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These Are The Top Bob's Burgers Holiday Episodes According To Fans

Every holiday season, Bob's Burgers gives us one of the best presents of all: a delightfully quirky, wholesome, and amusing half hour of television. Or course, during the regular season of the show, we get this gift every week, but it's especially exciting to see what kinds of escapades the writers will build around the theme of a particular holiday. For middle-class families like the Belchers, these celebratory occasions are ripe for odd shenanigans. From pinching pennies to cooking turkeys, the Belchers take the quintessential holiday experience of the everyday American family and make it at equally relatable and absurd.

The series rarely goes more all out, in both of these arenas, than it does in its seasonal episodes. The highest-rated episode of the show on IMDb is the 2015 Halloween special "The Hauntening," and many other holiday episodes enjoy top spots as well: the 15 8.1-and-above-rated episodes on this list are all in the top 50. What is it about each of these gems that makes them so special? 'Tis the season to find out.

Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street

The season nine Bob's Burgers Halloween episode, with its Freddy Krueger-inspired title "Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street," seems to start off normally for the Belcher kids and their friends (who sport such memorable costumes as Louise's "Dragon With The Girl Tattoo" and Rudy's "Paul Rudd In I Love You, Man"), until they discover that the trick-or-treaters' candy bags have been disappearing. The ensuing caper follows their attempts to give the unknown culprit their "just deserts" — and get back their own desserts.

Trick-or-treaters typically know to avoid the house of the dentist who hands out floss and apples instead of candy, but this episode takes this trope a step further: What happens if that dentist takes his vendetta to the streets and targets the candy himself?

Things are just as intense on the "adult" side of things, where Teddy convinces Bob to let him use the front of the restaurant as his proving ground in a bitter Halloween decorating rivalry with another handyman that ends, unsurprisingly but still comically, with Teddy going too far (or perhaps inventing an exciting new Halloween decorating trend: spiders with chainsaw legs).

Better Off Sled

Instead of revolving specifically around Christmas and the hijinks that often accompany the holiday, "Better Off Sled" is a Christmas episode that, initially, seems to center around the exact opposite of the Christmas spirit: hatred. The chief antagonist of this episode, teenage bully Logan Bush, has been built up as Louise's archnemesis since Season Three. After Logan and his friends take over the Belchers' usual sledding spot, the kids recruit Regular Sized Rudy's cousin Mandy, the pitcher on the high school softball team whom Logan used to bully, too.

As with most episodes of Bob's Burgers, this one offers a bit of affectionate exposition through gentle vulnerability. We see Rudy's hope that he will eventually grow as big as his cousin (though he topples over when she high-fives him). On Bob and Linda's side, Linda teaches Bob to knit so she can help her complete three scarves in time for Christmas, only to find out to her chagrin that he's a natural, knitting two perfect scarves in the time it takes her to complete a haphazard one... But the kids fall in love with Linda's imperfect scarf anyway.

The Last Gingerbread House on the Left

One pattern throughout the series is that many of the Christmas episodes seem to be graced (or cursed) with a touch of Halloween-y creepiness, beginning with the very first Christmas special, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins," which didn't quite make this list and in which we meet a man who is convinced he is a mannequin come to life. (Possessed dolls coming to life is, of course, regular fare in the horror genre.) Every Christmas episode in this list except "Better Off Sled" fits that bill.

"The Last Gingerbread House on the Left" is the 13th-most-popular holiday episode of the series, and the "unlucky" number 13 coincidentally hints at the classic horror-genre elements present in this episode. The kids go caroling at a house Teddy insists belongs to a murderer, while Bob enters a secret-society-type gingerbread house contest only to have it escalate to a shootout. Christmas episodes of Bob's Burgers are an excuse to go all out in ways that are just as freaky as they are festive.

Now We're Not Cooking With Gas

By the time we get to season ten, Bob's complicated relationship with Thanksgiving is pretty familiar to the audience, and all too familiar to him. As a cook by trade, Bob sees the Thanksgiving turkey dinner as a source of tremendous pride, but life often gets in the way. The misfortunes of "Now We're Not Cooking With Gas" should be pretty self-explanatory: Bob comes into possession of a rare heritage turkey (he's been on the waitlist for years), but the gas goes out on Thanksgiving. Not to be deterred, or at least not to admit it, Bob constructs a makeshift spit in an alley.

What's truly impressive about this episode is that Bob's demented pursuit of the perfect turkey is a storyline that can still make us laugh after 10 seasons. It's ironic in that Bob does accomplish this after all, but not through his own obsessive efforts: It's only because he accidentally knocks the turkey onto the fire, burning it badly on the surface but cooking it perfectly underneath.

An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal

Speaking of Bob's Thanksgiving neuroses, in "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal," the inaugural Thanksgiving episode, we get our very first glimpse. Bob is very particular in his turkey selection process at the supermarket, even going so far as to name the turkey "Lance," which is one of our first hints as to just how deluded he can get this time of year.

