The Simpsons Halloween specials are named "Treehouse of Horrors". These episodes appear around Halloween each year. Each Treehouse of Horror contains three different mini-episodes with Halloween themes. The Treehouse of Horror episodes are really the only "special" episodes of The Simpsons. The theme song, introduction, and ending credits are changed to appear more creepy. Most of the shows are remakes of well-known horror movies or stories, while the rest are original stories by the writers. These are truly some of the best episodes of this terrific show.


The Treehouse of Horror Episodes:

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR, 1990 Episode 7F04

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR II, 1991 Episode 8F02

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR III, 1992 Episode 9F04

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR IV, 1993 Episode 1F04

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR V, 1994 Episode 2F03

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR VI, 1995 Episode 3F04

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR VII, 1996 Episode 4F02

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR VIII, 1997 Episode 5F02

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR IX, 1998 Episode AABF01

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR X, 1999 Episode BABF01

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XI, 2000 Episode BABF21

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XII, 2001 Episode CABF19

TREEHOUSE OF HORROR XIII, 2002 Episode #DABF19 / SI-1319



Not to be outdone by its televised cousin, Bongo Comics has been releasing a Treehouse of Horror issue of Simpsons Comics every year since 1995. Much like the show, each issue contains a number of short stories. However, the comic book showcases different artists and writers every issue, from all over the field. The artists are encouraged to adapt Matt Groening's style to fit their own (Sergio Aragones' take on Our Favorite Family was quite interesting), as well as throw in references to their own work (in a story drawn by Dan DeCarlo, the protagonists find themselves in a version of Archie's Riverdale).

The issues so far:

Some of the individual stories have been published in trade paperback format. Unfortunately, Bongo Comics has a rather random method of selecting which stories go into which issues, but they make up for it at least in part by including one- and two-page shorts, usually in the style of Groening's old Life In Hell "advertisements" or parodying Bil Keane's "Family Circus" style "follow-the-tracks-through-the-day".
  • Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror: Heebie-Jeebie Hullabaloo
  • Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror Spine Tingling Spooktacular
i can't find contents anywhere!

These trades can usually be found at local bookstore, as well as your local comic book store.


Sources:
http://www.informatik.uni-bremen.de/~tokra/simcomic/usindex.html
http://www.thefourthrail.com/reviews/snapjudgments/100801/bartsimpsonstreehouseofhorror7.shtml
While the stories behind the The Simpsons Halloween "Treehouse of Horror" episodes may seem simplistic and easy to sum up (Mr. Burns is Dracula, Lisa is Harry Potter, Homer clones himself ala Multiplicity), the writers typically find these episodes to be exhausting and difficult to write, and as such the ToH episodes are usually produced a year ahead of time (meaning that the Halloween 2001 episode was produced in 2000, and so on). This extra time gives the writing staff and animation team a chance to perfect the show, as much of the animation can be quite complex (such as the time travel animation in "The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms" segment). Sometimes ToH segment ideas stem from cut segments of a traditional episode of The Simpsons that were deemed too over the top, such as a gory shooting or tragic accident.

The ToH episodes must conform to these rules:

  • The episodes do not exist in the normal continuity of the show. If you were ask the real Bart Simpson about his exploits, he'd have no memory of raising the dead or owning a cursed talking Krusty the Klown doll.
  • Because of the lack of continuity, anything is possible. Furthermore, often times because the events in a segment will never be followed up on, most times backstory behind what prompts the segment is often glossed over ("Oh, we won a new house" or "The frogurt is also cursed". Basically, whatever is presented we, the audience, should just accept and go along).
  • Kang and Kodos, the aliens, must appear in every ToH episode. Often times the writers forget to include them, which is why in many ToHs you'll find them in a bit part at the very end of the final segment. Moreover, Kang and Kodos do not exist in the show's continuity which is why they can only appear in ToH episodes or clip shows.
Early ToHs were considered by the writers to be somewhat scary and, out of fear they'd scare their younger viewers and prompt angry letters from parents, the writers tacked on a brief intro where Marge would warn that the following episode was very scary. However, as the years went by the writing team realized that the ToHs were actually tame in comparison to other entertainment running in the same time slot, and the warnings were dropped. Furthermore, early ToHs also included an overall connecting device between segments (such as "too much Halloween candy causes bad dreams" and the dreams are the segments). As time went by the writers began running out of ideas for these connecting threads and the concept was dropped. Recent ToHs simply contain three segments seperated by commercial breaks. The same can be said for the novelty tombstones that were featured in early ToHs: they just became too hard to write and were eventually dropped.

New ToH episodes typically air after Halloween on FOX (and are not considered season premieres by the network) due to conflicts with World Series baseball, while in syndication ToH reruns usually air in the two weeks before Halloween.


References:
http://www.snpp.com
The Simpsons Complete Second Season DVD

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