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"Open House of Horrors" is the fifth episode of the fourth season of the American sitcom Modern Family, and the series' 77th episode overall. It aired October 24, 2012. The episode was written by Elaine Ko and directed by Jim Bagdonas.

"Open House of Horrors"
Modern Family episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 5
Directed by Jim Bagdonas
Written by Elaine Ko
Production code 4ARG06
Original air date October 24, 2012
Guest appearance(s)
  • Colin Hanlon (Steven)
  • Rodney To (Sam)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Butler's Escape"
Next →
"Yard Sale"
List of Modern Family episodes



After last year's extreme Halloween decoration and tricks that led to a man almost having a heart attack, the neighbors asked Claire (Julie Bowen) to keep her celebration kid-friendly this time. Claire agrees to that but she does not seem to have fun since even though she kept everything kid-friendly, none of the neighborhood kids come to her home for "trick or treat" because they are afraid.

Phil (Ty Burrell) decides to work and holds an open house on Halloween. Before leaving their house he says to Claire that she is not scary. Claire takes that personally and she decides to prove him wrong. She and the kids go to the house where Phil is and they try to scare him.

Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) due to the day, they decide to throw a costume party and to also celebrate Cam's new physique. But there is a mistake on their costume orders and Cam's matador costume comes in Mitch's size and Mitch's bull costume in Cam's size. Of course Cam is worried that no one is going to notice that he lost weight in that costume.

Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) has an obsession with princesses' costumes. Cam is wondering where is that coming from. The reason of that obsession is because of something Mitch told her a while ago...that her mother is a real princess. Mitch was hoping that Lily would forget about it but she did not and now he is trying to hide it from Cam since they agreed that both would talk to her about her mom and tell her the truth. The reason though does not stay secret for long and all three of them have a talk about it and everything settles down.

Manny (Rico Rodriguez) accidentally sets the fire alarm at school and that leads everyone to miss the test and him to the principal's office. The cool kids of the school appreciate what he did and they thank him. Manny misjudges their behavior and he tries to hang out with them.

Gloria's (Sofia Vergara) hormones make her more quick-tempered than usual but she doesn't realize that. When Jay (Ed O'Neill) and Manny point that out, Jay tells her that it is because she is pregnant and that is normal but she takes it as the baby is angry. Jay calms her down by saying that the baby is not angry and that she is going to be a great mother.



In its original American broadcast, "Open House of Horrors" was watched by 12.52 million; up 0.24  from the previous episode.[1]


"Open House of Horrors" received positive reviews.

Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club gave a B grade to the episode saying: "One of the real pleasures of Halloween episodes throughout television history is how elaborate the costuming and decorations are. It’s like peeking into what Halloween could be if we all had access to special effects departments and unlimited wardrobe resources. And Claire’s exploding chest effect, enhanced with copious fake blood pouring out of her mouth, is astounding even by those elevated standards."[2]

Leigh Raines of TV Fanatic rated "The Butler's Escape" with a 4/5 stating that this might not have been the best holiday episode for the characters but it still manage to get her laugh. "Not every holiday and not every Modern Family can be a slam dunk. "Open House of Horrors" wasn't the best Dunphy/Pritchett holiday, but it still managed to get in a few laughs."[3]

Dalene Rovenstine of Paste Magazine rated the episode with 8/10. About the scene with Mitch, Cameron and Lily, where the two of them are trying to tell Lily the truth about her mother, she stated: "On a sitcom, telling a kid she’s adopted could go a number of different ways, but I think Modern Family did it right. I could imagine this conversation actually happening between parents and a child. It would have been easy to never address the issue (more jokes about the princess) or to try and be too comedic, but they took this moment to be real and honest. Props."[4]

Michael Adams of 411mania rated the episode with 8/10. "...when it comes to this year's Halloween episode, it wasn't bad at all. It was definitely not better then [sic] it's predecessor, but it's hard to beat the original. I liked that there was 3 different story lines for this episode instead of a big family episode; it gave each family more to do and the ability to highlight their own Halloween. All in all, the episode was worth the year long wait."[5]

Wyner C from Two Cents TV gave a good review to the episode saying that it was a great Halloween episode.[6]

Denise Chang of No White Noise rated the episode with 3/4 saying that the episode "was fairly good but not spectacular. It didn’t quite live up to its full potential but got a good few laughs out of me here and there."[7]

Pollysgotyournumbers of Bitch Stole My Remote gave a good review to the episode stating: "So, I’m just gonna go ahead and call it: this was 2012′s best Hallowe’en themed television show. Was anyone else genuinely scared of Claire’s Beetlejuice-laden plot to show Phil just how scary she can be? Just me? Oh, okay."[8]

Shayelizatrotter from The Comedy Critic gave the episode a B- rate saying that overall the episode was "not necessarily as thrilling as previous Halloween episodes, this year’s was still memorable."[9]


  1. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (October 25, 2012). "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'The Middle', 'Guys With Kids', 'Criminal Minds', & 'Law and Order: SVU' Adjusted Up + World Series Game 1 Final Numbers". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on December 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ Bowman, Donna (October 24, 2012). "Open House of Horrors". The A.V. Club. 
  3. ^ Raines, Leigh (October 24, 2012). "Modern Family Review: A Toned Down Halloween". TV Fanatic. 
  4. ^ Rovenstine, Dalene (October 25, 2012). "Modern Family Review: Open House of Horrors". Paste Magazine. 
  5. ^ Adams, Michael (October 25, 2012). "Modern Family Review - 4.5 'Open House of Horrors'". 411mania. 
  6. ^ Wyner C (October 25, 2012). "Modern Family – Recap & Review – Open House of Horrors". Two Cents TV. 
  7. ^ Chang, Denise (October 26, 2012). "Modern Family 4×05 review: 'Open House of Horrors'". No White Noise. 
  8. ^ Pollysgotyournumbers (October 25, 2012). "Modern Family review – 4×05: 'Open House of Horrors'". Bitch Stole My Remote. 
  9. ^ Shayelizatrotter (October 27, 2012). ""Modern Family" episode review: Open House of Horrors". The Comedy Critic. 

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