%% SEEN IT BEFORE?: If it happens in different episodes to the same character, you could put the trope in that character's description on the Characters page.
[[caption-width-right:300:[[ComicBook/TheDarkKnightReturns The Darkhorse Returns]]!]]

->'''Princess Luna:''' [[EstablishingCharacterMoment Citizens of Ponyville]]! [[RoyalWe We have graced your tiny village with our presence]]! So that you may behold '''[[NoIndoorVoice THE REAL PRINCESS OF THE NIIIIGHT]]!'''

-> Written by M.A. Larson

[[AllHallowsEve Nightmare Night]] has come to Ponyville, and Twilight Sparkle and Spike are enjoying the spooky festivities (even if nopony recognizes Twilight's costume as the famous unicorn wizard [[WizardBeard "Star Swirl the Bearded"]]). They join Pinkie Pie, Zecora, and a group of young ponies (including Pipsqueak, a young colt whose family had just recently moved from Trottingham) for a walk in the woods to a statue of Nightmare Moon, where tradition indicates that they leave some of their candy to appease the evil goddess so she doesn't gobble them up. But what's that swooping in on a chariot pulled by bat-winged pegasi guards? Is it the ''real'' Nightmare Moon, returned to seek revenge on the Elements of Harmony?

No, it's just Princess Luna, who's come to enjoy the festival, bask in the accolades of her subjects, and turn the night of terror into a night of delight. But her grandiose entrance, booming voice, and archaic way of speaking gives the wrong impression, scaring nearly everypony in the town square. Twilight, who recognizes social awkwardness when she sees it, decides to help. She convinces Luna that she needs to tone it down a bit, so the two go to see the expert in being soft-spoken: Fluttershy.

Unfortunately, [[ShrinkingViolet Fluttershy]] is ''not'' the sort of pony who enjoys Nightmare Night, and Twilight has to literally force her to give Princess Luna a quick speech lesson. After a few false starts, Luna finally understands and joyously hugs Fluttershy... who, alas, is limp and speechless with fear. Of course, this is just as Pinkie Pie and the kids show up for a place to hide from Nightmare Moon; they immediately get the wrong impression and run away screaming.

Undeterred, Twilight has Applejack teach Luna about getting along with the citizens of Ponyville. To get Luna to loosen up and have some fun (a phrase Princess Luna is apparently unfamiliar with), Applejack teachers her a simple target-throwing game with rubber spiders and a fake web. Quickly getting the hang of the game, Luna briefly basks in the admiration of her subjects before rushing over to save Pipsqueak from drowning in the apple-bobbing tub. Unfortunately, both Pip and Pinkie Pie misinterpret this act as ''another'' fright from Nightmare Moon, and the ponies freak out yet again. In a fit of pique, Luna turns the fake spiders into ''real ones''; when this drives the ponies into a terrified riot, she decrees the end of Nightmare Night ''forever,'' then leaves in a huff.

With ponies young and old upset about the ban, Twilight tries to get Luna to change her mind by getting her to make amends with Pinkie Pie, the cause of all the trouble. Unfortunately, their touching reconciliation is spoiled completely when an ill-timed prank from Rainbow Dash causes Pinkie to panic. Twilight intercepts Pinkie before she can run away again and starts to lecture her about Luna's benevolent nature, whereupon Pinkie reveals that she ''knows'' Luna is good...

->'''Twilight Sparkle:''' She's not evil or scary any more! And she ''definitely'' doesn't want to gobble you up!\\
'''Pinkie Pie:''' Well, ''duh!''\\
'''Twilight Sparkle:''' Huh?\\
'''Pinkie Pie:''' Sheesh, Twilight! I'm almost as big as her! How's she gonna gobble me up?

Pinkie was just ''pretending'' to freak out because sometimes it's ''fun'' to be scared. This gives Twilight an idea...

Back in town, Zecora proposes that, despite the holiday being cancelled, they can still finish ''tonight''[='=]s celebration. So, the zebra leads the young ponies back to the forest to make one last offering of candy for Nightmare Moon... But then, Nightmare Moon shows up '''in person''' to thank them for their gift! As the little ponies run off screaming, she is revealed to be a transformed Luna, who wonders what good Twilight's plan will do... until Pipsqueak comes back to ask if she can do it again next year.

