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The spookiest SpongeBob Squarepants episode, according to fans

The perpetually cheerful SpongeBob doesn't seem like he would be well-suited for scary stories, but SpongeBob SquarePants is no stranger to serving up spooky episodes alongside all of those Crabby Patties. But which episode of SpongeBob is the scariest one of them all? Reddit user ggroover97 set out to answer that question by polling fans, and the results are clear: The episode that leaves fans chilled to bone every time is "Graveyard Shift."

"Graveyard Shift," which is from season 2, was up against some stiff competition for the title of scariest episode. It beat out other creepy outings like "Rock Bottom," "Frankendoodle," and "Nasty Patty" to claim the top spot in the fan-created poll. Although, it should be noted that traditional Halloween episodes like "Scaredy Pants" were left off the list in order to shine a spotlight on the show's non-holiday themed scary episodes.

Still, even if you don't remove the cartoon's Halloween episodes from the equation, there's no denying the spookiness of "Graveyard Shift," which finds SpongeBob and Squidward working overnight at the Krusty Krab — and encountering cinema's most famed vampire in the process.

"Graveyard Shift" is SpongeBob Squarepants' scariest episode because it doesn't shy away from delivering real scares

Thanks to the show's penchant of mixing sly, adult humor with kid-friendly gags, SpongeBob has had immense crossover appeal right from the start. It truly is the rare TV show that kids and parents can enjoy together. On the flipside, that means the show can go to some dark places sometimes — especially when it's satirizing the pitfalls of adulthood. "Graveyard Shift" works precisely because it finds a way to tap into the fears of adults and kids in an episode that focuses on SpongeBob and Squidward working the dreaded late shift.

At first, the Krusty Krab's employees react to the news that they'll be working the nightshift exactly how you expect: SpongeBob is excited about all of the extra cleaning he can get done, while Squidward is frustrated by the additional hours being added to his schedule. It's not until Squidward realizes that SpongeBob is afraid of the dark that the real fun begins.

In true Squidward fashion, he takes advantage of the chance to scare SpongeBob with the story of the Hash-Slinging Slasher, a supposed former employee who accidentally chopped off his hand and replaced it with a spatula. Squidward claims his return will be heralded by three signs, which all happen before the episode ends.

As the episode progresses, the duo becomes increasingly unsettled as the lights flicker and they receive mysterious phone calls. And as their fear increases, so does the audience's, until the episode wraps with an appearance from Nosferatu (yes, the Nosferatu from the 1922 silent film).

"Graveyard Shift" is a disorienting and atmospheric episode of SpongeBob SquarePants that's sure to give even the most jaded viewer a few goosebumps. Not only does it capture the inherent creepiness of working the late shift, it taps into the near-universal fear that there's something lurking in the dark, making this episode one that's scary no matter your age.

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