As infamous as his Thanksgiving nuttiness will eventually become, though, Bob is far from the craziest person in this episode. We meet that person when the family's landlord, Mr. Fischoeder, asks Linda and the children to pose as his family for Thanksgiving in order to entrance his old flame, an incurable homewrecker named Shelby who will find him irresistible when she sees he has a happy family ripe for destruction.

Over the course of the evening as the family celebrates without him, Bob drowns his sorrows in a hefty dose of absinthe and gets a lot closer to Lance, who, long story short, is shot by Shelby in the end, setting a zany precedent that Thanksgiving episodes have lived up to ever since.

Eggs for Days

Bob's Burgers is well-known for extremely popular holiday episodes, and although only one Easter episode has aired so far, it kept up that tradition. "Eggs for Days" rests, as such episodes often do, on the Belcher parents' overzealous holiday shenanigans. This time, it's the intensely competitive orchestration of an Easter egg hunt for the kids: The last parent with an egg yet to be found is declared the winner.

But Bob and Linda get a little too tipsy the night before, and on Easter, they can't remember where the final egg has been (apparently very) well-hidden. No one is a winner here, though, because the egg quickly starts to rot and stink (though as fans aptly pointed out, a hard-boiled egg wouldn't start to smell so bad right away). Eventually, the putrid egg is adopted by a family of raccoons, which means we get to revisit the crawlspace Bob knows so well from when he hid there from Linda's parents in season one.

The Bleakening (Parts 1 and 2)

Abandoned warehouses and supernatural creatures? Must be a Halloween, er, Christmas episode. "The Bleakening" is so jam-packed full of creepy and Christmas-y capers that it was split into two episodes. The title comes from a legend, as told by Teddy, of an evil, anti-Santa creature known as the Bleaken who steals bad children's presents and takes them to his lair. Like clockwork, after Teddy tells this tale, Christmas decorations begin disappearing all over town, and the hunt for the Krampus-esque Christmas cryptid begins, ending at a spooky abandoned warehouse.

Another reason for this episode's popularity is its diverse representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the eyes of many fans. Bob's Burgers and its characters are typically very accepting of people from all walks of life, without resorting to exploiting marginalized characters for cheap laughs: Instead, a significant part of "The Bleakening" involves advocating for the patrons of a shuttered gay nightclub — who are actually using the warehouse in question to host their Christmas rave.

Christmas in the Car

We all know the Belchers have terrible luck on Thanksgiving, but in season four, we see that bad Thanksgiving luck translate into a Christmas misadventure. The family is forced to search for another Christmas tree right at the last minute because the first one died on Thanksgiving and the second one died on Christmas Eve. If you think you smell a curse, you might be right: "Christmas in the Car" is another example of the classically creepy Bob's Burgers take on the nativity season.

After picking up the tree, the Belchers narrowly miss a collision with a candy-cane-shaped semi. Linda plays "Jingle Bells" on the car's horn in an attempt to spread holiday cheer, an adorably characteristic misguided notion that only serves to irritate the other driver. The truck drives off, but actually lies in wait and stalks them through the night. The tension is heightened by goofy but lovable antics such as Gene running down his cell phone battery while waiting on hold to request "Jingle in the Jungle" on the radio. Christmas carols do seem to bring bad luck rather than good cheer in this somewhat suspenseful holiday episode, and that's exactly the drama that makes it so fun to watch.

V for Valentine-detta

For a show whose main cast is voiced primarily by men, many episodes of Bob's Burgers exude a surprising amount of girl power. But the strength of the female spirit in this episode, "V for Valentine-detta," comes not from vengeance as the title implies, but the bonds between characters who care for each other. The episode demonstrates that these bonds are much stronger than an on-again, off-again relationship with a middle-school jerk who will dump you for another girl on Valentine's Day.

Of course, knowing fierce female characters like Louise as well as we do, we can be sure that eventually the gloves will come off (metaphorical gloves, not ones purchased at the shop next door, which in this episode is a store called Gloves Actually). The introduction of slightly unhinged, feisty limo driver Nat, enlisted to help cheer Tina up by giving her a fancy night on the town, is a welcome addition to the team of empowered women as they evolve from partying, to plotting revenge, to finally realizing that Valentine's Day is best spent with people who will take care of you, not take advantage of you.

Dawn of the Peck

From what we've seen of Bob's love-hate relationship with Thanksgiving, doesn't it make sense that he would eventually swear it off forever? Well, in season five's Thanksgiving episode, "Dawn of the Peck," that's exactly what he does when his family decides they'd rather spend Thanksgiving at the new Turk-Tacular Turkey Town Festival. (Of course, his boycott is not actually permanent.)

Though Thanksgiving on Bob's watch does always seem to go off the rails, this episode suggests that his yearly misadventures should be the natural order of things. The Turk-Tacular Festival turns out to be a nightmare for everyone involved when there aren't enough turkeys for the Turkey Trot, a marathon where competitors run with turkeys, and the organizers of the festival enlist a bunch of random farm fowl to round out the roster. This throws the pecking orders of the suddenly intermingled bird communities into chaos, causing them to become unnaturally aggressive. What do we learn from this episode? As miserable as it may make him, Bob's ill-fated attempts at the perfect Thanksgiving may just be a law of nature, and like all laws of nature, it's best not to mess with it.