Finally understanding that the ponies don't ''really'' hate her, Luna rescinds her ban and finally begins to enjoy the festival in earnest, especially when she playfully gives Rainbow Dash a much-deserved taste of her own medicine. Meanwhile, Twilight composes a report to Celestia about the importance of helping others make friends, no matter how intimidating they may first appear.
As of February 11th, 2012, this episode is recognized by Creator/TheHub as the best ''Friendship is Magic'' episode out of the first 38 to air[[note]]the 37 from [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E1MareInTheMoon "Friendship is Magic, part 1"]] to [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E11FamilyAppreciationDay "Family Appreciation Day"]] plus [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E13HearthsWarmingEve "Hearth's Warming Eve"]][[/note]].


* ZeroPercentApprovalRating: Princess Luna discovers this problem after she appears, and Twilight and her friends try to help repair her image.
* AdorablyPrecociousChild: Pipsqueak is a tiny colt in a pirate costume that says "you're my favorite princess" in the most adorable voice.
* {{Adorkable}}:
** Luna's rather endearingly awkward.
** Unlike most of the other ponies who dressed up in common costume tropes, Twilight opts to dress up like a historical wizard that she admires, down to the bells, hoof-stitched hems, and '''beard'''. And yes, she looks cute in it. This effectively serves as a bonding moment between the two, when Luna not only recognizes who Twilight's supposed to be dressed as, but compliments her on how well she pulled it off.
** Derpy's paper bag costume.
* ArtEvolution: Luna now has a mane and tail that flow like Celestia's, instead of the fixed bangs she's seen with in the ending of [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E2ElementsOfHarmony "Elements of Harmony"]]. Her fur is also a darker shade of purple. Overall, she looks a lot closer to her Nightmare Moon persona, but without the evil. This ''could'', however, just represent her becoming older, or regaining her power. Creator/LaurenFaust [[http://comments.deviantart.com/4/1603670/2245236163 stated that it represents Luna regaining her power]], [[ShrugOfGod but admitted]], "I just made that up. [[GodDoesNotOwnThisWorld I don't know how the showrunners would explain it]], [[DeathOfTheAuthor but that's how I would.]]" The mane change goes mostly unexplained, but Luna does mention that the Elements of Harmony took away her "dark powers". The idea of a gradual maturation or shift in power is supported when you notice that Luna's forelock is still "solid" rather than flowing, implying the change hasn't been completed yet. And as with the other unicorns/alicorns since "Lesson Zero", Luna's magic is [[ColourCodedWizardry given a darker blue aura instead of generic white]].
* TheAtoner: Luna throughout the episode is attempting to live down her "Nightmare Moon" phase.
* BaitAndSwitch: Luna asks in a rather rough voice whether the others are having enough fun yet and makes the spiders come to life. The viewer is led to believe that she has turned evil again... but then it turns out that she just made them hop into the nets by themselves, upon which she asks smiling how many points she has scored.
* BearHug: Luna gives Fluttershy a hug for showing her how to use an indoor voice. However, it backfires when timid Fluttershy faints during the process, and is mistaken for dead when Pinkie and the foals come upon them immediately afterwards.
* BecomingTheMask: Pinkie Pie gets ''way'' too into character as a chicken. At one point she even manages to ''lay an egg''!
* BigEntrance: Luna arriving in the middle of a windy storm at night, pulled on a evil-looking chariot by two menacing guard Pbat-ponies, all clouded in shadows, while Twilight, Pinkie, Zecora, Spike, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Pipsqueak, and four more fillies cower near a statue of Nightmare Moon at the Everfree Forest. She then jumps from this chariot to the ground while her black cloak disintegrates into bats!
* BigNever: Pinkie Pie, when told she's too old for trick-or-treating.
-->'''Pinkie Pie:''' Too old for free candy?! ''Never!''
* BigShutUp: Luna has a particularly loud one when Nightmare Night is thrown into chaos.
--> '''Luna:''' '''''BE STILL!'''''
* BlackCloak: Luna is introduced wearing one. It ''dissolves into living bats'' as she exits her chariot!
* BowelBreakingBricks: Pinkie Pie somehow lays a large egg[[note]]which, incidentally, looks like [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E23TheCutieMarkChronicles the egg Spike hatched from]][[/note]] after being scared by Luna.
