September 20, 2010 at 11:54 PM EDT

Image Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBCSomething wicked this way comes—and by this way we mean at Greendale Community College, and by something we mean zombies. It’s all going down on Community‘s annual Halloween episode—the plot of which series creator Dan Harmon is trying desperately to keep under wraps.

“Knowing too much about this particular plot would ruin it, but I promise it’s an awesome, one-off crazy conceptual episode with plot points and effects that are more familiar to horror film fans than our show’s fans,” Harmon revealed last Friday on the Community set. (As he was talking, a parade of costumed and bloodied extras marched through GCC’s hallowed halls, which were decked out with fake bats, chains, smoke machines, and various dismembered body parts.) “We’re going over schedule and over budget to get it right,” he adds. “I’ve had to promise to do a few what I call ‘Bottle Episodes,’ where the group never leaves the library, to make up for it.”

Luckily, we were able to scare up a few more details from Joel McHale, whose character Jeff Winger dresses up as David Beckham. “Last year, Annie was throwing a party and spent the episode trying to get everyone involved and we ended [up] at the party. This year, the group starts at the party, some circumstances beyond their control happen, and they start behaving badly to put it mildly. Like every crazy thing that goes down at Greendale, there is a perfectly legitimate explanation.”

Case in point: There’s a very good reason why Abed is dressed as an alien and Troy is Sigourney Weaver in the yellow robot suit. ” Our costumes are a metaphor for us,” said Donald Glover. “The robot is mechanical and cold like Abed, and Alien is strange and works all on instinct like Troy.”

Other costumes include Pierce’s Captain Kirk, Annie’s Little Red Riding Hood, Britta’s tyrannosaurus rex, and Shirley’s Glenda the Good Witch/Barbie/Miss Piggy confection. “Shirley has a problem with effectively presenting a costume in a way that the masses would understand,” said her alter ego Yvette Nicole Brown.

Meanwhile, Senor—er student—Chang (Ken Jeong) purposely picked a confusing figure skater costume complete with a turquoise ruffled leotard and thong, the latter of which serves as “a racist flytrap” of sorts. “He keeps asking people to guess who he is, and when they guess Michelle Kwan or Kristy Yamaguchi, he calls them racist and says he’s Peggy Fleming,” explained Jeong. “He was a matador last year and this is an improvement. The whole episode is better. It’s darker, deeper, and funnier. It is the Empire Strikes Back to last year’s Star Wars.” (Carrie Bell)

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