With Halloween fast approaching and the remainder of the holiday season followed close behind it, now is a perfect time to recap all of the holiday episodes from the lovable gang at MacClarens.
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How I Met Your Mother was a hilarious comedy that has done a decisive job in splitting its fan base over the years, but one thing audiences can assuredly agree on is that HIMYM’s holiday episodes were always looked forward to – whether that holiday was Halloween, Christmas, or Thanksgiving.
16 The Slutty Pumpkin Returns
Katie Holmes’ reveal as The Slutty Pumpkin after a seven year wait was truthfully lackluster in its unveiling, but all that blame can’t be put on her – Season 7 is notorious among HIMYM fans for being one of the worst and the jokes about how Ted and Naomi were misreading each other’s sexual signals was awkward, hard to watch, and wouldn’t have landed with any actress.
15 The Drunk Train
While Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are the most common holidays used in sitcoms, HIMYM was one of the rare shows that attempted lesser-appreciated holidays such as Valentines’ Day. Another season seven episode found Ted and Barney boarding a train of drunks to try and get laid, meanwhile Kevin proposed to Robin but then they broke up when Kevin found out she’d never have children (and didn’t want to adopt).
14 Desperation Day
Another Valentines Day episode (though it did technically take place on February 13, “Desperation Day”) had Barney hanging out with Robin and her coworkers the night before Valentines Day in order to hook up with “desperate” women, while Marshall was held up in Minnesota being unable to cope with reality after the death of his father.
13 Symphony of Illumination
Everybody needs a friend like Ted. The third season seven episode on this list was quite a puzzler for fans as it flip-flopped the show’s premise and portrayed it through the lens of Robin telling her kids the story about how she met their father.
A twist at the end of the episode reveals that Robin is imagining her kids (due to the fact that she finds out she can never have children) and Ted creates a symphony of illumination (room full of Christmas lights) to cheer her up.
12 The Rebound Girl
Season seven cannot catch a break. The Thanksgiving episode of the seventh season had Barney and Ted trying to adopt a baby and raise it as a “couple of bros”, while Robin tried to talk Marshall and Lily out of moving to Long Island and leaving the city. The drama between Robin and Barney paired with the mess of Lily and Marshall possibly moving out of Manhattan made this one quite a yawner.
HIMYM should have just stuck with “slapsgiving” every Thanksgiving and they would have been much better, but the season 6 Turkey Day episode found the gang getting absolutely “blitzed” the night before Thanksgiving, resulting in several problems the next day when trying to assemble dinner (and Ted’s classic Tur-tur-key-key).
10 Little Minnesota
In a rare Robin-Marshall episode, the season 4 Christmas special had everybody’s favorite Canadian tag along with everybody’s favorite Minnesotan to his favorite Viking-themed bar. In classic sitcom fashion, Robin tries to take over the bar from Marshall and he outs (pronounced as oots) her as being from the Great White North and she gets kicked out. They reconcile and Marshall apologizes by bringing her to a Canadian-themed bar instead.
9 Rabbit or Duck
The season 5 Valentines Day special had arguably one of the funniest scenes in the entire HIMYM series when the gang argues about whether or not ducks are better than rabbits. Not only that, the fan-favorite recurring character Ranjit makes an appearance while he drives Barney around the city to sleep with the endless line of women calling his phone. Marshall and Lily try to arrange a marriage for Ted, but in classic Schmosby fashion Ted ruins it at the last moment.
8 The Final Page
Despite appearing in season 8eight (another notably stale HIMYM season) this two-part hour-long Christmas special had fans reminiscing of earlier, better years. Barney brings The Playbook back for one final page and orchestrates ‘The Robin’, a play that ultimately ends with him asking Robin to marry him.
7 The Limo
Again, everybody needs a friend like Ted. In this season one New Year’s Eve episode, Ted decides to use his Christmas bonus to rent a limo for the night for his friends. They drive around NYC looking for the best party to ring in the New Year and the night turns into a disaster. Luckily, the gang salvages the evening and decide to celebrate at midnight together.
6 Belly Full of Turkey
It needs to be said – the Eriksen’s should never be allowed to make salads. HIMYM’s very first Thanksgiving episode had Marshall and Lily fly out to Minnesota to spend the holiday with Marshall’s family, only for Lily to have a panic attack over fear of being pregnant and getting arrested for public urination for peeing on a pregnancy test behind a gas station. Meanwhile, Ted, Robin, and Barney volunteer at a shelter (classic Thanksgiving premise) and then head to a strip club (not so classic).
5 Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap
This season 5 Thanksgiving episode was the sequel to one of the show’s greatest staples – Slapsgiving. In season 2, Barney and Marshall made a bet that resulted in Marshall getting to slap Barney at five random times throughout eternity. This led to Marshall renaming the classic holiday in honor of the slap that he would bestow upon Barney’s face. Audiences got to meet Lily’s dad in this episode, but really, the slap was all they wanted.
4 The Slutty Pumpkin
While the follow-up episode may not have been so great, the very first HIMYM holiday episode introduced the world to the very first erotic vegetable (sorry, Eggplant emoji) when Ted happened upon a slutty pumpkin during a Halloween party.
Unfortunately, Ted loses the woman’s phone number and decides to spend every Halloween wearing the same costume, going to the same party, hoping to run into the girl again.
3 No Tomorrow
Valentines Day and New Year may be the rarer of the sitcom holiday specials, but almost unheard of is the legendary St. Patrick’s Day episode which HIMYM brilliantly pulled off in season 3. Barney’s green suit, Lily and Marshall’s new apartment being crooked, the reveal that the mother was actually at the same party Ted was – this episode had everything and more.
2 How Lily Stole Christmas
Come on, Lily – you were kinda being a Grinch. The season 2 Christmas episode found Ted and Lily at odds with one another when Lily found out that Ted called her a word so bad that the cable-show had to change it to ‘Grinch” (that was the joke). She ends up stealing all of the apartment’s Christmas decorations in revenge, but returns them and apologizes to Ted when Marshall tells her a story about what a great friend Ted was to her.
Obviously one of the greatest moments in HIMYM history was the introduction of ‘Slapsgiving’. When Marshall emailed a link to Barney several weeks earlier that contained a countdown clock to one of his 5 entitled slaps, it left Barney terrified. Due to the drama ruining the holiday, Lily (as Slap-Bet Commissioner) decrees that Marshall can’t slap Barney, only to withdraw her decree later on in the day resulting in Marshall’s hand-print permanently scarring Barney’s cheek. You just got slapped!
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