* CallBack: Remember when everyone was skeptical of Nightmare Moon being [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E1MareInTheMoon more than an old pony's tale]]? Yeah, [[DiminishingVillainThreat this is why]].
* ChekhovsSkill:
** Twilight's ability to lecture.
** Luna's unintentional ability to terrify everypony turns out to be what lets her win them over once she realizes that, sometimes, they ''like'' being scared.
* ChewingTheScenery: Goodness gracious. Being a LargeHam is one thing, but Luna insisting on speaking with NoIndoorVoice is another!
-->'''Twilight Sparkle:''' Well... you kinda sound like you're yelling at me.\\
'''Luna:''' But this is the traditional Royal Canterlot voice! It is tradition to speak with the [[RoyalWe royal "we"]], and to use '''''[[GaleForceSound THIS MUCH VOLUME WHEN ADDRESSING OUR SUBJECTS]].'''''
* ComfortFood: After her initial attempt to greet the ponies goes south, Luna eats up all the candy left at her statue that the ponies left as offerings. It was a ''[[BigEater lot]]'' of candy.
* ContinuityNod:
** The whole premise of this episode mirrors [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E9BridleGossip "Bridle Gossip"]] -- Luna's debut even has her in a cloak and hood like Zecora, whose costume could be described as an evil enchantress. The fact that Zecora is considered part of Ponyville society now foreshadows the ending.
** Twilight says that Pipsqueak moved from Trottingham, a place previously mentioned in "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E17StareMaster Stare Master]]".
** At first it seems odd that Pinkie Pie, who in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E2ElementsOfHarmony "Elements of Harmony"]] sang "Giggle at the Ghostly" about not needing to be scared and had OcularGushers at Luna's redemption, should suddenly scream in terror every time Luna shows up. But it makes sense when we learn Pinkie Pie is just ''pretending'' to be scared because it's fun.
** Twilight Sparkle's pose when her costume is introduced is very similar to her pose in the fashion show in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E14SuitedForSuccess "Suited for Success"]].
** Rainbow Dash is dressed as one of the Shadowbolts, the illusory pegasus stunt team that Nightmare Moon took the form of to try and tempt her away from her friends in the [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E2ElementsOfHarmony "Elements of Harmony"]].
** Rainbow Dash is shown pranking Pinkie with the same prank the two set up in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E5GriffonTheBrushOff "Griffin the Brush Off"]]. Speaking of which, Pinkie's forelegs are still exposed (while humans in chicken suits normally have their arms in the "wings"), turning her into a winged quadruped much like Gilda herself, with a pretend beak to boot.
** In the pilot, a triumphant Nightmare Moon dramatically declares "The night will last ''forever!''" In this episode, an angry Princess Luna dramatically declares "Nightmare Night shall be canceled ''forever!''"
* CoolCar: Luna's chariot, drawn by bat-winged pegasi. The vehicle itself would be at home in ''VideoGame/BrutalLegend''.
* CowardlyLion: Fluttershy refuses to even answer the door on Nightmare Night. That's how intimidated she is.
* DarkIsNotEvil: Already was true in Luna's case, but she seems to not comprehend the fact that making an entrance that would make a ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' villain green with envy is not a good first impression for a good guy. It is, however, a good way to look awesome.
* DeadpanSnarker: Luna slips into this from time to time:
--> '''Twilight Sparkle:''' ...but you have to understand that Nightmare Night is one of the most popular celebrations we have!\\
'''Luna:''' Yes, I can tell from the ''[[SarcasmMode adoring]]'' shrieks of the children as they ''run away!''\\
'''Twilight Sparkle:''' Princess Luna! I've finally figured out why you're having so much trouble being liked!\\
'''Princess Luna:''' Forgive me if I withhold my enthusiasm.
* DeathGlare: Twilight gives Applejack one when she asks Applejack to help Luna fit in.
* DefangedHorrors: In universe, Pipsqueak describes Nightmare Night as "scary, but fun".
* DefrostingIceQueen: Luna has already defrosted. Her goal here is to convince the ponies that she has done so.
* DelayedReaction: Fluttershy when she sees the Princess.
-->'''Twilight:''' Fluttershy, it's me, Twilight.\\
'''Fluttershy:''' It ''is'' you. Oh, and Nightmare Moon. (''beat'') ''gasp!'' '''Nightmare Moon!?'''
