In a time that can be as chaotic as it is uncertain, at least we’ll always have Modern Family. The groundbreaking mockumentary sitcom did so much more than explore important family dynamics and bring a functional gay couple to the forefront of American television. It also kept us laughing for 11 straight seasons, exposing us to the reliably comedic lives of the Dunphys and the Pritchetts and becoming one of the longest-running comedies of all time in the process.
Even if the rest of us don’t have cameras following us around to capture our everyday moments, we can all relate to the chaotic experiences had by this beautifully flawed family. With anywhere between 18 and 24 episodes per season, the writers had plenty of time to explore all aspects of these characters’ lives, with some of their most memorable moments taking place on Halloween. The show made its Halloween episodes particularly wacky while also utilizing them to progress each character’s ever-evolving storyline.
Here, in order of season, are Modern Family‘s spookiest, funniest, family-friendliest Halloween episodes.
“Halloween” (Season 2, Episode 6)
The Dunphys are über-excited for Halloween (Claire’s favorite holiday) in this episode, which finds them transforming their house into a house of horrors so that Claire can scare the trick-or-treaters. Mitchell is excited to wear his Spider-Man costume to work only to face a long day spent trying to get out of said (squeaky) costume while Cam avoids discussing a past Halloween trauma. Gloria, meanwhile, tries not to take it personally when Jay and Manny make fun of the many words she pronounces incorrectly. As can be expected with this funny family, nothing about their day goes as planned, which results in plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and memorable Halloween hijinks.
“Open House of Horrors” (Season 4, Episode 5)
Without giving anything away, the beginning of this episode features one of the most unexpected, side-splittingly funny moments in any Modern Family Halloween episode. While Claire grapples with how scary she may or may not be, Phil hosts a real estate open house that turns out to be creepier than he bargained for. Mitchell and Cam decide to throw a costume party to show off Cam’s new physique but find themselves in a pickle when their daughter, Lily, becomes obsessed with princesses due to Mitchell mistakenly telling her that her birth mother is one. A pregnant Gloria deals with a pair of hellish trick-or-treaters while Jay grapples with the reality that he may be losing his flirtatious charm. There are plenty of tricks and treats in this episode, as well as an exploration of the highs and lows of parenthood.
“Halloween 3: AwesomeLand” (Season 6, Episode 6)
Unfortunately for Claire, “Halloween 3: AwesomeLand” finds her having to work on Halloween, leaving Phil to take over the Halloween duties in much less gore-tastic fashion than she would like. However, when a new neighbor pitches the idea for a “scariest house” contest, she stays home from work to ensure that their house wins. Mitchell is stressed about a trial he wants to win after three consecutive losses while Cam tries to make time for Lily’s costume party at school amidst his busy work schedule. Jay, not wanting to be the “ugly guy” again for Halloween, dresses up as the Prince Charming to Gloria’s Princess Fiona, complete with a blond wig that makes him long for his youth. “AwesomeLand” may not be so awesome for the characters, but it’s an enjoyable episode for their fans.
“Halloween 4: The Revenge of Rod Skyhook” (Season 8, Episode 5)
Jay, Gloria, and little Joe decide to dress as Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (respectively) this year, causing much confusion everywhere they go given that Joe isn’t playing baby Jesus. When Jay finds out that Manny is going to a party at his nemesis Earl Chambers’ house, he convinces Manny to prank Earl, leading to all kinds of Halloween mischief. Meanwhile, Luke throws his first Halloween party, which no one comes to, leaving it up to Phil and Claire to go to other parties and convince the partygoers to attend Luke’s instead. Cam, Lily, and Mitchell pursue a young rascal dressed as Darth Vader who they believe threw an egg at Cam⏤but is he really the one who threw it, or is this the work of a more experienced trickster?
MORE FROM THE WEB
“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Phil Dunphy” (Season 9, Episode 5)
This Halloween finds Jay remodeling Cam and Mitchell’s kitchen, which is taking a lot longer than the couple would like. While they shack up with Jay and Gloria, Cam begins to overstay his welcome and Gloria unsuccessfully tries to keep her cool. Despite the Dunphy kids expressing to their parents that they’re “over” Halloween, Claire tries to keep the spirit of her favorite holiday alive by scaring her coworkers⏤who are equally over her yearly antics⏤and Phil engages in a disastrous prank war with the boys who teepeed their house. It’s a typical Halloween that doesn’t go as planned for any of the characters while also charting how far they’ve come in their lives since their first Halloween episode seven seasons prior.
“Good Grief” (Season 10, Episode 5)
The Dunphys are up to their usual tricks this year, with Claire dressed as a fuzzy spider and Phil as the fly who gets caught in her web, but things change in an instant when Claire gets the call that her mother has passed away. Everyone copes with the loss in their own way⏤some emotionally, others comically⏤with the episode serving as a tribute to the late Dede against the backdrop of Halloween. It would be easy for an episode like this to relinquish Modern Family‘s comedic sensibilities completely, but instead it finds a nice balance that keeps the episode light while also honoring a beloved, if hilariously flawed, member of the family.
“The Last Halloween” (Season 11, Episode 5)
Fittingly titled “The Last Halloween,” this episode marked the last time that the Pritchetts and the Dunphys would celebrate the holiday together on screen. It aired in the show’s 11th and final season and found Phil trying to finally scare Claire, who is convinced that she’s incapable of being spooked. Mitchell and Cam are excited to go to a big gay Halloween carnival this year now that Lily will be attending a party by herself for the first time. A day that Gloria has been dreading finally arrives when someone correctly assumes that she is Jay’s wife, making her feel older than ever. After watching a scary movie together, Phil and Claire go to a house in the neighborhood that Phil has always believed is haunted. Will it be enough to finally scare Claire like Phil hopes it will?
You can catch these episodes and all the rest in Modern Family‘s gut-busting catalogue right now on Hulu.