TMcBee’s Top 10 Animated Halloween Specials

     It’s almost that time of year where all the little kiddies are ready to dress up in spooky costumes (or not) and go out trick or treating. Since I am too old to go out trick or treating, I decided to celebrate Halloween by writing a top 10 countdown of my favourite animated Halloween segments and episodes.

     For this specific list, I’ll be choosing one Halloween episode or short per series. And most importantly, these choices are based on my opinion, so please don’t terrify me with ghastly uproars if your favourite Halloween specials aren’t on the list. Remember, this is my opinion list and not yours.

     So gather around boils and ghouls as I list down my Top 10 Animated Halloween Specials. Now let’s begins with number 10.

10. The Duxorist – Daffy Duck

 The Looney Tunes had some short features with spooky themes to their cartoons. Daffy Duck’s The Duxorist was first an exclusive to the 1987 film Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters, but became a short cartoon a year later.

Daffy Duck at his paranormal occupation receives a call from a lady duck who needs him to investigate “her kitchen”, though she is actually possessed by paranormal beings. Daffy investigates the client’s house and wooing the attractive owner, but later sees her transforming back and forth into a demonic monster. Daffy tries to figure out a way to get the ghostly being (or possibly beings) out of the client’s body.

The Duxorist is not my favourite Looney Tunes cartoon of all time, but for a cartoon to be played around Halloween time is something I can definitely jump to. Even if the animation and writing quality of the cartoon isn’t as rich as Looney Tunes in the 1950’s, but it’s an enjoyable short to watch with some really funny moments, especially from the female duck that’s being possessed. Who can’t possibly forget about THIS moment from the cartoon?

Makes me laugh every time.

9. Garfield’s Halloween Adventure – Garfield

Garfield was a TV series I would watch a lot as a kid, but missing out on the 1985 episode Garfield’s Halloween Adventure and watching it many years later made me officially like this Halloween special.

Garfield is excited for Halloween and cannot wait to get so much “Candy, candy, candy, candy” as he tends to say a lot in this cartoon. He goes trick or treating with his pal Odie, but extends their night by entering into a haunted house on a lonely island. They encounter with an old man near the fire place who tells them about a curse that the two will get, which makes Garfield and Odie have one frighting night to remember.

What I really like about Garfield’s Halloween Adventure was the atmosphere. I seem to enjoy the sketchy, chalky animations in the Garfield TV specials and seeing those effects on the ghost pirates in the climatic act were quite captivating. It definitely pulls off an eerie mood in the visuals well and gets better near the end, though the first half of the special does slow things down with the use of  jazzy songs sung by Garfield. The songs were catchy, but singing and Halloween feels like those two things that commonly don’t mix well.

8. Sugar Frosted Frights – Rocko’s Modern Life

Rocko’s Modern Life is possibly one of the better shows I watched on Nickelodeon. Seeing the segment Sugar Frosted Frights from its Halloween episode for the first time was one random but hysterical cartoon for this holiday.

Rocko and Heffer goes trick or treating and invites Philbert to join them on Halloween night. Unfortunately, Philbert never liked nor experienced Halloween due to his aunt’s words of her hatred for the holiday. Rocko and Heffer encourages Philbert to go out and get candy with them, but that doesn’t seem to go too well when Philbert goes on a hyperactive sugar rampage after taking a bite of one piece of candy .

 Parodic references in a cartoon can be a hit or miss depending on their presentations, but the ones shown in Sugar Frosted Frights from Rocko’s Modern Life were mashed up with the plot incredibly well. There were ones that fitted the Halloween spirit like The Twilight Zone and Ichabod Crane, while others were  pretty obscure like A Christmas Carol and even “A Night on Bald Mountain” from Fantasia. As highly great this Halloween special was, I didn’t find it as memorable as other Halloween cartoons that are placed higher on the list. Now, would you kindly “give me the bowl”?