* DidYouThinkICantFeel: Luna while trying to clean up her image gets understandably hurt when most of her efforts fail, which culminates in her walk of sad shame before Twilight thinks of how to help her.
* DiminishingVillainThreat: Nightmare Moon is a MadGod who tried ''twice'' to plunge the world into eternal night, and almost succeeded at least once. In this episode we've found that she's been reduced in the public image to scaring young ponies into giving her some of their candy.[[CallBack Spike did say that she's just an old pony tale]]. This is later [[InvokedTrope invoked]] by Twilight Sparkle, convincing Luna to assume her Nightmare Moon persona to declare that their [[MundaneMadeAwesome offering of candy was sufficient to assuage her wrath]]... ''this time''.
* TheDoorSlamsYou: Fluttershy, on her [[RuleOfThree third attempt]] to retreat into her house, slams into the door that Twilight predictably closed moments before.
* DramaticThunder:
** Underscores Luna's grand entrances and more dramatic pronouncements.
** Also [[InvokedTrope invoked]] by Rainbow Dash when she uses a small thundercloud of her own to prank other ponies... not always with the best of timing as far as Luna is concerned. She gets a taste of her own medicine at the end of the episode.
* [[invoked]]DudeNotFunny:
** Twilight Sparkle repeatedly calls out Rainbow Dash for using a thundercloud to prank the ponies. Subverted when Princess Luna retaliates by doing the same to Rainbow.
** Twilight also has this reaction to Pinkie Pie after she tells her she's pretending to be scared of Luna.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Remember traumatized!Luna? She's gone and replaced by Music/IronMaiden Decor!Luna, who makes her BigEntrance and starts ChewingTheScenery as noted above. Her failed attempts to get the other ponies to love her instead of fear her are still sad, though.
* EverybodyLaughsEnding: Because everypony is now enjoying Nightmare Night with Luna.
* EvilIsCool: An InUniverse variation. Luna embracing the horror aspects of Nightmare Night is what wins her over with the kids.
* EvilIsHammy: {{Deconstructed|Trope}}. Luna ''has'' changed her evil ways, but she has difficulty changing her hammy ways and so ponies see the ham and assume the evil is still in place. In other words, nothing has changed because they can't tell a difference. It's invoked at the end when she puts on the full "Nightmare Moon" persona; not the real one but the popularized festival one.
* EvilLaugh: Rainbow Dash employs a pretty high cackle while pranking, accentuated by the fact she's wearing a Shadowbolt costume.
* FacePlant: The result of Fluttershy's TheDoorSlamsYou moment mentioned above.
* FailedAttemptAtDrama: The Mayor's attempts to spook the children are, as Spike [[LampshadeHanging points out]], ruined by the fact that she's in a [[NonIronicClown goofy clown]] costume.
-->'''Spike:''' The rainbow wig just kills it for me.
* FishOutOfTemporalWater: Princess Luna has trouble adjusting after being away for a thousand years. She thinks that it's still proper form to be [[ObviouslyEvil mildly intimidating; and can't figure out why everyone's terrified of her.]]
* FloweryElizabethanEnglish: Luna insists that using "thee" and "thou" is her "normal" way of speaking and it makes sense that it would be, given that she was on the moon for the last thousand years.
* FreezeFrameBonus: When Pinkie gets scared by Rainbow's thundercloud just before shaking hooves with Luna, she ''lays an egg''.
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: Luna, though only when extremely pissed off.
* GoodWingsEvilWings: The pegasi that bring Luna into Ponyville have leathery bat-like wings instead of the usual feathered wings.
* HairTriggerTemper: Much to everyone's ''horror'', Luna's temper is like this. She tries to keep it under control, with variable results.
* HalloweenEpisode: Or rather a [[YouMeanXmas "Nightmare Night"]] Episode.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: In-universe, Luna suffers from this. While she ''did'' try to bring about [[TheNightThatNeverEnds infinite night]] as Nightmare Moon, the [[ImAHumanitarian "eating other ponies"]] thing is new. Zecora (or any other storyteller in the last millennium) might have made that up due to RuleOfScary.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Rainbow Dash tries to scare Twilight Sparkle at the very end of the episode, but Luna ends up turning the tables on her.
* IdiotHoudini: Despite how savvy she turns out to be, Pinkie Pie still incited a riot that trashed the current festival and got all subsequent festivals canceled, yet it is Luna who needs the lesson.
