Every "Modern Family" Halloween Episode, Ranked

A great Halloween episode is hard to do, but some sitcoms simply nail it. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has its iconic Halloween heists, many of Michael Scott's best moments occurred in costume, but no TV show does Halloween better, in my (correct) opinion, than Modern Family.

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So, in honor of Claire Dunphy's favorite time of year, here are all seven Modern Family Halloween episodes, ranked from spooky good to downright scream-worthy.

7.“Open House of Horrors” (Season 4, Episode 5)

Claire dressed a bo peep

Modern Family’s sophomore Halloween episode finds most of the family split apart — which unfortunately winds up being the episode’s downfall. Jay and Gloria are both having identity crises, Claire’s been blackballed from her favorite holiday, and Cam’s dreams of showing off his brand new "bod" are dashed when he ends up in a bull costume for his and Mitchell’s party. In one of his most iconic realtor moves, Phil is hosting an open house all evening in hopes of luring in bored trick-or-treating chaperones, but he winds up torturing a bunch of teens with real estate stats instead. The solid, but not quite spectacular, episode does manage to pull itself, and some of the family, together in the end though. Claire and the kids sneak into Phil’s listing, scaring the business cards off him and simultaneously warming our hearts.

Watch it on Peacock.

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6.“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Phil Dunphy” (Season 9, Episode 5)

Phil and Claire using the giant pumpkin as a boat

What’s scarier than Halloween? Reaching the age where you’re expected not to care about it anymore. At least, that’s how Phil and Claire feel in one of the saddest Modern Family Halloween episodes (second only of course to the one featuring a literal death in the family). The kids are all off doing completely non-Halloween-related stuff, Phil fails to trojan-horse a pumpkin, and even Claire’s office isn't interested in the horde of zombies she hired to help celebrate. Meanwhile, a delayed kitchen renovation is haunting Cam and Mitchell, who sadly skip the costumes this year. In fact, the only Dunphy-Pritchett family members we get to see dress up are Claire in what is presumably Gloria’s hand-me-down Wonder Woman outfit, and precious Joe as a fed-up Zeus. All in all, there’s not as much Halloween fun afoot in this episode as I would've liked. As all the Modern Family kids grew up, I’ll bet it was a struggle to concoct new Halloween stories. Luckily, The Great Pumpkin does end up saving the day, and makes this episode one that's still worth watching — even without the great costumes.

Watch it on Peacock.

ABC

5.“Halloween 3: AwesomeLand” (Season 6, Episode 6)

Phil dressed in a rainbow suit and Claire dressed as a spooky nurse

With Claire busy in her career, Phil steps up to take over Halloween, or…tries, at least. But when his Candy Land-esque spin on the holiday provokes mocking for the Dunphys' problematic new neighbors, Claire can’t help but take control. Cam is also putting in the hours at work (and with a copy of Where’s Waldo?), and it’s costing him major points with Lily. Jay decides he needs his hair back. The kids? Mostly missing — except for Lily, ironically. Despite being one of the least festive Halloween episodes Modern Family’s done, everyone’s holiday-adjacent antics manage to be equally fun even though the family is split apart for the majority of it. Plus, Phil’s “AwesomeLand” is truly a treat within itself. … RIP to Nibbles the stuffed bunny, though, you never stood a chance against Claire.

Watch it on Peacock.

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4.“Good Grief” (Season 10, Episode 5)

Gloria pleading with DeDe's small statue

Dressed in the best costume lineup Modern Family has ever accomplished, the Dunphy-Pritchett family must grapple with the death of Mitchell and Claire’s mom, DeDe. To paint you a picture: Mitchell and Cam are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Gloria and Jay are Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, Claire and Phil are a spider and her trapped fly, and the kids are a hodgepodge of half-assed young adult costumes that fall apart by the end of the grief-stricken evening — most notably, Alex is a convincing RBG for roughly one scene.

