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Halloween Exists In Star Trek, But It's Complicated


Active member
Sep 25, 2023
The celebration of Halloween in Star Trek is inconsistent, but some Starfleet officers keep up with the spooky Earth holiday.

  • In the future depicted in Star Trek, not all civilizations and cultures celebrate Halloween, and many holidays from Earth's present have fallen out of favor by the 23rd and 24th centuries.
  • While some Star Trek episodes have Halloween themes and references, it is not a widely acknowledged holiday within Starfleet or the Federation.
  • However, Star Trek has featured many creepy and unsettling episodes perfect for Halloween viewing, showcasing the franchise's embrace of the horror genre. Some Starfleet officers still keep Halloween traditions alive even in the 24th century.
Some people in Star Trek's future celebrate Halloween, but others have never even heard of the spooky holiday. Because of the many different civilizations and cultures represented within the United Federation of Planets, it would be impossible for Starfleet to acknowledge every holiday. By the 23rd and 24th centuries, many of the holidays celebrated on Earth today seem to have fallen out of favor. While individual officers could likely choose to celebrate holidays if they wished, very few of them are celebrated by all of Starfleet or all of the Federation.

Although some starships celebrate holidays like First Contact Day and Captain Picard Day, they do not often mention classic holidays like Halloween or Christmas. Star Trek: The Original Series did air a Halloween-themed episode in October of 1967, (season 2's "Catspaw") in which Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the Enterprise crew find themselves on a mysterious and spooky planet. Although Kirk knows of Halloween, it does not appear to be a holiday that is widely celebrated by the humans of the 23rd century.

In Star Trek: The Original Series season 2, episode 7, "Catspaw," Kirk, Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) encounter foggy landscapes, medieval castles, creepy witches, skeletons, and black cats. In response to all of this, Captain Kirk remarks that it seems like someone is "playing an elaborate trick-or-treat" on them. Spock does not understand the phrase, but McCoy agrees that the whole scenario feels reminiscent of Halloween. While there is no indication that Kirk and the Enterprise crew celebrate Halloween, the humans aboard are still familiar with the holiday and the imagery associated with it.

In the 24th century, however, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) seems unaware of Halloween. In Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1, episode 12, "The Big Goodbye," Picard enters a 1940s detective story holodeck program wearing his Starfleet uniform. One of the holodeck characters remarks that Picard looks like he's "ready for Halloween," but Picard appears to be unfamiliar with the holiday. This could be because Picard himself never celebrated Halloween growing up and simply never learned about it. Like with many things, various holidays are celebrated with different levels of enthusiasm in different eras and locations.

When Mariner and Boimler time travel and come aboard the 23rd-century USS Enterprise of Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), Mariner tells Pike that Boimler once dressed up as him for Halloween. Captain Pike does not comment about his own Halloween celebrations, but he appears to be familiar with the holiday. There does not seem to be any specific timeline for when Halloween is or is not celebrated. Some people and perhaps even entire ships could choose to celebrate Halloween, but it is not a widely acknowledged holiday and not everyone is familiar with it.

Since TOS's "Catspaw," there have been many unsettling or downright scary Star Trek episodes that are perfect for Halloween. Various alien entities have been known to mess with the minds of Starfleet officers, causing them to question their own sanity, such as in TNG's "Night Terrors" or "Frame of Mind." Star Trek: Strange New Worlds introduced a more frightening updated version of the Gorn in season 1, episode 9, "All Those Who Wander," borrowing elements from the classic sci-fi horror film, Alien. Star Trek: Enterprise even had an episode that featured zombie Vulcans (season 3, episode 5, "Impulse"), and Star Trek: Voyager had an episode with creepy clowns (season 2, episode 23, "The Thaw").

Although not specifically related to Halloween, Starfleet officers often dress up in various costumes and outfits, either to visit historical periods on the holodeck or to blend in with local cultures. While Halloween may not be widely celebrated by those in Starfleet or the Federation, some of the traditions associated with the holiday live on. Star Trek has embraced the horror genre many times over the course of its long history, and some Starfleet officers continue to keep Halloween alive even in the 24th century. Trick or Treat!