* IKissYourHand: Luna extends her forehoof to the Mayor and a few other ponies, apparently expecting this gesture of fealty, and is very insulted when it doesn't happen.
* IThoughtEveryoneCouldDoThat: [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] by Twilight. She clearly expects everyone to recognize her costume (despite information on him being in a book titled "Obscure Unicorn History"), but only Princess Luna recognizes her, likely because she [[Really700YearsOld met Star Swirl herself!]]
* ImAHumanitarian: Most everypony believes Luna eats ponies, thanks to the lingering rumors around Nightmare Moon.
-->'''Pipsqueak:''' Help! My backside has been gobbled!\\
'''Princess Luna:''' 'Tis a ''lie!'' Thy backside is whole and ungobbled, thou ungrateful whelp!
* IronicEcho: In a roundabout sense: Nightmare Moon wanted to make the night last forever; Princess Luna momentarily declares Nightmare Night to be ''cancelled'' forever.
* ItAmusedMe: Pinkie later tells Twilight that this is her reason for being scared of Luna.
-->'''Twilight:''' So, why do you keep running away and screaming?\\
'''Pinkie Pie:''' Sometimes it's just really ''fun'' to be scared!
* LargeHam:
** Luna! See ChewingTheScenery above. It's a DiscussedTrope; it was polite royal behavior a thousand years ago.
** Pinkie Pie and possibly other townsfolk who know Luna isn't evil but still act scared.
* LickedByTheDog: Just when Luna is convinced she's alienated everyone, Pipsqueak timidly approaches and asks her to come back next year and scare them again.
* LoveHungry: Luna wishes for everypony's love and adulation because she was isolated in the moon for a thousand years and doesn't want to be feared.
* MakeMeWannaShout: Luna using the Royal Canterlot Voice can have this effect, as seen when Twilight has to adjust her costume after being exposed to it point-blank.
* MedievalStasis: A mild version, but if you've seen even excerpts from the original texts of ''Beowulf'' or ''The Canterbury Tales'', it's still odd that apparently the only way language has changed over the past millennium is dropping the T-V distinction. (Arguably, it's ''more'' noticeable than the lack of ''any'' difference in Nightmare Moon's speech in "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E1MareInTheMoon Friendship ]] [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E2ElementsOfHarmony is Magic]].")
* MerchandiseDriven: In an unusually drawn-out way -- a playset of the Golden Oaks Library with characters in costumes from this episode became available in 2016, five years after this episode aired.
* MundaneMadeAwesome
-->'''Twilight:''' I'm going to do what I do best -- ''lecture her''!
* NiceJobBreakingItHero:
** Pinkie Pie's behavior towards Luna. She ''knew'' that Luna wasn't evil anymore and was trying to fit in with everyone else, yet pretended to be scared of her because "sometimes it's fun to be scared". This only served to rile up the younger ponies who were genuinely terrified of Luna and needlessly upsetting her in the process.
** Also [[InvertedTrope inverted]]. At first blush, Rainbow Dash's lightning when Pinkie and Luna are trying to make amends seems to ruin Twilight's current plan. However, given that Pinkie already knew this was all in fun, Twilight may not have come up with a plan if Pinkie hadn't run off scared.
* NoIndoorVoice: See ChewingTheScenery.
** Ever since this episode, the fandom refers to writing in all-caps as "Traditional Royal Canterlot Voice". It's sometimes rendered in shorthand as "the Royal Capslock" or "Canterlock".
* NoSell: Rainbow Dash tries to scare Luna like everyone else with her thundercloud prank, Luna ''doesn't even flinch''. However it works a bit too well on Pinkie Pie.
* NotHelpingYourCase: Oh, Luna, you and your [[NoIndoorVoice loud]], [[PowerEchoes reverberating]] voice is not going to convince the common pony that you are not evil.
* NotWhatItLooksLike: Several of Luna's actions.
** Princess Luna's BigEntrance looks like the return of Nightmare Moon rather than a social visit.
** Priness Luna's accidentally "choking" Fluttershy when she was hugging in thanks.
* ObjectTrackingShot: When Luna as Nightmare Moon appears, the gust blows Applejack's hat off her head. The camera follows the hat as it travels toward the statue of Nightmare Moon.
