Every Halloween season I like to revisit some 90’s sitcoms that featured Halloween episodes and I thought I’d share some quick reviews of a few of these shows. I’ve decided to group these episodes by their particular show and rank them. Without further ado, let’s take a look at one of the 90’s most beloved shows around Halloween, Home Improvement.
When I think of horror and Home Improvement, my first thought does not go to the epic Halloween episodes, but to Friday the 13th VIII’s very own Jensen Daggett who portrayed Tim Taylor’s (Tim Allen) sister-in-law Nancy Taylor. She starred in one of my favorite episodes, The Naked Truth, where Tim walked in on her showering all sorts of awkwardness ensued.
But for most people, Home Improvement is remembered for its amazing holiday episodes. Tim Allen and the crew did some fantastic work on both their Halloween and Christmas episodes. Since Halloween is approaching soon, I thought I’d rank and do a quick write up on all seven Halloween episodes that occurred during Home Improvement’s eight seasons (there was no Halloween episode during the first season.)
Season Two, Episode Six
The Haunting of Taylor House
Original Air Date: October 28th, 1992
On Tool Time: Tim is demonstrating how to make a brick wall. Since it’s Halloween, he also dresses up as a monster in an attempt to scare Al. Together, they carve jack-o-lanterns. Except that Tim has invented a new method for achieving the same result – with, you guessed it, more power! With predictable results.
Season Three, Episode Six
Crazy For You
Original Air Date: October 27th, 1993
It’s Halloween time and the pranks begin. A fan named Rose sends Tim cookies and starts calling him at home. Tim worries about an obsessive fan, but Jill dismisses it. Jill has her own plans for tricking Tim.
Halloween Theme: A
Season Four, Episode Six
Original Air Date: October 25th, 1994
When Al buys 20% of Harry’s hardware store, he irritates everyone by becoming obsessed with the business, trying to change store policies, promoting the store on Tool Time and spending less time with Ilene.
The Halloween theme takes a bit of a backseat in this episode, but its not completely disregarded. There are tons of decorations, props, and costumes to be found and a solid subplot exists with the boys competing against each other in a costume contest. But for the most part, this episode focuses on Al being a jerk.
Halloween Theme: B-
Season Five, Episode Six
Let Them Eat Cake
Original Air Date: October 31st, 1995
Tool Time is up for an award, and Tim, Jill, Al, and Ilene attend the banquet party. While the Taylors are out of the house, Brad and his friend throw a Halloween party.
This is a super fun episode. It’s not the first episode I think of when I think about Home Improvement Halloween episodes, but its always one of the ones I enjoy the most when revisiting. This episode has Brad up to hijinks, Tim being cynical, and Al being hilarious. What more can you ask for?
Halloween Theme: B
Season Six, Episode Seven
I Was a Teenage Taylor
Original Air Date: October 22nd, 1996
A prank war begins between Tim and Jill and the boys and it slowly gets out of hand.
This is another fun episode. The boys are older, so haunted houses aren’t being featured, but the family takes pleasure in pranking each other though out and I think they do a great job. It’s fun to watch each family member attempt to top the next one and it definitely delivers that “adult” Halloween feeling. (Note: there are also a couple of cute inside jokes in this episode that involve the Trick or Treaters).
Halloween Theme: B
Season Seven, Episode Five
A Night to Dismember
Original Air Date: October 28th, 1997
Mark and his friend make a horror movie, with the Taylors being the stars. They are filmed as the perfect family. Tim and Jill view the movie; Mark is shown as the forgotten son who seeks evil, Jill worries Mark really feels forgotten.
So… the Home Improvement writers ran into a problem the last couple of seasons: they had no idea what to do with Mark. Brad was the troublemaker, Randy was the smart/sarcastic one, and Mark was… well, no longer cute. So, they decided to turn him goth and outside of this single episode, I couldn’t tell you anything else that he did those final seasons.
With that being said, the episode isn’t too bad. It just doesn’t have that Halloween feel to it. There are a few decorations and costumes, but for the most part this episode lacks the Halloween spirit.
Halloween Theme: D
Season Eight, Episode Six
Original Air Date: October 27th, 1998
Wilson disappears after hosting a Halloween party with his new romantic interest, a woman who claims to be a witch.
After last year’s somewhat different Halloween episode, in the final season we returned back to pranks and costumes and a Halloween party. It’s a welcomed return, although the episode truly gets a little out there. It maybe pushes what is believable and exactly how gullible Tim is although it’s not a terrible episode. The show was already on the decline in season eight and this episode was just par for the course. Natalija Nogulich makes a great guest appearance and Tim’s flying monkey outfit is joyful, but other than that the episode is quite forgettable.
Halloween Theme: B