Full Bars

Fans waited three seasons for the first Bob's Burgers Halloween special, but this extremely popular episode was undoubtedly worth it. "Full Bars" is a treat akin to the full-sized candy bars that the Belcher kids seek out in one of the upscale neighborhoods. The difference is that in order to enjoy this treat, viewers don't have to endure a confrontation with privileged bullies that escalates all the way to the point of deploying pee-filled balloons.

That may sound intense, but the stakes are even higher when Bob, Linda, and Teddy become embroiled in a real-life (or real-death) murder mystery after Teddy's hamster, Frances, tragically passes away at his Halloween party. This plot manages to invoke campy levels of drama and absurdity without feeling contrived, anchored by the rare moment of lucidity from Teddy at the end when he realizes that not everything is as dramatic as he constantly makes it out to be — and that you probably shouldn't expose a small rodent at the end of its natural life-span to potentially toxic paint.

Fort Night

Millie Frock seems to obsess over and attempt to emulate Louise in every way, to the point of modeling her room exactly after Louise's, with all the same merchandise, though we don't know exactly how she broke into Louise's room in the first place. But as we see in "Fort Night," Millie has already surpassed her idol in one crucial area: Though Louise can sometimes come across as a sociopath, we know she cares for her family and friends. Millie, though, displays purely evil tendencies in this episode.

When the Belcher kids get stuck in an alley on Halloween after a loading truck backs up against their fort and parks for the night, Millie is the only one who hears their screams for help. If she were as truly cold as she herself might like to believe, Louise probably would have been able to contain her irritation at Millie's talkativeness long enough to secure her aid in their escape. Instead, Louise explodes and Millie quickly turns on her classmates, tormenting them in their prison all night. What follows is a surprisingly enthralling tale of manipulation, betrayal, insanity, and even a near-death experience: pretty impressive stuff for an episode that essentially takes place in a box.

Turkey in a Can

If "An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal" didn't make clear just how bad Bob's luck is when it comes to Thanksgiving, "Turkey in a Can," the second Thanksgiving episode of the show, is about as on the nose as it gets. As usual, Bob is determined to cook the perfect turkey for the holiday, but an unusual obstacle gets in his way: his turkeys keep showing up in the toilet. It doesn't get much crappier than that. Unable to find the culprit after finding two turkeys "in the can," Bob resorts to purchasing two turkeys, planning to use one as a decoy. The next morning, though, both of them are in the toilet.

The truth behind the mystery is much more mundane than the absurdity of the mystery itself, a reality that every parent has to go through: Bob's anxiety over Tina growing up too fast has caused him to attempt to relive potty-training in his sleep, with the turkeys as makeshift "children." As usual, Bob's Burgers takes an unconventional approach to an essential and wholesome theme: honoring the importance and idiosyncrasy of family.

Bob Actually

In the second-most-popular holiday episode of this show, love is in the air — literally. "Bob Actually" shows us a set of storylines almost too ridiculous to be actually happening. Well, okay, it's actually pretty easy to believe that Bob would forget to get Linda a Valentine's Day present until the last minute. But everything else is just wacky in the best way, like Tina finally getting a kiss with Jimmy Jr. (a floating kiss, no less!) only to have the romance thwarted by the impending threat of diarrhea.

The show is near its most theatrical here because one of the plots revolves around Jimmy Jr., who perpetually acts like a showman (even if he will never learn to act like a man). This time around, he is bent on getting a "sky kiss," which is apparently a kiss in the air while bouncing on a huge trampoline. In the cafeteria, Gene has a weird flirtation with one of the lunch ladies, who is responsible for making chocolate pudding, so the bond is understandable. But the most unbelievable and heartwarming turn of events? Louise kisses Regular-Sized Rudy. (Of course, she slaps him afterward and tells him never to speak of it, which is much more on brand.)

The Hauntening

The season six Halloween episode set expectations high, because it attempted to do something that had never been done before: terrify Louise Belcher. The success of the episode comes, admittedly, from spectacle and spook, complete with a crazed stalker armed with a sharp object in a strange, isolated place. But what's most enchanting about this Halloween installment is the fact that it depends completely on the character development that preceded it. In order to appreciate how hard it is to terrify Louise, we need to know that she's unflappable, wise and cunning beyond her years, and has a bit of a psycho streak.

The episode is a beautiful showcase not only for our own understanding of Louise, built over the preceding five seasons as painstakingly as an elaborate haunted house, but of her family's understanding of her. Whatever costume it wears, Bob's Burgers is a show about a family. Louise's family cares so much about her, and understands her idiosyncrasies so well, that they can give her the fright she's always wanted — knowing that to her, the trick is the treat.