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Halloween Cartoon Specials Hall of Fame (Part II - Grinch, McDonalds, Rudolph?!)
Matt - 10/31/00

Here's part two of our walk down the cartoons of Halloween hall of fame! We've already covered most of the big ones, but there's some you definitely haven't heard about - or have tried really hard to forget. If you haven't read part one yet, click here.

Halloween Is Grinch Night

First he stole Christmas, and now the Grinch is backtracking, trying to make sure he ruins every fucking holiday out there. Yes, the Grinch is out for blood come this Halloween. In one of the most amazingly ridiculous sequels in history, the Grinch decides that Halloween is too full of cheer to be allowed to transpire. I can only assume that this Halloween followed almost a year after Christmas, so I guess that ultra triple-sized heart was just a temporary thing for the Grinch. Jesus, this guy really was a bastard. I always forgave him for trying to shit all over Christmas...I just figured maybe his daddy left home one Christmas long ago and never came back. But there's no way the guy went through two personal traumas on two seperate holidays. That's like dealing out two straight flushes. Just doesn't happen. Quite simply put, this Grinch guy is a flat out dickhead.

The plot: Hooville is disturbed by a howling wind, signaling the beginning of Grinch Night. The Grinch sets forth to terrorize the villagers, but one brave little boy sets out to single-handedly save his family and town. Obviously, by hook or by crook, the Grinch comes to his senses and Halloween is saved. But this whole ordeal really loses it's effect the second time around. This time, a stupid little boy is the true hero of the story, and the Grinch has to take a backseat and doesn't even get a backdrop of especially catchy tunes. Besides, who really cares at this point? The Grinch turning from demon to endearing only really works once...this time it's just the same old shit with a different decor.

On the plus side, there are some pretty good drug-induced scenes...a Seuss trademark. All in all though, this is a far cry from the Grinch's other dastardly deed. At least his reindeer dog is still around, though.

Unfortunately, I have no real information on either other than that they exist - but yes, there were Halloween specials dedicated to the Smurfs and Pac-Man!

I'm sure you're just as shocked as I am that nobody's taken the time to document an episode synopsis on two of the greatest shows ever made, but those are the breaks. If it helps, I'd suggest the Smurfs episode featured the alternate plot device, where Gargamel tries to turn the Smurfs into gold instead of eating them. As for Pac-Man, look no futher...sucka fight ghosts, it doesn't get much more Halloweenish than that.

Witch's Night Out

This one came out a year before I was born, 1978, so I missed the initial showings. Apparently, the addition of multi-colored characters wasn't introduced until 1980, since virtually everyone in this cartoon is painted one color and one color only. It's definitely got a 70s feel to it, right down to that funky porn music that seems to perpetually play in the background for no apparent reason whatsoever.

The story was...well, odd. I saw it quite a long time ago, so I might be a little rusty on this synopsis, but it went something like this: a babysitter is watching over two kids on Halloween night, and they run into a real-life witch. Right time of the year I guess. Anyway, this witch wasn't really a bad witch...wasn't really a good witch...just a witch. (this was proven by her big nose and tendency to laugh) The witch looked like a cross between Liza Minelli and Eddie Izzard, two of the world's greatest transvestite comedians. The kids and sitter decide to make the witch transform them into their favorite movie monsters, as they're later going to a costume party. I guess they really wanted to win the contest.

So, as Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and a ghost, they head off to the party with the witch in tow. Apparently, no one at the party was satisfied with their costumes, since they all begged and pleaded for the witch to turn them into their favorite monsters too! Now, either the witch really half-assed her magic spells, or she was just a shitty witch, since these people turn into the lamest monsters you've ever seen. Some of them look like they did before, just painted red. Anyway, they party like there's no tomorrow, completely oblivious to the terror forming around them.

The rest of the town, in classic fashion, decides that everyone at the party is a real monster. The obvious solution? Form a lynch mob to try to kill them all! Luckily, cooler head prevails and nobody gets killed. I'm pretty sure there was some hidden moral message stuck in all this somewhere, but I can't think of a lesson kids could learn besides making sure their costumes aren't too realistic. Oh well...

