It's almost Halloween and that means three things are on everyone's mind, costumes, monsters and monster costumes. You could spend your entertainment hours trying to get your fill of all that jazz through conventional methods, but I propose the more efficient alternative of living vicariously through The Power Rangers -- or as I like to call them, mankind's single greatest collective contribution to existence. After all, with their constant costumed monster slaying, they deliver all of the Halloween hotness a human requires. Regardless of whether or not you agree with that line of completely unreasonable reasoning, you should nevertheless take note of this list of essential Power Rangers Halloween episodes to watch from the franchise's various seasons (which are all available to watch instantly on Netflix, by the way) after the jump.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Life's a Masquerade
The teens today probably like to spend their Halloweens getting crunk to the beat of a Ke$ha cover of "Monster Mash" or something, but back in the swell early '90s, the Power Rangers were content to party at a community center under inept adult supervision. Though Black Ranger Zack is horribly emasculated at the party by the frankly irresponsible and shockingly popular presence of Zordon's robot slave Alpha, he and the rest of the gang get a chance to blow off steam by fighting Rita Repula's coincidental recreation of Frankenstein's monster. Unfortunately, the fight goes horribly. Between his seemingly invulnerable skin, removable neck-bolt nunchaku and mysterious powdery breath abilities, Frankenstein lays into the team for most of the episode, going so far as to beat the MeagZord mercilessly with the Green Ranger's Dragonzord. Good eventually triumphs over evil, with Green Ranger Tommy celebrating the team's victory by symbolically wearing the hide of the defeated monster, much to the joy of his warrior brethren. Zack doesn't get any love, but is ultimately comforted by the humiliation of Bulk and Skull, who despite appearing in a montage of elaborate costumes, lose the party's costume contest for dressing in their usual punk rock attire.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Trick or Treat
Unlike most Mighty Morphin Power Rangers episodes, "Trick or Treat" requires a viewers to suspend their disbelief a little. Provided you can believe the most popular game show in America is a loosely Halloween-themed program called Trick or Treat, you'll be able to relax and enjoy what's otherwise a very true-to-life set of scenarios involving Pink Ranger Kimberly competing against Skull on TV to win a new car and the Power Rangers fighting a monster called the Pumpkin Rapper. True to his name, the Pumpkin Rapper enslaves sentient beings with parasitic pumpkins that graft onto the heads of their victims. As it so happens, he also raps. In fact, his raps and rhymes are so good that Zordon himself deems them "clever." After a relatively brief battle, the Power Rangers destroy him without the use of the Megazord, proving that mere cleverness is no match for a team of child soldiers with weapons that combine to form a huge laser cannon. It should be noted that this episode is never confirmed to take place on Halloween, or even the month of October, but there's costumes and pumpkins in it. Halloween just isn't a huge deal in Japan and there's not a ton of Super Sentai source material that fits with it, so let's call it a win.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Zed's Monster Mash
Tommy, Kimberly and Blue Ranger Billy spend their Halloween chaperoning little kids on trick or treating adventures through Angel Grove. The rest of the team is vaguely unaccounted for (although they're supposedly on their way to do the same), which probably means they were cruising to their local Tower Records to buy Korn's debut self-titled debut album. Lord Zedd realizes that it would be awesome to transport the team to a Hell-like dimension, where they would face an army of recycled monsters from previous episodes. He does this with the aid of footsoldiers dressed in horribly insulting Power Rangers costumes featuring prominent "Z" belt buckles. The way the episode is shot would suggest that Tommy was fooled into a trap by taking these kids out to trick-or-treat, but true Power Rangers fans can only conclude that he was merely biding his time in an effort to take the villains on alone and further cement his reputation as a badass. After a bunch of boring stuff that doesn't involve Tommy beating up everyone by himself happens, the Pumpkin Rapper winds up making his squashy return, this time growing to giant size. Unimpressed with his latest batch of raps, the assembled Rangers quickly defeat him again.
Power Rangers Zeo: It Came From Angel Grove
This trippy, non-Halloween episode sees Green Ranger Adam pass out after studying too hard while a crazy old black and white creature feature plays on TV. This happens to go down on the night of a horrible storm, underneath a full moon. As such, Adam is naturally propelled into a terrifying gray-scale nightmare that casts his friends as classic monsters. Things work out, though, because Adam is played by Johnny Yong Bosch and he has done voice work for probably half the anime you've ever enjoyed. So yeah.
Power Rangers Turbo: Carlos and the Count
Another, merely tangentially Halloweenish episode, "Carlos and the Count" sees Green Ranger Carlos transformed into a vampire by a bite from the batty Count Nocturne. Fortunately Count Nocturne's not a "real" vampire, and just a "lunar bat," so the condition is easily cured by an unspecified antidote Alpha 6 whips up (let's just say it's something from a vaporizer, maaaan). Nocturne himself, however, is cured of living by a giant transforming robot wielding two enormous space guns.
Operation Overdrive: Ronny On Empty Pt. 1 and 2
A crazy Halloween two-parter that is Halloweeny for all of three minutes, the "Ronny on Empty" saga basically has nothing to do with the holiday at all. It is, however capped by a Halloween party dancing sequence that is painfully self-aware. I don't want to give away one of the biggest reveals of this Power Rangers series, but imagine wearing a costume that represents a lifetime of deception while doing a dance that symbolizes the persecution of your kind -- all while smiling -- in front of the very person responsible for your irreversible pain and inner turmoil. Frightening, no?
Power Rangers Samurai Halloween PSA
Just in case you were planning on living dangerously this Halloween, the Samurai Rangers are here to remind you that rocking flashlights, glow sticks and reflective tape increases your odds of surviving a trick-or-treat escapade exponentially. They don't mention that it has the awesome side effect of making your costume look like something out of Tron
(or Fear Itself
), but why would they? Of course it does. Everything they do is awesome.
I don't know what I was doing watching the coming-of-age drama Felicity in eighth grade, but for the sake of street cred, let's just say I thought Buffy was on that night and tuned in by mistake. Anyway, former Pink Ranger actress Amy Jo Johnson totally confronts a girl dressed as her former character at a Halloween party in the fourth episode of the show and that's reason enough to tune in. I wish similar situations would've played out like a thousand more times throughout the series, but I stopped watching when Keri Russell cut her hair I never, ever watched that show because I was -- and continue to be -- super manly 24/7.