy of Fox Studios via Bob’s Burgers Wiki
  1. “Teen-a Witch” — Season 7 episode 3

When Tammy steals her idea for winning the annual Halloween costume contest, Tina turns to witchcraft.”


  • Tina: Sand-witch
  • Honorable mention for Rudy as Marcel Marceau

A Tina-centered episode! Tina + Halloween + plenty of puns = a great episode.

“Teen-a Witch” is one great example of how “Bob’s Burgers” goes beyond a typical trick-or-treating storyline for its episodes.

Tammy and Jocelyn are two characters that I hate but love to hate. They’re just the worst. Tammy overhears Tina talking about being a hot mess for Halloween (looking really trashy while being on fire), so Tina resorts to changing her costume to a sand-witch (a sandwich witch… it’s not great).

Tina is spurred by librarian Mr. Ambrose (played by Billy Eichner, who was born for this role) and delves into spells. I love Tina’s “gothic” look; it feels like a throwback to “Bad Girl,” the episode where Tammy is introduced, and Tina is pressured into wearing makeup and being someone she’s not. I love that episode, and, in turn, I love “Teen-a Witch.”

“Teen-a Witch” is an awesome episode that is Halloween-centric while still having a unique plotline.


Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “The Wolf of Wharf Street” — Season 8 episode 3

On Halloween night, Linda tries to impress the kids by taking them to look for a wolf that has been terrorizing the town. Meanwhile, an injured and medicated Bob believes that Teddy has turned into a werewolf.”


  • Gene: Handsome grapes (indistinguishable from non-handsome grapes)
  • Tina: Mombie (mom zombie)
  • Louise: Guy from “No Country for Old Men”
  • Linda: Cher-iff (Cher sheriff)
  • Teddy: Sexy nurse

“The Wolf of Wharf Street” is easily one of the funniest episodes of “Bob’s Burgers.” I truly think that this episode could convert a non-watcher into a fan. This episode is scary and full of laughs.

For the main storyline, we follow Linda, Gene, Louise and Tina as Linda leads the kids on an adventure to find a wolf that has been making headlines for having free roam in their town. The wolf’s origins end up really funny and also completely believable.

As weird as it is, I love episodes where Bob is on pain medication — there are, surprisingly, a lot of examples. While Bob recovers from an injury, Teddy, clad in a sexy nurse costume, takes care of him. Bob, in his medicated stupor, convinces himself that Teddy himself is the wolf.

“The Wolf of Wharf Street” has an equally funny main and side plot that offer a really nice contrast while still being united under one underlying plot. Even with (what I consider) a compelling story, this episode offers a surprisingly sweet ending that doesn’t diminish the humor throughout.


Photo courtesy of Fox Studios
  1. “Full Bars” — Season 3 episode 2

“On Halloween, the kids run into bullies when they go trick-or-treating in the rich neighborhood, while Bob and Linda attend a party where someone kills Teddy’s pet guinea pig.”


  • Gene: “Rapper/actress Queen Latifah from her U.N.I.T.Y. phase”
  • Tina: Mommy Mummy (a toilet paper mummy with a baby doll)
  • Louise: Edward Scissorhands
  • Linda: Mermaid
  • Bob: No costume before being forced into a sumo wrestler costume
  • Bonus points for Gretchen’s cheerleader costume that reads “UTI” and Mike the mailman’s costume as a mailman

This episode flies under the radar a lot for me. Still, it’s undeniably really good (especially for the first Halloween episode), and most of its greatness can be attributed to Teddy. He’s completely spray-painted his house to be black and orange, even going so far as to spray-paint his guinea pig, Francis.

Unfortunately, Francis doesn’t make it too long. Teddy launches a full-scale murder investigation to figure out why Francis has died, and of course, he doesn’t link it to the fact that everything is covered with noxious spray paint.

The kids’ storyline is good, too. It perfectly captures the joy of receiving a full-size candy bar while trick-or-treating and a lot of the fear that comes from seeing teenagers when you’re a kid. (That’s not just me, right?)

This is a wonderful episode with a lot of the awkward humor that early seasons of “Bob’s Burgers” sports, with an awesome murder mystery twist.


Photo courtesy of Fox Studios via Halloween Specials Wiki
  1. “The Hauntening” — Season 6 episode 3

“When Louise admits that she has never felt scared before, the family goes to a haunted house in an effort to change but mayhem ensues after their visit.”

Costumes: NA

This episode is flawless. Every single year, I laugh at the exact same jokes and sometimes a few new ones that I hadn’t picked up on before. The scream from Mort throwing his back out makes my family lose our minds every single watch.

“The Hauntening” is one of the only episodes that I can think of that has an unsettling narrative. Along with Louise, the audience is taken through this scary scenario. I remember that the first time I watched this episode, I found it out of character to have the characters put in a genuinely horrifying situation.

Of course, the house ends up being an elaborate scheme to scare Louise, which it does and then some. I love the family all coming together to create a great Halloween experience for Louise. It’s honestly terrifying but ends up leaving you with a really heart-warming feeling, which I think none of the other episodes really accomplish fully.

This is absolutely the best Halloween episode and probably one of my favorite “Bob’s Burgers” episodes overall. “The Hauntening” is a 10/10.

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About the Contributor
Sascha Harvey
Sascha Harvey, Opinion Editor
Sascha Harvey is the opinon editor for The Sunflower. A junior majoring in graphic design, this is Harvey's third year on staff and second year as a section editor. He is originally from Arkansas but has no accent to speak of (unless you listen really hard). The graphic design major enjoys covering feature stories and local news. Harvey uses he/him pronouns.

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