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Every Community Halloween Costume Ranked Worst To Best

You might be surprised to learn that beloved sitcom "Community" only produced a few Halloween episodes during its six-season run. Between the various movie spoofs, paintball episodes, Troy and Abed's love of elaborate imaginary games, and the dean's penchant for extravagant costumes, it's basically Halloween several times a year at Greendale Community College. But in truth, only Season 1's "Introduction to Statistics," Season 2's "Epidemiology," and Season 4's "Paranormal Parentage" see the majority of the cast don actual Halloween costumes. A generous fan might also count Season 3's "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps," as Jeff and Dean Pelton appear in costume, but the rest of the characters merely tell scary stories in normal clothes.

Despite this relative dearth of Halloween-specific episodes, "Community" still manages to pack every single one with memorable looks — and we're here to celebrate them. This is our ranking of every Halloween costume worn on "Community," judged by effort, originality, and how well they capture a certain ineffable Halloween spirit.

25. Troy as sexy Dracula

If Halloween is about anything, it's about our collective agreement to act un-self-conscious for one wacky night. Troy's betrayal of this fundamental seasonal tenet with his ad hoc "sexy Dracula" costume earns him last place on our countdown. After being embarrassed by the fact that he coordinated his original costume with Abed in "Epidemiology," Troy goes mostly shirtless to impress the ladies and writes "Dracula" on a toilet seat cover draped around his neck. It's last-minute, low-effort, unoriginal, and most importantly, against the spirit of Halloween entirely to bail on a costume you made with a friend because you don't want to look nerdy.

24. Jeff as a cowboy

In "Introduction to Statistics," Jeff is still making his journey from calculated cool guy to lovable member of the study group. Naturally, he's too jaded to dress in costume for Annie's Dia de los Muertos party.  However, when he is forced to wear a costume to get into the faculty party (which he wants to attend to hit on a teacher), he spontaneously produces a cowboy costume on the way there.  As Britta immediately figures out, he had a last-minute costume in his car. Not only is this costume low-effort and low-concept, keeping it in reserve shows an extra level of phony, superficial "spirit" that is against everything Halloween stands for.

23. Annie as a skeleton

Okay, technically Annie's skeleton bodysuit, worn for her Dia de los Muertos party in "Introduction to Statistics," is appropriate to the occasion. But on the Halloween costume scale, it's just a bodysuit and a mask. Thus, it ends up near the bottom of the countdown. We've knocked off extra points for the moment Annie sheds the dramatic black cape the costume originally includes, which was definitely its most distinctive element.

22. Jeff as 'one of the Fast and Furious guys'

You almost have to respect Jeff's dedication to putting in a lot of effort just to make it look like he put in very little. He appears in "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps" as "one of the 'Fast and Furious' guys," though he doesn't even know which one, specifically. He claims he just picks "a costume girls will like," but you don't have to be all that familiar with the franchise to know that the leather jacket and distinctive cross necklace means he's definitely dressed as Vin Diesel's main character, Dom Toretto. So, not only does Jeff put in a lot of work and a decent amount of jacket money into a costume that's barely a costume, he won't even be upfront about it. Lame.

21. Chang as Peggy Fleming

Honestly, Ben Chang's Peggy Fleming costume, worn in "Epidemiology," is somewhat impressive. He's made his own medals, donned a decently accurate wig, and found a teal leotard reminiscent of the one Fleming wore in the '60s. But no matter how accurate and thoughtful your costume may be, your points are going to get docked when you reveal the costume is only meant to mess with people. Chang pointedly goes around a Halloween party making people guess who he is, just so he can pretend to be offended whenever someone guesses Michelle Kwan or Kristi Yamaguchi. 

This breaks a cardinal rule of Halloween: If you're going to dress as someone obscure (like, say, a figure skater from 1968), you can't get offended when people guess wrong. And you definitely don't get to declare, "You've just been proved racist, by the Racist Prover!"

20. Dean Pelton in a tuxedo

It's easy to forget that Dean Pelton doesn't really blossom as a character until Season 2 begins to explore his unconventional personal life and penchant for elaborate costumes.  As a result, it's shocking to rewatch "Introduction to Statistics" and see his very subdued attire for the faculty Halloween party. He's only in a tuxedo and mask! Is he a low-budget Phantom of the Opera? Is he a guest at the party in "Eyes Wide Shut"? In any case, it's not much of a costume, and definitely below the standard fans come to expect from him on a weekly basis.

19. Jeff as David Beckham

Once again, we find Jeff going with a low-concept, barely-there costume in "Epidemiology."  At the very least, this David Beckham costume ranks a little ahead of his others, since it's somewhat unique. You could also say it displays a rare bit of self-awareness from Jeff, as David Beckham was well past his prime as a footballer at this point in time, and mostly known for being handsome — much like Jeff Winger himself. But as costumes go, wearing a suit while holding a soccer ball isn't really setting the world on fire.

