In 2011, staff writer Al Jean commented on the episode: "The idea of it to parody EC Comics was really original and kind of shocking for a cartoon on network television. [Executive producer] Jim Brooks said, 'We better have a disclaimer at the beginning of this Halloween show,' so Marge came out and warned people that they were going to see something scary. And the funny thing is it's now very tame by our Halloween standards and by network animation standards." According to M. Keith Booker, author of Drawn to Television, the warning only made the episode more attractive to children. The entire segment was a parody of the opening of Frankenstein (1931). While similar "warnings" were used to open the second and third "Treehouse" episodes, these quickly became a burden to write and there was no warning for the fourth episode. Instead, it had Marge ask Bart to warn people how frightening the show was during his introduction paying homage to Night Gallery (1969). The tradition was revived for The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror V (1994); after that, they were permanently dropped and the writers did not make any attempts at reviving them.
According to the DVD commentary, Kang and Kodos' evil nature would have been revealed with Matt Groening's original intention; that the book's final title reveal would be How to Cook for Forty Humans and Then Eat Them.
In "The Raven", Homer was reading Forgotten Lore, Vol. II. This is a reference to the second line of the poem, in which the narrator is pondering "Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore."
The tombstones at the beginning read from first to last, and left to right, in all caps: Ezekiel Simpson, Ishmael Simpson, Cornelius V. Simpson, Garfield, The Grateful Dead, Casper, the friendly boy, Elvis, Your name here, Paul McCartney, disco, and Violence on TV.
In "Hungry are the Damned," when the Rigellians are measuring the Simpsons' weight, along with Kang, Kodos, and Serak, there is a fourth unnamed Rigellian with them that does not appear for the rest of the episode.
The Indian Burial Ground under the house in "Bad Dream House" contains graves of: Crazy Horse Sitting Bull Mahatma Gandhi The joke here being that Gandhi was Indian as in the Asian country, not as in American Indian. Pocahontas Geronimo Tonto Sacagawea Not So Crazy Horse
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The segment "Hungry Are The Damned" appears to be based on the Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man". In the latter, "To Serve Man" is an alien text that is later found to be a cookbook. Humans are also weighed before being able to board the alien spacecraft.