It's Halloween and the Dunphys are ready to make it one to remember. At least, that's what Claire hopes. While her plans may not have gone off quite the way she planned (but do they ever?), the episode was one of the more noteworthy ones this season, filled with great character-specific moments. Claire was focused on putting together a seamless House of Horrors experience, clinging to the one holiday she still has control over (she notes that they now have fireworks at Christmas due to Colombian tradition and that "the gays took over Thanksgiving" with their trendy tandoori turkey recipes).
Phil is not much help during this process, since he's thrown off by the separation of their neighbors, Jerry and Judy. He spends much of the episode worried about his marriage, attempting to be "sexy and spontaneous" to avoid what may have doomed Jerry's relationship, which makes for some priceless moments between him and Claire. Eventually the families come together and pull off the dream Halloween Claire wanted, but not before learning a few lessons first:
Unless there is an official memo in your inbox specifically stating that you should show up to work in a costume, don't show up in a costume. Mitch overhears two co-workers discussing their Halloween ensembles and, to his delight, is assured that his new office is not as conservative about his favorite holiday. "It's epic, bro," his colleague assures him. "Bro" should have been a sign, because as soon as he pulls into the work parking lot in his full-blown Spidey suit, he sees that they're the only two people in costume. Determined to avoid the same snickers and label of "douche" by the other employees, he throws on a suit over his costume, allowing him to walk into the office with just a bit of dignity. His attempt at changing out of the costume is one we should have seen coming the moment we realized he was Spider-Man.
Sometimes it's better not to correct someone's English, especially if you're dealing with a hot-blooded Colombian woman. Gloria's personal interpretation of English idioms has always been a part of her charm, but this week she begins to question why Manny has to repeat everything she says. She asks Jay to tell her what phrases she mixes up, but shouldn't he know by now that some people can't handle the truth?
Is there anything more real than not being able to talk about something but bringing it up every chance you get? Cam won't stop talking about how Halloween is such a traumatic day for him, but insists it's too painful to talk about—a point Claire later calls him out on. All Claire wants is to be able to celebrate her favorite holiday with a spooky setup to scare some kiddies. People need to be in the right frame of mind to pull off a haunted House of Horrors. But you can't have a girl wishing she were studying in a cage, a father forgetting every fog and thunder cue, another girl tying to be a sexy Mother Theresa, a Colombian "bruja" with a bizarre American accent, and a grown-man spilling his childhood story of wetting his pants thereby ruining Halloween forever and expect that to translate into something scary. Not the Halloween-type of scary, anyway...
If you have a 15 year-old girl, it is likely that you will be having this conversation on Sunday:
You can just see the wheels in motion in Haley's head as Claire tell her to wear one of her old costumes. Her second attempt (a sexy nurse outfit) elicits a priceless "What the hell is that??" from Claire. "What? You told me to put on an old costume," Haley says. "Not from when you were eight! Are you trying to get candy or Japanese businessmen?" Claire asks. Her third try proves that kids these days will find a way to skank up any costume—including a saintly old nun.