18. Shirley as Princess Leia

After a couple other attempts at more specific costumes people fail to recognize, Shirley goes for a dependable Princess Leia costume in "Paranormal Parentage." It's not the most original idea in the world, but it's well-executed and the hair must've taken her a while. It's hard to blame Shirley for wanting to go with a recognizable choice after her past frustrations, but a main character from "Star Wars" isn't going to get you terribly high on a countdown of best-ever costumes.

17. Britta as a Tyrannosaurus rex

Britta dresses up as a T-Rex in "Epidemiology." A plush, finely detailed (if not scientifically accurate) costume, you have to wonder how the normally broker-than-broke Britta could afford such a thing for Halloween. Has she rented it? Did she make it? Budget-wise, it shows a decent amount of dedication from one of the show's poorest characters. But a dinosaur isn't the most unique idea in the world, and the whole costume is pre-made. It's also inconvenient, as Jeff has to help her eat and drink for the entirety of the non-zombie-outbreak portion of the Halloween party.

16. Dean Pelton as a witch

Now this is closer to the Dean Pelton we know and love. He even announces his presence with a classic play on words, shouting "Trick or Dean!" when he first pops up dressed as a witch in "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps." His costume is decently color-coordinated, featuring a purple and yellow lace motif that wouldn't look out of place in the beloved musical "Wicked." But still, seasoned fans know a generic witch look is hardly the best he can do. That fact makes this a solidly middle-of-the-countdown entry.

15. Shirley as Harry Potter

Poor Shirley. She really goes the extra mile for this costume, which is most likely Harry Potter, by gamely attempting a British accent. Nevertheless, her red cardigan, glasses, and lack of truly distinguishing features mean she gets mistaken for beloved sitcom rascal Steve Urkel multiple times in "Introduction to Statistics." She has sabotaged herself quite a bit by not adding Harry Potter's famously lightning bolt-shaped forehead scar (if that is, in fact, who she's going for), or at least carrying a wand or broom.

14. Pierce as Captain Kirk

Nostalgia is a strange and oddly cyclical thing. In "Epidemiology," Pierce dresses up as Captain Kirk from "Star Trek." This is a pretty obvious choice for him, and an easily recognizable look. Still, it's not actually something you see all the time these days (outside conventions, anyway), which makes it an unintentionally original choice. That, plus a semi-convincing wig equal a decently middling position in the countdown. Too bad Pierce only gets to enjoy the Halloween party for a short while before he gets zombified by military surplus "taco meat."

13. Britta as a leg of ham

In "Paranormal Parentage," Britta once again goes with a full-body mascot costume by dressing up as a leg of ham. It's a bit more unique than most food costumes, and, knowing Britta, likely a reference to the ham costume Scout wears in "To Kill A Mockingbird." But it's still not quite top-of-the-countdown material, given the stiff competition her peers offer. Regardless, it's a decent effort, and, as a costume that's likely a literary allusion, a little bit pretentious in classic Britta style.

12. Chang as a matador

Though he turns out to have lied on his resume, Ben Chang is, at times, an oddly committed Spanish professor. This is never more true than in "Introduction to Statistics," when he sports an impressively ornate matador costume, complete with a drawn-on mustache. He even goes the extra mile to tamp down Annie's slightly too-intense Dia de los Muertos energy by loudly yelling, "You don't have to do that!" when she rolls her Rs for way too long. A relevant costume, executed with subtlety and panache — this is a rare look for a character who usually starts off the rails, then gets even crazier.

11. Annie as Little Red Riding Hood

In a fine Halloween example of playing to your strengths, Annie pulls off a great Little Red Riding Hood costume in "Epidemiology." Taking advantage of her natural doe eyes and innocent schoolgirl vibe, she makes a pitch-perfect fairy tale heroine. She also goes the extra mile, in true Annie fashion, by sporting pigtails, ribbons, and a basket. It doesn't save her from the zombies, of course, but it places her just outside the top 10 on our countdown.

10. Shirley as Glinda the Good Witch

Alas, poor Shirley. In "Epidemiology," she attempts to prove she's learned from her vague Harry Potter costume by going all-out on a look combining a pink dress, tiara, and wand. She tells everyone she's dressed as a beloved figure from childhood, but that doesn't actually narrow things down that much. Unfortunately, Shirley's lilting, high-pitched voice makes everyone decide she's dressed as Miss Piggy from "The Muppet Show." Thus, she's slammed back into unwittingly ambiguous territory. But her effort and attention to detail are both top-notch, which means many viewers (along with Chang, surprisingly) naturally recognize her as Glinda the Good Witch from "The Wizard of Oz."