* OffscreenCrash: When Twilight "helps" Fluttershy to meet Luna.
* OnlySaneMan: Twilight appears to be the only one who isn't afraid of Luna (aside from Rainbow Dash, who hardly seems to acknowledge her presence).
* OohMeAccentsSlipping:
** Pipsqueak at times changes accents. It's assumed it's due to his young age.
** Creator/TabithaStGermain briefly slips in and out of her Rarity voice when Luna says "Fine, be that way! We won't even bother with the traditional royal farewell!"
* PaletteSwap: [[http://ponibooru.413chan.net/post/view/75034 The band that performed on stage]] are costumed palette swaps of the band who played on "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E26TheBestNightEver The Best Night Ever]]".
%%* PanUpToTheSkyEnding
* PerkyGoth: Luna seems to have much... creepier tastes than her big sis, if her terrifying chariot, menacing guard Pegasi, and overall BigEntrance are anything to go by. She's also a "fun" loving pony (once she learns what "fun" means) and wants to make friends.
* PoorCommunicationKills:
** The nature of Luna's problem is that everyone still thinks she's evil and she has problems communicating otherwise.
** Likewise, Pinkie Pie being her usual PoorCommunicationKills self nearly leads to Nightmare Night getting cancelled because she doesn't tell anyone that she's only pretending to be scared.
* ThePrankster: Rainbow Dash's prankster tendencies go UpToEleven for Nightmare Night, and she spends the entire night running around pranking everyone with DramaticThunder. Even though it's supposed to be all in good fun, it has some unpleasant consequences.
* PunBasedTitle: To "lunar eclipse."
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure:
** Double-subverted when Luna tries, to her credit, to be reasonable. The problem is that she's a FishOutOfTemporalWater with her outfit. It's hard to blame her for snapping cancelling Nightmare Night when Pinkie Pie messes up her efforts to clean up her image. Eventually she mellows when Pip thanks her for coming back to scare them.
** Subverted with the Mayor when Princess Luna first appears; she's just as scared as the other ponies and doesn't seem to realize that her StunnedSilence is offending Luna.
* RecordNeedleScratch: There's one when Luna comes back to the party... even though the musicians are present in-universe.
* ReformedButRejected: Doesn't result in a return to villainy, but Luna does lose her temper due to her lingering bad reputation.
* RobeAndWizardHat: Twilight puts these on, finished off with a WizardBeard.
* RoyalWe: Luna, as required by her (outdated) royal protocol. [[LampshadeHanging She says it herself]]. She seems to be confused about the appropriate use of the RoyalWe, using it to refer to herself rather than the throne or the nation. She does occasionally refer to herself in the third person as "thy Princess", which is appropriate when the RoyalWe is used correctly.
* RuleOfSymbolism: When Twilight first sees Luna after her BigEntrance, she's lying in the shadow of the Nightmare Moon statue.
* RunningGag:
** Nopony seems to know what Twilight's costume is except Princess Luna.
** Pinkie Pie and the kids running off screaming after seeing Luna do something that's {{not what it looks like}}.
** Throw in Rainbow Dash's DramaticThunder prank... that is... until Luna gives Rainbow Dash a dose of her own high-voltage medicine!
* ScaryScarecrows: [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Absolutely averted a la Applejack's adorable attire]].
* SerialEscalation: We knew Creator/TabithaStGermain was the Queen of Pony Ham as Rarity and [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E20GreenIsntYourColor Photo Finish]], but hot ''damn'' does she go the extra mile in this episode as '''''LUNA, PRINCESS OF THE NIGHT!'''''
* SeriousBusiness: Free candy for Pinkie Pie.
--> '''Pinkie Pie:''' Enough with the chitchat! Time is candy!
* ShoutOut:
** Pinkie and Luna reaching to touch hooves borrows from the scene in ''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial''. Bonus points for this happening on Halloween/Nightmare Night. Twilight luring Pinkie using candy, Twilight's lines asking Pinkie not to scream before this shot, and the backing music cues during this sequence also are a tip of the hat to the film.
** One of the popular pastimes of Nightmare Night is apparently [[http://www.punkinchunkin.com/ Punkin Chunkin']]. Naturally, Luna proves to be an ace chunker.
** The banner above the stage has a bat that resembles the modern Franchise/{{Batman}} logo on it, plus Nightmare Moon's face in the center a la the 60s Batman logo.
