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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In spades. The episodes invoke this in order to trigger the murders in each segment.
  • Anvilicious:
    • The ending to "The Day the Earth Looked Stupid." It was originally going to be even more so, with Kang outright comparing the situation to the Iraq War.
    • A few episodes have opening skits dealing with the American elections, due to Halloween taking place near them. They usually aren't subtle on the showrunners' political leanings.
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  • Bizarro Episode: Even when the main Simpsons series itself started off and had fairly down to earth plot lines, the Treehouse of Horror specials from the get go consisted of very surreal and cartoony horror parodies with zero continuity to the rest of the show. This was excused in earlier episodes, where the segments were often stories told by the canon-Simpsons in a wraparound, though this format was eventually ditched...
  • Breakout Character: Despite appearing in just one segment of the first special, which was given no more prominence than the other two, Kang and Kodos have gone on to appear in every single special since then, even when they have nothing to do with the plot. Later on they even managed to appear in non Treehouse of Horror episodes as well, though they’re almost entirely restricted to appearing here.
  • Creator's Pet: Lisa. Granted, she doesn't get off the hook ALL the time, but you may have noticed that throughout all of the murders, mutations, and what have you that happens in Treehouse of Horror, Lisa tends to comes out unscathed, or at the very least isn't affected as bad as the other characters (a prime example being the Treehouse of Horror XI intro where the family portrays The Munsters and whereas the rest of her family, including Bart, are all brutally slain, she walked away completely unharmed. Or "Bart Simpson's Dracula," where she is the only family member not turned into a vampire.) Of course, the creators admitted that they like Lisa, so that figures.
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    • And then "TOH XXXI" comes along, with a segment thats literally about Lisa dying over and over again, sometimes alone sometimes not.
    • There's also "Easy Bake Coven," which ends with the townspeople about to burn Lisa as a witch.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • All of Groundskeeper Willie's deaths in "Treehouse of Horror V", plus Bart being sent to the asylum even though he was right about the gremlin attacking the bus. Ned’s decapitated head then scares Bart. Also, in the third segment, the students are eaten by the school staff. It turns out to just be Bart’s nightmare. Unfortunately, a weird fog seeps in through the window, turning the Simpsons and Groundskeeper Willie inside out. Santa’s Little Helper then eats Bart’s intestines.
    • In "Hell Toupee" from "Treehouse of Horror IX", Snake's hair smothers Bart's face, and Homer immediately begins punching Bart's head.
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    • In “Wanted Dead Then Alive”, Sideshow Bob finally kills Bart. But Bob isn’t satisfied, so he brings him back to life and kills him over and over until Lisa and Santa’s Little Helper finally discover the corpse.
    • In “BFF R.I.P.”, this happens WAY more than twice, when Rachel kills Janey, Sherri and Terri, Milhouse, Lisa’s therapist, Snowball whatever number they’re on now, and Homer’s imaginary friend Sergeant Sausage. Of course, since Sergeant Sausage is an imaginary friend, he can’t actually die, but Homer eats his exploded body anyway. Also, Snake kills Chief Wiggum.
    • In “Dead and Shoulders”, Bart accidentally decapitates himself, so his head is grafted onto Lisa’s body. After a mishap, Bart ends up attached to Selma and Lisa is attached to Krusty. Selma-Bart reappears in the next segment as “The Terrifying Callback”.
    • In “Dial M for Murder” from “Treehouse of Horror XX”, Bart kills Miss Hoover and Principal Skinner. When Lisa fails to kill Mrs. Krabappel, Bart is upset. Lisa then tries to kill Bart in revenge, but decides not to go through with it. She tosses the knife away... and it lands in Bart’s head, killing him anyway.
    • In “Send In The Clones”, one of the Homer clones kills Ned. The real Homer then dies after falling into a gorge.
    • In “Wiz Kids”, Montymort (Mr. Burns) dies after being struck in the shin. Slithers (Mr. Smithers) then eats his corpse.
    • Several episodes involve murder-suicides.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Some of the monsters such as Count Burns, Devil Flanders, Witch Marge, and King Kong Homer. An unusual example is Krusty in vampire get-up from Treehouse of Horror IX who, despite not really playing a role in the segment, has been seen in Treehouse of Horror merchandise and media.
    • Kang and Kodos, the two space aliens from the very first Treehouse of Horror segment "Hungry Are The Damned". They've appeared in every special since (or not, which they will unhappily acknowledge) and have even made the odd appearances in the regular episodes.
    • Even some of the goofier characters, like Disney Princess Homer, certainly leave an impression.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In one episode, Snowball 2 is brought back to life with occult. In a later Archie Comics miniseries, Afterlife With Archie, an attempt to bring back Hot Dog starts up the zombie apocalypse.
    • In the Treehouse of Horror X short, 'Life's a Glitch; Then You Die', a virus (in this case, the fabled Y2K Bug) causes chaos around all around the world upon computers, and computer-controlled devices starting from Homer's computer, leading into the apocalypse. Around 10 years later, Summer Wars would also have its plot kick off by some guy's computer device accidentally triggering a virus, and causing havoc to devices around the world. But the big difference here is that Kenji never unleashed it (he just got one letter off, and by being the first to respond, he was framed), it was Wabisuke's doing, and it doesn't end on the apocalypse.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Several writers, animators and guest stars have said that one of their biggest reasons for wanting to work on The Simpsons was getting to make up a 'scary name' for the credits. When the names were removed for XII and XIII, they were reinstated because of requests from fans to bring them back.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The familiar Scare Chord from the THOH promos on Fox, which have been included in the promos since the early 90s.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Unsurprisingly, it has its own page.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • Marge's warning in the first special was actually a sincere one from the showrunners - as they didn't know how Moral Guardians would react to the shift in tone. Considering that the specials became increasingly Darker and Edgier as the seasons went on, it can be surprising to think they were that worried about the episode offending anyone.
    • The "King Homer" segment in III was considered a big gamble at the time because it was an extended black and white sequence - and some were afraid that viewers would think there was a problem with their televisions.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Much like the canon episodes. Later TOH instalments have relied more on Black Comedy and parodying movies and television shows than actual horror, with some of the parodies not even being based on the horror genre.
    • Treehouse of Horror XXII is often considered to be the worst TOH episode. The first segment relies almost entirely on Toilet Humor (before turning into a Shallow Parody at the end out of the blue), the second segment has an Idiot Plot that ends with a Captain Obvious Reveal, as well as Homer's cruelty towards Ned Flanders being uncomfortable to watch, and the third segment is another (out of touch) Shallow Parody of a non-horror movie, complete with more gross-out humor.
  • Shallow Parody: Has become increasingly common over time.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The aforementioned Scare Chord heard in the Treehouse of Horror promos sounds quite similar to Michael Jackson's "Thriller".
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some prefer the original format of the episodes opening with a warning from Marge, the amusing tombstones in the credits and wraparound segments for the stories. All of these were dropped by VI.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Some of the earlier specials are considered the best of the lot, and it has become increasingly tougher over the years to replicate that.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • The blue Gremlin at first... until the ending.
    • Some of the vampires in Burns' lair in IV, notable the one who pulls Bart off the slide (likely a homage to the brides from Bram Stoker's Dracula).
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: The post-Seasonal Rot episodes stopped being scary and are instead just parodies of 'relatively new' movies and TV shows with Black Comedy (See WSRD on the main show's YMMV page).
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