The final special I want to take a look at isn't for Halloween at all - but it's definitely scary enough to get lumped into this category. When I found about this one, I did the classic Danny Thomas spit's pretty brutal.

Rudolph's Shiny New Year??!??!!

UGH! Jesus! NOOO! At least when the Grinch branched out into other holidays, it made sense in the smallest degree. But this? The evil gears of the mass merchandising machine take a turn for the worse, and this time...our dear Rudolph is the victim!

The way everything is presented is so lame. Santa's snowed in someplace, (yeah, he's out on New Year's...) and he just nonchalantly tells Rudolph to 'save the day' once again, totally confident that his mutant reindeer can overcome any adversary. Also, Rudolph has an ego now. This isn't the vulnerable reindeer with the fucked up nose we all know and love. Between the 26th and the 31st, Rudolph took some of those Tony Robbins classes and gained a completely annoying amount of confidence in himself.

If you thought yetis and misfit toys were odd, get a load of the action in this one: Aided by a whale and a caveman, Rudolph sets out to find Happy, the missing Baby New Tear. If Aeon, a monstrous bird, finds Happy first, December 31st will last forever. Everyone will be stuck in limbo without any more Christmas holidays...forever! Obviously, our heroes, our various heroes, go crazy and eventually save the day, but not before the audience realizes who's voicing some of the characters: Red Skelton, and yes, Frank Gorshin, who you'll remember as The Riddler from the old Batman tv show. This one also came from the 70s, (1976) and was thankfully the only other holiday that reindeer got his grubby hoofs on.

BONUS!!!: McDonald's Halloween Giveaways

McDonald's isn't all bad. Sure, they might turn you into fat slugs with their clever ad campaigns and oh-so-saucy french fries, but when it comes to the holidays, they spare no expense.

The screencaps above are from an old McDonald's Halloween commercial, and you should recognize something in that first picture. It's the famous McDonald's Trick or Treat tubs! When I was young, my friends and I went crazy for these things. I came from a family legacy of sending out children with ugly plastic shopping totally ruined the look of whatever costume I put together, and usually broke once I got a good enough amount of candy. With these, that problem was no more!

The tubs came in a variety of colors, with different ghouls pictured throughout the years. Nobody wanted to walk around with the witch, myself included, so I traded mine in for my friend's highly-sought ghost tub. Course, I had to throw in a few Snickers bars to even out the deal, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Up above you'll see the McDonald's Halloween candy dispensers, a hybrid of Transformers and McDonald's characters, yes, including that bastard Grimace. Some of these just had generic monsters underneath, which really pissed off kids who were pining for the Hamburgler, who oddly looked a lot like a green Freddy Krueger in his pre-transformed state. While these were pretty cool, they didn't have anywhere near the multitude of wonder as the Chicken McNuggets.

Yep, even they got dressed up for Halloween. The best thing was - some editions of these glew in the dark! If there's one thing you've gotta give McDonald's credit for...they never shafted you on the Happy Meal toys. I can remember all the way back to when I was like four-years-old...Mickey D's always had something worth crying over. And while they knew that capitilizing on the Halloween spirit was a profitable expenditure, Burger King never quite got the idea. Check out their 'prize'...

Halloween trick or treat bags. ::cough:: Mmm hmm, kids were fucking mobbing the place for these things in the late 70s. Owls were the in thing.

Anyways, this ends our crazy trip down some of the best and worst Halloween cartoon specials ever made. If you're one of those unfortunate souls without much to do this Halloween, just check out the tube, I'm sure you'll find something. If not, just open the wrappers slightly on all the candy you give out to little trick or treaters. Imagine how many child/parent arguments you'll ultimately cause when the kids beg their parents to let them eat the 'poisoned' Milky Way bars. I love holidays.

- Matt
Check out Rob's Top 100 Monsters!