7. Draculee Draculaa – Animaniacs

 Animaniacs had a few short segments that were originally aired close to Halloween or even related to Halloween. The cartoon segment Draculee Draculaa that aired in 1993 was a moment from the show I highly remembered and grew fond of.

Yakko, Wakko and Dot travels underground to look for a place called Pennsylvania. They stop their search and head to a haunted house in Transylvania, where Dracula (voiced by Dan Castellenta) reside. Dracula gets annoyed by the Warner Kids but he decides to let them stay for the night because of Dot’s neck. Dracula plots a scheme to get Dot’s blood, but that backfires when the Warner Kids unexpectedly annoy him in so many ways.

Other than the animations looking splendidly incredible, Draculee Draculaa contained many Looney Tunes references and also poked fun of haunted house cliches that holds up pretty well today. Plus the jokes Yakko had for this cartoon were pretty hysterical, especially when he asked Dracula if he used to “teach math on Sesame Street”. Though I was expecting a better way for Dracula to escape from the Warners in the third act, but this cartoon still provided fun references and humour to savour on… or “suck” on. Well that wasn’t a good way to end this spot.

6. Coffins and Cradles – Home Movies

You know when some surprising dilemma happens right on a holiday like Christmas, Halloween or Easter? Well here’s a watchable Halloween special that displays that kind of plot device in Coffins and Cradles from Home Movies.

Brendan and his mom, along with Melissa and Jason, end up in the hospital on Halloween night when Brendan’s Dad’s  wife Linda is having her baby. Meanwhile, Coach McGuirk spends time with an old friend name Stephanie, though they both end up in the same hospital that Brendan is at on Halloween night after Coach McQuirk recieves a heart attack. It’s the episode where many subplots end up in the same location!

The plot ideas in Coffins and Cradles looks like something that has been done before in films, but somehow it was done so well by having a Life and Death theme in the main plot of the episode (Linda giving birth, Coack McGuirk’s near death experience). The running gags and minor subplots were  hysterical to watch, like Jason quitting his candy addiction or Mr.Lynch’s impersonations of a kitty cat. I do have to be honest that the episode started a bit slow for me, but by the time the scenes at the hospital began, the episode became entertaining, especially near the end…

VIDEO SPOILERS AHEAD

VIDEO SPOILERS END

5. Bloooo – Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends

 

Foster’s Home For Imagination Friends was one of those cartoons from the early 2000’s that got me to appreciate children animated programming again. The shows’ Halloween episode Bloooo got me to like the episode and the TV series.

Mac and Bloo have caught a cold from playing in the rain. After Frankie takes Mac home through the rain, Bloo heads up to bed early from his obnoxious cold. Wilt, Coco and Eduardo watches a spooky ghost movie, but after when the film was done, they get spooked by a pale looking Bloo and mistake him as a ghost. Meanwhile, Frankie is locked from the mansion and tries to get inside, but she gets the shivers as she believes that someone is watching her.

Other than Bloooo making me like Foster’s Home For Imagination Friends, this episode really amazed me with its running gags, direction of animations and consistent presentation. Some viewers might get thrown off by the hooky acting in some parts, but I think it was done on purpose to poke fun of the cheesy ghost cliches that surrounds the main plot. But most importantly, I adore the atmosphere in this entire episode, from the dark shadows casted on the interior purple walls to the rainy weather Frankie is stuck in. It’s a silly but one engaging episode to watch on Halloween.               

4. Hilloween – King of the Hill

 Hardcore Catholic or Christian enthusiasts have always despised Halloween for being the holiday of the devil and the episode Hilloween from King of the Hill really displays a realistic take on what would happen if Christianity stopped Halloween in America.

Hank Hill and his pals are working on a haunted fun house at Bobby’s school for Halloween night. Meanwhile, Luanne goes to a bible study listening to its main spoke leader Junie Harper on her negative words of Halloween. Harper takes bigger demands when she threatens the school to cancel the haunted house and gets the City Council to cancel Halloween. Hank does whatever he can to get the holiday he loves to celebrate back to his hometown.

