There are few things more fun than dressing up for Halloween, but watching your favorite TV characters dress up comes in at a close second.
Certain shows have become known for their Halloween episodes over the years, including Pretty Little Liars, Black-ish and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Back in season 6 of Black-ish, the Johnson family tried out multiple costumes in one episode alone. Rainbow and Dre (Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson, respectively) dressed as Jasmine and Aladdin with their youngest son, Devante, as the genie.
The older Johnson children also had some tricks up their sleeve, with Diane (Marsai Martin) dressing as Beyoncé in the “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” video, Jack (Miles Brown) going as NBA star Anthony Davis and Junior (Marcus Scribner) channeling Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor.
Later in that same episode, titled “Everybody Hates Raymond,” the Johnson family came together for a group take on Jordan Peele‘s 2019 horror movie Us. “Tethered. The Johnsons do it again,” Ross wrote via Instagram in October 2019 alongside a photo of herself and her castmates dressed as the movie’s Wilson family. “Shout out to @blackishabc hair, makeup, and wardrobe for killing the Halloween game.”
While Pretty Little Liars aired from 2010 to 2017, fans knew to look forward to Halloween episodes for the elaborate costumes as well as the dangerous situations the Liars would always end up facing. The first Halloween special, titled “The First Secret,” aired in 2011 as part of season 2.
Spencer (Troian Bellisario) led the squad as Mary, Queen of Scots, while Hanna (Ashley Benson) paid homage to her pop culture interests with a Britney Spears costume from the “… Baby One More Time” music video. Aria (Lucy Hale) went as a witch and Alison (Sasha Pieterse) dressed as Lady Gaga.
PLL showrunner I. Marlene King later said that the first Halloween special was one of the earliest examples of the writers and producers pushing the boundaries of just how spooky the show could get.
“Our first Halloween special … Alison tells this creepy story about this twin murdering her sister, and the thing was, ‘You can’t show blood,’” King told Cosmopolitan in April 2017. “We pushed back and said, ‘We can show blood.’” As fans know, the show later featured a decapitation, among other things, so the initial pushback seems to have worked.
Keep scrolling for a look back at some of the best character costumes in TV history: