The Simpsons Halloween Special (Season 2; Oct. 25, 1990)
Amazon; A.V. Club; Disney+; Halloween Specials Wiki; Halloween Wiki; IMDb; Simpsons Wiki; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
I don't think I could have possibly seen this when it first aired, but I did see it sometime in the 90s. That was long before I started reviewing Treehouse episodes, in fact I didn't even have a website. But I'm watching it again in October 2020, on Disney+, so I can finally write a review. Hopefully I'll do the same with all the unreviewed episodes, this month... and even some reviewed ones that could stand to be edited. I also want to finally start rating each year's episode.
Intro: Marge comes out on stage to give a viewer discretion warning. Then we go into the opening theme, which is set in a cemetery and has spooky music, instead of the regular theme. Then there's a framing device for the episode. Homer is just returning home from trick-or-treating, and decides to eavesdrop on Bart and Lisa, who are up in the treehouse, telling scary stories (which will be the various segments of the episode).
Bad Dream House: The Simpsons move into an evil house. Based on The Amityville Horror. It was reasonably amusing.
Hungry Are the Damned: The aliens (Rigellians) Kang and Kodos make their first appearance, along with another Rigellian named Serak (James Earl Jones). The aliens beam the Simpsons up to their flying saucer, feeding them lots of food while en route to Rigel 4. The story is a parody of the Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man. I found it really funny, and the most memorable part of the episode.
The Raven: Lisa didn't find either of Bart's stories scary, so she decides to read Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. (Her narration is soon taken over by James Earl Jones, with Homer doing the spoken parts in the story.) Bart interrupts a lot to criticize the story for not being scary. But it did scare the eavesdropping Homer. This segment is kind of amusing, and I find it a bit more memorable than the first story.
Anyway, the episode is definitely a classic, and important for kicking off a long-running annual tradition. It might not be the best Treehouse of Horror episode ever (though that's open to debate), but it's a good one, and I think it's a very fitting start to the tradition. Though I will say I was a bit surprised nobody's names were spookified in the closing credits. That must have started later....