The way I see Hilloween from King of the Hill is an episode that really loves Halloween and will not let haters ruin people’s fun of this holiday. But what I really like about this Halloween episode is the controversy theme of Christianity versus the community. Junie Harper wants to ban Halloween while Hank Hill wants to continue celebrating the holiday. It’s pulls a realistic take of the conscious battle so perfectly that Harper and Hill end up dressing like the Angel and Devil on Halloween night. An episode that supports Halloween so dearly really deserves to be in the top 5.

3. Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery – South Park

South Park isn’t strong with its Halloween specials, though there was one Halloween episode that was hysterically enjoyable to watch. Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery from season 3 is by far the best Halloween special from South Park that I’ve ever seen.

South Park holds their year of Halloween at the docks and the metal band Korn are invited to perform. Unfortunately, Pirate Ghosts (or Ghost Pirates) come to South Park bringing chaos to the town, which leads the towns people to believe Father Maxi’s words that the band Korn are to blame of this. Korn, along with the boys and Cartman’s Antonio Banderas love doll are on a case to solve this groovy Pirate Ghost (or Ghost Pirate) mystery.

Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery is that South Park episode that throws many things that doesn’t make sense, but works well for this Halloween episode. Moments like the boys’ idea to scare the fifth graders, Cartman’s preparations for Christmas and the cemetery watchers believing necrophiliacs are roaming South Park were shockingly funny, quite gross and entertaining to boot. But the greatest highlight for me was the Scooby-Doo theme that presented Korn and I think the band themselves did a swell performance in keeping that consistency through the episode.

2. Lonesome Ghosts – Disney Cartoon Classics

Disney had many short cartoons and specials that showed the Halloween spirit with charm and a bit of fright. It was tough to choose one from Disney, but the 1937 cartoon Lonesome Ghost starring Mickey, Donald and Goofy always reminds me of Halloween.

A group of ghosts in a lonesome manor are bored and find that scaring is no fun anymore. One ghost has found some luck to scare more people as he witness a newspaper ad of ghost exterminators. The ghosts decides to call the company and invites the Acme Ghost Exterminators, who are Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy, to come over and so they can have a fun time spooking the living daylights out of these three.

I find it strange that Lonesome Ghosts was first released on Christmas Eve, but I remember seeing this Disney cartoon a lot near Halloween and I still think it’s a great cartoon. I really enjoy Lonesome Ghosts for its eerie ambience in the backdrops and animations that made the scenes really memorable. Mickey’s and Donald’s parts in encountering with the ghosts were fun to watch, but Goofy’s part was by far the most entertaining, especially one line he says that may have made those three the original Ghostbusters. Don’t believe me, check the video below from DTV’s Monster Hits.

Video contains Scenes of Spoilers

End of Spoilers

1. The Treehouse of Horror (I-VIII) – The Simpsons

Okay, The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror episodes were an obvious choice to be number one on this countdown, but for all the hard work and creativity that was put into the writing for these Halloween specials really deserves to be number one.

Ever since I was a kid, The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror was a TV tradition to watch on Halloween and I still continue this TV tradition today. Though the Treehouse of Horror in the newer seasons are okay to watch, but the ones from episodes I to VIII are my favourite in terms of comedy, writing and expressing an eerie vibe to these Halloween specials. I also like how the credits are presented with spooky, ghoulish names for the people who worked in production on these episodes. It truly shows that the creators, producers, animators and writers really love showing their Halloween spirit.

It’s really hard to just to choose one segment or episode from The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror as it holds so many classic moments, like Homer spending a day in Hell when he sold his soul to Devil Flanders or The Simpsons family defending themselves from zombies that Bart accidentally placed a curse on. These specific Halloween episodes from The Simpsons are a combination of humour and scary at its finest. Now to end  this spooky countdown, here are some video clips that displays the best moments from my favourite Treehouse of Horror episodes. Enjoy!

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