** Derpy empties Carrot Top's apple-bobbing tub. Thanks to a [[Webcomic/CarrotCakeStorybook particular fan comic]], Derpy emptying Carrot Top's fridge is considered a defining trait of their friendship.
** Some of the music heard in the background to the Nightmare Night celebrations sounds suspiciously like the theme from ''Series/TheMunsters''.
* SmokeOut: Zecora does a Smoke "In" to make a dramatic entrance before telling her spooky tale.
* SpidersAreScary: Princess Luna somehow thinks bringing several hoof-sized beanbag spiders to life will help her score more points in the "throw the spiders on the web" game, thus making her subjects less fearful of her. She thought incorrectly.
* SpikesOfVillainy: Princess Luna's chariot has these. Subverted, however, since Luna's [[ObviouslyEvil being intimidating due to]] culture shock in this episode.
* SqueakyEyes: Spike's audible blinks when Twilight explains who her costume is of.
* StealthPun:
** Considering Pinkie Pie's costume, it makes sense that she would overreact to Luna and run screaming in terror whenever she encounters her. She's "chicken".
*** Also, she's... wait for it... Chicken Pie. *{{rimshot}}*
*** And of course we all know she's a bit [[CloudCuckoolander cuckoo]].
** The Mayor of Ponyville goes to the festivities wearing make up and a rainbow wig. The politician is a clown. Think about it.
* TimeForPlanB: Twilight says this. It even works for a while. Ultimately, it comes down to Plan ''D''.
* TrailOfBreadCrumbs: Twilight isolate Pinkie Pie in an alley with a trail of candies.
* UnreliableExpositor: Pinkie Pie through most of this episode. Borders on {{Troll}}ing because she should probably know better.
* StandardSnippet: A lot of the episode's soundtrack is reminiscent of [[StandardSnippet "In the Hall of the Mountain King"]], by Edvard Grieg.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Zigzagged and ending on straight. Everything Twilight suggests on-screen works for a while, but gets sabotaged a few minutes later. Everything she promises to explain "on the way" is a success.
* VisualPun: Pinkie Pie enjoys being scared, and spends the whole episode in a state of utter panic. So what is she dressed as?
-->'''Pinkie Pie:''' I'm a chicken! BA-CAW!
* VoiceOfTheLegion: Luna's tendency to [[RoyalWe refer herself as "we"]] and using her [[PowerEchoes echo voice]] seems to help this one along. Different from NoIndoorVoice, as Luna was shown to be able to speak in normal tone while keeping the echo.
* TheWatson: Pipsqueak asks Zecora why the ponies have to offer candy to Nightmare Moon.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: After her arrival, Luna's demonically-dressed bodyguards aren't seen again and she drifts around Ponyville all on her own.
* WhatIsThisFeeling: Luna
--> '''Luna:''' Your Princess enjoys this ''fun''. In what other ways may we experience it?
* WholesomeCrossdresser: Twilight goes as Star Swirl the Bearded, complete with fake beard.
* WhyWeCantHaveNiceThings: Subverted, fortunately for the ponies that wanted to have fun. Pinkie Pie nearly ruins Nightmare Night for everyone because she thinks its fun getting scared and not realizing that Luna isn't in the right mindset yet to get into this.
* WizardBeard: To go with Twilight's RobeAndWizardHat. The wizard she's dressed as is even named "Star Swirl the Bearded."
* YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe: [[ShownTheirWork Averted]]. Luna uses "thou", "thee", and "thy" only when addressing single ponies, and "you" and "your" when speaking to multiple ponies. Also when speaking to single ponies, she attaches the "-est" suffix only to verbs where the listener is the subject.
* YouMeanXmas: Basically, "Nightmare Night" is Halloween in all but name: nighttime, costumes, candy, and a monster that comes out only on this date every year. It even holds an "X-Mas" version of the full "Trick-Or-Treat" jingle.
* YourCostumeNeedsWork: Averted; Luna compliments Twilight's "Star Swirl the Bearded" costume for being obsessively accurate.
The art team had some fun on this episode when designing costumes for everypony. Even the background ponies get some nifty outfits.

