Arthur is an avid television and movie fan with horror being his favored genre. If you can name it, he has probably seen it. Twice.
I am a huge horror movie fan, so much so that they constitute 75% of my expansive movie collection. So how does someone become that big of a fan? I started at a young age. When I was a kid I could not wait for the Halloween season so I could watch all of the scary cartoons that my mom would break out once a year for my viewing pleasure.
It has been a long time since I was a little kid, but I still have fond memories of those specials and I am now sharing them with my kids. Here are a few of the best examples of Halloween specials in a time before every cartoon had to be politically correct and educational.
Mr. Boogedy/Bride of Boogedy
Who ever would have thought that Disney could be this edgy? Mr. Boogedy first premiered as a Disney Sunday Night feature and is far from Halloween town, but it is still not super inappropriate for kids. The movie and its subsequent sequel follow the Davis family whose practical joker dad moves them into a dilapidated old house that the small town locals say is haunted. Unfortunately for the Davis' the locals may just be right. This may have been one of my favorite Halloween specials of all time and even at 31, I look forward to watching this one every year. It also is packed with some recognizable names like John Atin, David Faustino, and Kristy Swanson.
The Pumpkin who Couldn't Smile
Raggedy Ann and Andy have been a children's staple since long before I was on this planet. Though they are not as popular as they once were, they are still recognizable. This Halloween special is one of the greatest ever made with a message of acceptance and the fact that it doesn't kill us to remember our youth every once in a while. I used to skip over this one as a kid, but as an adult, I will make sure that my kids watch it every year.
Disney's Halloween Treat
This may be the best children's Halloween special ever made. It is hosted by Snow White's Step Mom's Magic Mirror and is equal parts Disney villain showcase and classic cartoon cavalcade. If you are looking for the perfect family-friendly Halloween feature, then this one is for you. If offers up just the right amount of fright with familiar characters that will please viewers young and old.
Chucklewood Critters Which Witch is Which
The Chucklewood Critters were the masters of holiday specials and their Halloween one may have been the best. The young fox and bear unmask some two-bit crooks and learn just how fun Halloween night can be. This special is great for kids, but it also has some laughs for adults too. Unfortunately, the original Chucklewood Critters specials are difficult to find so you may have some troubles acquiring this one to own.
The Halloween that Almost Wasn't or The Night Dracula Saved the World
I can't believe that this one isn't better known that it is. The story is actually fairly decent and teaches about equality which was not exactly a pressing issue when this special was filmed in the 70's. It stars Judd Hirsch as Count Dracula and offers a light-hearted look at the classic movie monsters while bolstering the idea that women (in this case the witch) are just as important as men no matter what industry they are in.
Garfield's Halloween Adventure
Garfield is one of the most iconic comic characters of all time with books, movies, toys, games, and dozens of TV specials to his name. One of the best is Garfield's Halloween adventure with classic Garfield humor combined with some pretty catchy toons. The best part about this special is that it should be acceptable for all ages to enjoy.
Witch's Night Out
This special is nothing short of a trip with weird animation and an out-there story line. The late great Gilda Radner lends her voice to this cartoon about a whole town being transformed into real life version of their halloween costumes and the chaos that ensues. You can get this special on DVD from Amazon for less than $5 and comes with a bunch of other Halloween cartoons as well.
Disney's Legend of Sleepy Hallow
There are few Halloween stories more recognizable than that of the School Master and the Headless Horseman. Of course Disney went ahaead and put their spin on it and the rest is history. This special always kind of bored me because to me it jsut wasn't scary enough. That being said, it is probably one of the best Halloween specials you could watch as a family.