Nothing says October and the Halloween season quite like cartoon Halloween specials. Below I have listed 20 cartoon specials that I think you should all check out! Some which feature are of my favourite episodes from said cartoons!
Ed, Edd n Eddy’s Boo Haw Haw
Eddy has a plan to get a ton of candy with the help of a ‘treasure map’ given to him by his scheming older brother. He and Double D find Ed zoned out after an unhealthy amount of time spent watching classic horror movies. This viewing experience has a knock-on effect to Ed which causes him to re-imagine the other dressed up cul-de-sac kids as monsters, and in-turn attacks them. Full of classic Ed, Edd & Eddy slapstick material and visually one of their more varied episodes.
Hey Arnold – Arnold’s Halloween
It’s All Hallow’s Eve and Arnold and Gerald have the ultimate prank to scare the townspeople who are currently obsessed with a UFO show. Using his grandpa’s transmitter, Arnold creates a ‘War of the Worlds’ imitation broadcast about aliens landing in their city. Helga and the other kids have decided to dress up as aliens for trick-or-treating and the combination of the broadcast and the “aliens” turns the town into a frenzy of panic thinking they are under attack. One of the best Halloween specials with homage to classic alien invasion stories.
Animaniacs – Draculee, Draculaa / Phranken-Runt
A two-part episode with the first concentrating on Dracula and the second being a musical piece on Frankenstein’s Monster. This is a classic Animaniacs episode where Wakko, Yakko and Dot are up to their usual fourth wall breaking, annoying and disturbing ways as they become too much even for the likes of Dracula who only wants to sink his teeth into Dot. The second part sees Rita and Runt looking for a place to stay for the night after being kicked out of their first residence. Little does runt know he is the perfect dummy for the mad scientist’s monster experiment to destroy the townspeople below… things might not work out as planned.
Beavis And Butt-Head: Bungholio: The Lord Of Harvest (Butt-O-Ween)
After being visited by trick-or-treaters, Beavis and Butt-Head decide they want in on getting free candy despite being too old. They make costumes with Beavis dressing as a “nad” and Butt-Head dresses (pours hot cheese on himself) to become nachos. After many failed attempts at gaining candy, they visit Tom Anderson’s house where Beavis ransacks the candy and becomes his sugar-fuelled alter ego ‘Cornholio’ who requires “TP for my bunghole.” Like many monster movies Beavis becomes a threat wanting everyone’s candy, but the episode does pay homage to classic slasher films later on.
The Simpsons – Treehouse of Horror V
Of course The Simpsons ‘Treehouse Of Horror’ specials were going to make this list as they’ve been an iconic part of Halloween tradition for the last 30 years. I would recommend watching the vast majority of them, but the one that has always stood out for me is the fifth iteration which features parodies of The Shining, time travel and cannibalistic school teachers.
‘The Shinning’ takes on the story of Kubrick’s movie with a comical Simpsons spin with the first of three deaths for Willie. That part alone stands out as perhaps the greatest Treehouse Of Horror story, but the two to follow make this episode stand out for what it is. Homer’s time travel antics take him to multiple timelines as his recklessness in the prehistoric period sends him to worlds where Flanders is leader of mankind and it rains doughnuts! The final part sees Springfield Elementary teachers killing and feasting on school children leaving The Simpsons children to try and find a way to survive.
South Park – Pink Eye
After Kenny is crushed by a Russian space station, he is taken to a mortuary where Worcester Sauce is mixed with embalming fluid, turning him into a zombie. Like many zombie movies, a continuation of biting people causes most of the town to turn into zombies which medical officials first believe to be pink eye. At the same time the boys just want to go trick-or-treating and win the best costume contest with their ‘interesting’ choices. South Park’s seventh episode is full of gory zombie moments as well as a reference to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.
Catdog – Catdogula
Cat and Dog are enjoying all of the Halloween festivities such as pumpkin carving, costumes (Dog is a vampire and Cat is Duke Kahanamoku) and trick-or-treating. A news report breaks about dead cows which come back from the dead, but this is passed off as a hoax by Cat. The rest of the townspeople aim to hunt down the vampire responsible before they themselves are turned. It is revealed the vampire is a Peruvian vampire tick who bites Dog and many others! It’s up to Cat and plenty of twists and turns to rid of the vampires by pouring garlic juice on them before he is too turned into one.
Rugrats – Ghost Story
Whilst sitting around a light-up campfire toasting marshmallows, Angelica decides to tell a spooky story involving the most-scared little boy entering a haunted house to see what the light in the attic is. The babies take over from each other deterring the story from being scary at all. As Tommy and the gang take over the narration from each other there is a cross-over from Ahhh Real Scary Monsters! With Ickis, Krumm and Oblina being behind a closed door and want to eat the babies… or chocolate pudding. Classic Rugrats with a cosy Halloween feel.
