Welcome to the first article in this year’s spooky series! Throughout the month of October, the staff here at Nerds and Beyond are revisiting some of our favorite Halloween themed TV episodes. Today’s episode comes from season two of NBC’s The Office.
Simply titled “Halloween,” the episode introduces how Dunder Mifflin Scranton gets into the Halloween spirit. It begins as Michael enters the office, in a good mood – it is Halloween, after all. His excitement quickly dissipates, though, when he remembers he was supposed to fire someone, and his reluctance now means he has to make his decision on Halloween. “Somehow I’m supposed to put on a costume and smile.” He soon tries to (very poorly) trick Pam into making the decision for him, but she deflects by bringing up his costume.
Meanwhile, life at the Scranton DM branch is business as usual, but with costumes. We’re introduced to one of Michael’s simpler, yet iconic, costumes: Michael with a mini papier-mâché version attached to himself. The classic Three-Hole Punch Jim also makes an appearance. “Because you can have me either way: plain white Jim, or three-hole punch.” The employees (with the exception of Stanley and Ryan) celebrate the day by dressing up, amping up their game throughout the rest of the show. But no Halloween is complete without decorations … that seem to be lacking this year thanks to the janitor vacuuming away decorative cobwebs the night before. The conference room is decked out otherwise, though, as part of Angela’s party, complete with spooky cookies she baked.
After moping for a spell in his office, Michael heads to Accounting (a department that has one too many people, hmm), telling Oscar, Angela, and Kevin to find room in the budget for a full salary plus benefits. Of course, there is no room in the budget, but Michael is determined not to ruin Halloween and lose a (probably non-existent) friendship. Eventually he sends Dwight to (unsuccessfully) fire Stanley. Dwight soon receives a call about a potential job, thanks to a prank by Jim and Pam that somehow went right. He tells Michael, who gets even more frustrated when Dwight reveals he turned down the job, and thus still presenting no solution to Michael’s problem.
Part of what makes the episode memorable is Michael’s dramatic reaction to having to fire someone. Sure, most normal people probably don’t derive joy from firing, but in true Michael fashion, he treated it as though it was the end of the world. This continued to inform his personality and need to be friends with his employees, despite being their superior. The firing also showcased how important the holiday is to Michael, as it suddenly became something to dread rather than enjoy, only amplifying his agony.
At last, Michael finally, begrudgingly, makes the decision to fire Creed, trying to convince Creed that he wants to leave willingly. Creed gets upset and instead convinces Michael to fire Devon, who’s ultimately the final choice. He storms out, inviting a select group to Poor Richard’s and smashing a pumpkin on Michael’s car. Everyone else gets ready to leave, completely forgetting about the Halloween party Angela planned. Despite Michael’s rocky day, we see him enjoy the night when trick-or-treaters go to his house and he shares their excitement.
As a whole, the episode is a great Halloween watch. It gives fans a little taste of DM Scranton’s typical Halloween, getting glimpses of how the characters view the holiday. It also holds the steady brand of humor the show is known for having.
The other Halloween episodes include:
- “Employee Transfer” (Season 5, Episode 6)
- “Costume Contest” (Season 7, Episode 6)
- “Spooked” (Season 8, Episode 5)
- “Here Comes Treble” (Season 9, Episode 5)
All seasons of The Office are currently streaming on Netflix. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment of our series!