* AdventurerOutfit: [[AllThereInTheScript Berry Punch]] is sometimes shown wearing this costume, randomly switching (often in mere seconds) to a BedsheetGhost costume. (There are even a couple of times where [[YouALLLookFamiliar two of her are shown at once]], each wearing a different costume.) We find out [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E16ReadItAndWeep later]] that she was apparently dressed as JustForFun/DaringDo, as seen [[http://i.imgur.com/d9uFT.jpg here]].
* BedsheetGhost: [[AllThereInTheScript Berry Punch]] is sometimes shown wearing this costume, randomly switching (often in mere seconds) to an AdventurerOutfit costume. (There are even a couple of times where [[YouALLLookFamiliar two of her are shown at once]], each wearing a different costume.)
* CompressedHair: Pinkie manages to fit her mane in her chicken costume.
* EarlyBirdCameo: [[AllThereInTheScript Berry Punch]] is dressed in a costume very much resembling that of [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E16ReadItAndWeep Daring Do]]. As in, exactly the same except for very small details (the shirt being different colors and the hat being the type that Twilight Sparkle wore in "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E15FeelingPinkieKeen Feeling Pinkie Keen]]" rather than the type that Daring Do wears). As it turns out, the costume was added in [[http://www.allspark.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=84897&view=findpost&p=2008923 last minute]] because they actually ran out of unique costumes for crowd scenes and the team was facing a deadline. It was slightly edited in an attempt to avoid spoiling Daring Do.
* EpicFlail: [[AllThereInTheScript Sea Swirl]] is dressed up as a knight with one of these as her tail.
* ExpressiveMask: Rainbow Dash's Shadowbolt costume.
* ForHalloweenIAmGoingAsMyself:
** Oddly, Spike dresses up as a dragon which is almost identical to himself, aside from the horns and a slightly altered color scheme. He even partakes in this exchange without a trace of irony:
--->'''Applejack:''' Howdy Spike, hey Twilight! Nice costume!\\
'''Spike:''' ''[interrupting Twilight]'' Thanks! I'm a dragon!
** [[FanNickname "Ace"]] the Tennis Pony shows up dressed exactly the same as in "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E12CallOfTheCutie Call of the Cutie]]". [[invoked]]
** Luna herself qualifies, especially if you count [[DemonicPossession Nightmare Moon]] towards the end.
* {{Mummy}}: It's easy to miss, but background pony [[AllThereInTheScript Lyra Heartstrings]] dresses up as one.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Likely very unintentional, but a yet-identified white pony wearing a distinctive pair of glasses, hair/mane in a bun, and [[TakeThat costumed as a devil]] has not gone unnoticed by the fandom to her resemblance to Sarah Palin (or, in some cases, ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'').
* {{Pirate}}: Pipsqueak's costume.
* RobeAndWizardHat: Twilight Sparkle.
* RummageSaleReject: Derpy [[AllThereInTheScript Hooves]] wears a costume consisting of nothing but brown paper bags.
* ShoutOut: A lot of costumes worn by the ponies seem to be a reference to someone or something.
** Mrs. & Mr. Cake's costumes are of [[WesternAnimation/RaggedyAnnAndAndyAMusicalAdventure Raggedy Anne & Andy]].
** Big Macintosh's costume has the [[http://littlewolfblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/ddgavs3dkqozu2enajudmvmeo1_500.jpg poisoned apple]] from Disney's ''Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'' on the cape, placed so as to cover his regular cutie mark.
** [[AllThereInTheScript Goldengrape]] with a [[http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i127/blueshift2k5/ponysteve.png fake shark biting him]] is [[http://thecia.com.au/reviews/l/images/life-aquatic-with-steve-zissou-3.jpg Steve Zissou]] from ''Film/TheLifeAquatic''.
** [[AllThereInTheScript Meadow Song]] wears a ninja outfit that bears a striking resemblance to Ermac from ''MortalKombat''.
** As noted above in StealthPun, Twilight Sparkle's is a direct shout-out to Harry Potter.
* SpiderSwarm: Luna's unorthodox method of playing the spiderweb-beanbag-toss game involves turning the stuffed spiders into animated enormous arachnids and making them crawl onto the web.
* {{Vampire}}:
** Sweetie Belle's costume.
** Luna adopts a pair of fake fangs when impersonating Nightmare Moon.
* {{Werewolf}}: Scootaloo's costume.
* WizardBeard: Again, Twilight Sparkle.