M*A*S*H episode
“Trick or Treatment”
MASH episode 11x2 - Trick or Treatment - Halloween Party
Margaret, Potter, B.J. and Hawkeye decked out in costume for Halloween Party at the O'Club in "Trick or Treatment".
Season 11, Episode # 2
Number (#242) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) George Wendt
Richard Lineback
Andrew Dice Clay
James Carroll
Herman Poppe
R.J. Miller
Arnold F. Turner
Arlee Reed
Production code: 9-B01
Writer(s) Larry Balmagia
Director Charles S. Dubin
Original airdate November 1, 1982
IMDb logo IMDB Trick or Treatment
Episode chronology
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"Hey, Look Me Over"
(Season 11 premiere)
"Foreign Affairs"

List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Trick or Treatment is the 242nd episode of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the second episode of Season 11 of the series. Written by Dennis Koenig, and directed by Charles S. Dubin, it originally aired on November 1, 1982, with a repeat on May 16, 1983.


It's time for the annual 4077th Halloween party. Hawkeye is dressed as Superman, B.J. is a clown, Margaret is a geisha girl, Colonel Potter is a cowboy, and Klinger is Al Capone. But it's not much of a party for the surgeons when unexpected wounded guests constantly show up by the bushel; Charles tries to help a slovenly marine who has a billiard ball stuck in his mouth; Father Mulcahy inadvertently saves a man's life when he is presumed dead.

Full episode summaryEdit

It's Halloween night at the 4077th, and a battalion of visiting Marines are getting hammered over at Rosie's Bar. Hawkeye, B.J., Col. Potter, Margaret, and Klinger are all in costume, planning to head over to the party.

Winchester, wanting nothing to do with any Halloween celebration, has volunteered to be on duty in Post Op. He ends up with first patient almost immediately--a Private LaRoche, who Charles sarcastically refers to as "Private Mosconi" (George Wendt) who stuck a pool ball in his mouth as a gag, but now can't get it back out. Winchester examines him, torturing the poor guy by pretending not to even notice the ball jutting out of his jaw. Before everyone can make the party, wounded arrive, including one young soldier already toe-tagged. There's so many patients that the doctors don't have time to examine the dead young man closely, so his body is put off to the side while they tend to the living.

During the session in OR, each of the doctors tell ghost stories. Everyone gets spooked, except for Winchester, who doesn't believe any of it.

More wounded arrive, keeping the doctors busy. We see the young dead solider laying on the compound. Except...he's not quite dead. We see his hand move slightly, then stop again. But no one notices.

Meanwhile, B.J. has to tend to one the Marines, a drunken Corporal Hrabosky (Andrew Dice Clay), who got injured partying offbase after leaving Rosie's, challenged a few drunken Marine buddies to a motorbike race, where he crashed into a chicken coop. Hawkeye, after operating on another soldier, Private Scala (Richard Lineback, in a second and final series guest appearance), has to try to console and persuade the grieving young man to eat. Scala has been starving himself out of guilt over going back to the platoon chow line for seconds of a special dinner, then returning to his friends to find them all dead from a surprise artillery attack.

Graves Registration arrives, looking for the dead soldier. They load him into their truck, then head to the mess tent for coffee.

At the end of the night, all the wounded have been taken care of. Father Mulcahy returns from a trip to the orphanage, and he runs into Hawkeye, who tells him how busy they were. Father Mulcahy asks if there were any casualties, and the only one was the young man in the truck. Just before Graves Registration drives off, Father Mulcahy stops them, wanting to give the man last rites. He climbs into the truck, and begins the ritual--but stops short, becoming shocked to see a tear falling from the man's eye. He quickly calls out for Hawkeye.

Later, in Post Op, all the doctors huddle around the young man, on his way to recovery now that he's been tended to. B.J. remarks this is the first time being "dead" wasn't terminal, and Hawkeye suggests, "This is definitely one ghost story nobody's gonna top."

Later that night, as the surgeons are sleeping off the night's work in the Swamp, the lights and tent flap over Charles' bed begin to sway by themselves. They stop when he awakes, but start up again when he tries to go back to sleep. What he doesn't see is the rope attached to them--the other end of which is being gently tugged by B.J., as he and Hawkeye secretly giggle to one another at Charles' terror.

Trivia Edit

  • This Halloween-themed episode interestingly aired on the day after Halloween, November 1, 1982, an All Saints' Day. Halloween fell on a Sunday in 1982, and M*A*S*H aired on CBS Monday nights.
  • Note: Heartbreak Ridge actually took place in September/October 1951.
  • The story of a soldier starving himself out of grief is based very loosely on a report of a US Army officer who stated that, while having Thanksgiving dinner in the Hürtgen Forest in November 1944, he was shelled by the Germans; and that for years afterward, he couldn't eat turkey at Thanksgiving without feeling sick first. Of course, this is not the first time MASH 4077 took another incident from a different war and twisted the facts out of sequence, such as in "A Full Rich Day" nor would it be the last, as in "Foreign Affairs".
  • At the time this episode aired, George Wendt (Private LaRoche) simultaneously co-starred as Norm Peterson on rival NBC's hit sitcom, Cheers, which had just premiered that same season.
  • There are several medical conditions that could render a patient in a state such as the "dead" soldier, especially in wartime, where he would be alive and even conscious, but unable to make others aware of it. Being Catholic, the solider apparently heard Father Mulcahy giving him the last rites, and knowing what was going on, began to weep--which ended up saving his life.

Recurring/Guest castEdit