Now that we’ve covered what everyone’s wearing: With DeDe’s death looming large over the holiday, everyone pairs off to grieve in their own special ways. Phil and Cam make a remarkable couple of concerned significant others, traipsing through West Hollywood traffic in an attempt to bring home some nostalgic ice cream for their spouses. Mitch and Claire fight over their starkly different relationships to their mother. Jay mourns his missing sandwich while Gloria battles the ghost of DeDe in the form of dozens of tiny 3D-printed sculptures of her (we love a 2018 mall culture moment). Haley, Alex, and Luke learn that none of them know what to do in the face of tragedy, and Lily gets busy haunting Gloria and stealing hoagies. You’ll most definitely laugh, and if you have a heart, you’ll probably also cry. Such is the power of a near-perfect Modern Family episode.

Watch it on Peacock.

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3.“Halloween 4: The Revenge of Rod Skyhook” (Season 8, Episode 5)

Cam, Mitch and Lily dressed as batman, robin and batgirl

In this biblical whodunnit episode, Claire and Mitchell are locked in a messy prank war that catches Cam in the process, sending the Batman on a candy-fueled rampage through the neighborhood. Back at the Dunphy house, Luke is throwing a total flop of a party because Earl Chambers’ granddaughter has better sushi, but Haley and Claire are on the job as an influencer and a buzzkill, respectively. Phil creates a high school hottie alter-ego to hype up his son (and keep the kids off his newly resodded yard) while Jay, dressed as “Jaysus,” gets into a brawl with the thieving Earl Chambers — who is dressed as the devil, much to Gloria’s lament. Each absurd plot point of this story eventually comes together to make one of Modern Family’s best Halloween episodes in history, complete with some of its funniest costume choices. Manny, your Dalton Trumbo bathtub deserved better…

Watch it on Peacock.

ABC

2.“Halloween” (Season 2, Episode 6)

Claire and Phil in their costumes on Halloween

The very first Modern Family Halloween episode pretty much nailed it right off the bat (that was a spooky pun). Claire turns out to be — unsurprisingly — a fiend for Halloween; meanwhile, Phil is discovering a brand new fear: divorce. Alex is too smart for spooky season, Haley is shuffling through every stereotypical teen girl costume in what can only be described as a personal attack against my own basic black cat costume era, and Luke is the Dr. Frankenstein to Manny’s monster. This episode also gives us Mitchell’s secret Spider-Man suit moment, and Gloria’s own, much more positive spin on the phrase “dog-eat-dog world.” I personally find myself comparing every haunted house I’ve entered to the Dunphy’s drama-filled Halloween extravaganza and found it lacking, at least in the crying-head-of-Cam department.

Watch it on Peacock.

ABC

1.“The Last Halloween” (Season 11, Episode 5)

Phil dressed as an old lady for Halloween

Of course, the only Halloween episode that could possibly top Modern Family’s first, is its last. Aptly titled “The Last Halloween,” the show’s final spook-tacular (sorry) bow sends Jay and Manny off to hunt down a candy bar that's serving as a surrogate for Joe while Gloria worries she’s finally old enough to look like Jay’s wife. Cam and Mitchell head to the West Hollywood parade for a child-free night that leaves them questioning their fatherhood skills, and Luke and Alex both get majorly dumped. But, as always with Modern Family’s Halloween specials, Phil and Claire are the real stars of the evening. After failing year after year to scare Claire, Phil finally terrifies her with a long con so epic I can’t bear to spoil any of it for you, but just know it will probably renew your faith in lasting love and also make you want to step up your game this Halloween. Assuaging my fear about my favorite sitcom falling victim to the Curse of One Too Many Seasons, Modern Family managed to end its streak of scary great Halloween episodes on a high note.

Watch it on Peacock.

ABC

Forever missing you, Modern Family! Especially around this time of year... BUT every episode is available to stream on Peacock.

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