9. Pierce as the Beastmaster

Pierce's one-of-a-kind Beastmaster costume, from the 1982 cult classic "The Beastmaster," easily earns a spot on our top 10. Did the wealthy Pierce have it custom-made, out of devotion to a movie hardly anyone remembers? Has he just been saving it for 30 years? Either way, it's a standout costume in "Introduction to Statistics," even before he starts tripping on mystery drugs and yelling at the fake falcon on his arm. Major points for originality, recognizable obscurity, and his (inadvertent) commitment to the cheesily mystical spirit of the film.

8. Abed as Batman

Initially, Abed's Batman costume from "Introduction to Statistics" doesn't seem worth writing home about. Although it is more detailed than most store-bought superhero numbers, Batman is pretty low-hanging fruit as far as Halloween costumes are concerned. But in a performance for the ages, Abed fully commits to the gravelly, portentous, over-the-top voice used by Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy. This easily elevates the costume to the top 10. Few things are funnier than Abed's growling voice, commenting on the snack table: "Chex Mix, pretzels, baby carrots ... predictable but appetizing!"

7. Jeff and Dean Pelton as a boxer and ring girl

At long last, Jeff Winger finds the Halloween spirit in "Paranormal Parentage." After years of donning low-effort ensembles that barely count as costumes, he goes all-out (for him, anyway) as a boxer. Originally, he thinks Annie is going to be his "ring girl," but she badly misinterprets his text.  Have no fear, Jeff: Dean Pelton is here to pick up the slack in a bikini top and a blond wig. It might not be what Jeff planned, but it's a well-executed costume all the same. And hey, it gives him an excuse to be shirtless all night, which he (and Dean Pelton) always appreciates.

6. Britta as a squirrel

Britta's squirrel costume, seen in "Introduction to Statistics," is by far her most iconic Halloween look. It appears to be homemade, unlike her later choices, and is entirely adorable to boot. Not only that, it allows her to grandstand on patriarchal expectations regarding women's Halloween costumes. You don't see a ton of squirrel costumes every Halloween either, making this a unique look. All these factors, plus the effort expended by toting the tail around all night, help this costume earn a choice spot on the countdown.

5. Troy and Abed as Calvin and Hobbes

Abed and Troy dazzle in "Paranormal Parentage" with their joint Calvin and Hobbes costume. In addition to being a pitch-perfect choice for these two dreamers, it also has to be homemade: "Calvin and Hobbes" creator Bill Watterson is famously against licensing his strip for any purpose (via The Comics Journal). We can't help but wonder, if Abed and Troy were real people, would he make an exception for them? Few characters in all of television embody the strip's themes of friendship and imagination so perfectly.

4. Annie as Samara from The Ring

Even though this costume is born out of a misunderstanding — Jeff, dressed a boxer, wants Annie to go as his "ring girl" — Annie's "Paranormal Parentage" look is a classic. As Samara, the legendarily terrifying girl from "The Ring," she also manages to scare a room full of people, something no other costume on this countdown accomplishes. It's not only completely accurate, she even nails the herky-jerky way Samara crawls forward when she first appears. All in all, it's a great costume, great performance, and a great reference to a classic horror film.

3. Troy as Eddie Murphy

We might be indulging in a little meta-textual favoritism by putting this costume so high on the list, but Troy dressing up as Eddie Murphy in his 1983 "Delirious" TV special is just too perfect to resist. Troy's actor, the dazzlingly multitalented Donald Glover, has become such a superstar, it just feels perfect to see him in the outfit that helped turn Eddie Murphy into one. But it's also a very impressive costume for Troy Barnes, circa Season 1, to pull off. An immediately recognizable look that only takes a red jacket, red pants, a necklace, and a drawn-on mustache, it's simple, wearable, and distinctive. 

2. Dean Pelton as Lady Gaga

We have one minor complaint about Dean Pelton's Lady Gaga costume, seen in "Epidemiology": He doesn't lean all the way into it by including any Lady Gaga music on his Halloween playlist, which consists of ABBA songs and personal voice memos. Still, his hair, makeup, jacket, and occasional "P-P-P-Pokerface" references are all flawless. It's truly great to see Dean Pelton bring his unique skillset to bear on the most sartorial of holidays. Unfortunately, his poor decision making does lead to a zombie outbreak. Eventually, everyone's memory of the entire evening is wiped, but we'll remember this as a costume for the ages.

1. Troy and Abed as Ripley and a Xenomorph

Even though Troy bails on it mere minutes into "Epidemiology," this joint "Alien" costume is spectacular enough to earn Abed and Troy the top spot on our countdown. Troy is dressed as Ripley in the Power Loader exoskeleton, while Abed is the movie's titular Xenomorph. Admirably handmade and truly elaborate, these costumes are simultaneously well-known icons of pop culture, and get-ups that haven't been done to death — especially not as a dual costume, which allows Troy and Abed to stage elaborate fights. In a friendship defined by make-believe, this might just be the most memorable coordinated look Troy and Abed ever don.