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October 27, 2022

'Abbott Elementary' Halloween episode was full of pop culture references – and the internet loved it

Quinta Brunson's character dressed as Sixers star James Harden in an episode that featured a student candy thief on the loose

TV Abbott Elementary
Abbott Elementary Halloween episode Gilles Mingasson/ABC

Quinta Brunson's character, Janine Teagues, dressed as Sixers star James Harden during the highly anticipated Halloween-themed episode of "Abbott Elementary," which featured lots of laughs and pop culture references.

Many of the most beloved sitcoms have holiday-themed episodes, and a certain fan favorite mockumentary set in a Philadelphia public school has finally embarked on that rite of passage during its second season.

A highly anticipated Halloween episode of "Abbott Elementary" aired Wednesday night, sending the internet into a frenzy over pop culture related costumes and endless laughs. 

MORE: Ryan Long makes guest appearance on 'Celebrity Jeopardy!' to give clues about Philly

The special episode of the Emmy-winning show saw the teachers and students of Abbott Elementary dressed up for Halloween parties at school. The situation quickly devolved into chaos when one student – dressed as Marvel supervillain Thanos – stole bags of candy to pass out to his peers.

Photos teasing the cast's costumes were released a few weeks back, and creator Quinta Brunson made waves online for her character Janine Teague's rendition of a Philly sports star. Sixers guard James Harden posted a photo of Brunson in costume, including a Sixers jersey and the iconic beard, with a laughing face to show his appreciation of the look.

During the episode, Janine even emulated Harden's mannerisms during an interview.

Multiple stars of the show dressed up as Marvel characters, including sassy principal Ava Coleman (Janelle James) who dressed as X-Men's Storm – white contacts and all.

No-nonsense second grade teacher Melissa Schemmenti, played by Lisa Ann Walters, chose a vintage-inspired Wanda Maximoff costume based on an episode of the hit series "WandaVision."

Custodian Mr. Johnson, played by William Stanford Davis, unwittingly joined the fray when his costume was mistaken for another Marvel character. He was supposed to be Philadelphia-native rapper Lil Uzi Vert, who has a giant diamond face piercing, but other characters believed the jewel to be the Mind Stone implanted in superhero Vision's forehead.

With Wanda, Vision and Thanos all represented, Vision's death in "Infinity War" was inadvertently replicated.

Interestingly enough given all the Marvel references, Brunson herself was at the premiere of the studio's newest film "Wakanda Forever" while the "Abbott Elementary" episode aired on the West Coast. 

Other teachers' costumes included Gregory Eddie (Tyler James Williams) as pilot Sully Sullenberger, Barbara Howard (Sheryl Lee Ralph) as a bumblebee, and Jacob Hill (Chris Perfetti) as "wage theft," although he was mistaken for the McDonald's "Hamburglar" mascot.

The child actors were scene-stealing as students once again, with "Baby Thanos" wrongly referencing the inspiration for his costume by exclaiming, "I... am... inedible!" Another student dressed as Mr. Johnson, mini trashcan included, figured out the candy thief mystery and saved the school from sugar-induced hysteria.

There was also plenty of content for those who "ship" Janine and Gregory, two characters embroiled in a flirty will-they-won't-they relationship. Janine changes into a glamorous Marilyn Monroe costume to go to a friend's party, which was a big step for her considering she hadn't socialized much outside of work since her breakup with longtime boyfriend Tariq. Gregory visibly takes notice of the "new" Janine.

Those waiting on the edge of their seats for more updates on Janine's and Gregory's relationship, holiday episodes, Philly references, and, of course, laughs, can check out "Abbott Elementary" when it airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC and streams on Hulu.

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