Bugs Bunny’s Howl-Oween special
Bugs and co have a run in with a witch who is full of trickery. Daffy, Sylvester and Porky Pig are all in for a Halloween treat as she uses her spells to transform and scare. Bugs gets his classic one-upmanship over the witch full of clever screen gags and slapstick comedy and even features scenes referencing Dr. Jekell & Mr. Hyde.
Halloween Is Grinch Night
A delightful Dr. Seuss short that shows the Grinch in one of his ‘Grinch-est’ moods as the sour-sweet wind blows through Whoville. The Grinch decides he should scare the villagers, making his dog Max drag a “Paraphernalia Wagon” dowmountain. He happens across Euchariah, a Who who has been blown away by the wind to Mt. Crumpit. In a bid to scare Euchariah, the Grinch tricks him into his wagon where wonderful and surreal imagery takes hold. Classic Seuss and classic Grinch, one to check out if you’re a fan of the Christmas classic!
Flintstones – Rockula and Frankenstone
After appearing on a gameshow, Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty win a luxury trip to Rocksylvania staying in count rockula’s castle. After Fred and Barney accidentally fall through a trap door, they leave what presume to be a fake dummy of Frankenstone’s monster exposed to an open window. Being struck by lightning the monster comes to life and reawakens Count Rockula who desires to make Wilma his wife and kill Fred in the process. A harmless adaptation of classic Dracula and Frankenstein stories full of classic Flinstones humour and a much friendlier side to Fred if I’ve ever seen it.
Rocko’s Modern Life: Sugar Frosted Frights / Ed Is Dead
This two part tale first features Rocko and Heffer taking Filburt out trick-or-treating for the first time after he was warned as a kid by his aunt that sugar was dangerous. After consuming his first piece of sugar he goes on a sugar-crazed rampage leading his friends to the abandoned ‘Foto Booth’. The second part has a ‘Rear Window’ parody where Rocko is led to believe that Mrs. Bighead has murdered Mr. Bighead due to what he mistakenly believes and sees coming from their house.
Billy and Mandy’s Jacked Up Halloween
Whilst out trick-or-treating which features Billy dressed as Grim and using his scythe, Grim tells Billy and Mandy the story of Jack O’Lantern (voiced by Wayne Knight) who used to love pulling tricks on people. Grim was supposed to take Jack’s life, but had his scythe stolen and the only way to get it back was to cut a deal for eternal life. In doing so Grim cuts off Jack’s head which he replaces with a pumpkin. Now on this Halloween night, Billy foolishly visits Jack’s house and tells him this is the real scythe of Grim’s leading to havoc and mischief all across town.
Johnny Bravo – Bravo Dooby Doo
It’s amazing how a show on its third episode can get this kind of cross-over. Cartoon Network must have had a lot of faith in Johnny Bravo and they did right as for me it is one of the best cartoons of the 90’s. Johnny experiences car trouble on his way to visit his Aunt Jebediza at the old creepy house. He is picked up by Mystery Inc. to which a whole slew of Scooby-Doo gags ensue as the gang try to uncover the scary farmer. It’s a classic Scooby episode with a Bravo twist.
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters – The Switching Hour
It’s Halloween and Ickis, Krumm and Oblina plan to sneak out of their residence to mix in with the trick-or-treaters in the human world. Prior to this, a boy named Nicky sees Ickis in a bin and after being frightened, decides to dress as him for Halloween. His older brother Jake has to drag him along on their Halloween pranks and whilst the monsters are enjoying the festivities, Ickis and Nicky are mixed up going with the opposite party. A human in the monster world and a monster in the human world was a great way to start off one of Nicktoons most interesting series’.
Doug’s Halloween Adventure
There’s a Halloween theme park called Funkytown that has been constructed on the grounds of the haunted Bloodstone Manor and Skeeter is excited to go. Little does he know, Doug is absolutely terrified and tries to distract him with trick-or-treating to delay their arrival to the park. Dressed as Race Canyon (Indiana Jones parody) Doug tries to convince himself he’s brave before Roger calls him chicken. The three enter the Manor after it closes and wind up in a set of spooky happenings; the guys are stuck in the park and it’s time for Doug to be brave.
The Scooby-Doo Show – The Headless Horseman Of Halloween
The first Scooby-Doo episode set on Halloween, although you could say most episode themes would count, this one is at a Halloween party. The episode is based in Sleepy Hollow and the host happens to be a descendant of Ichabod Crane, otherwise known as the protagonist in the Washington Irving short story. The main villain is the Headless Horseman who wants to find a new head, but Mystery Inc. happen to be in his way. A nice nod to The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow with classic Scooby-Doo comedy.
Futurama – The Honking
After his uncle dies, Bender has to spend a full night in a haunted castle to claim the building. However, after fleeing the castle from modem ghosts he is met by the Werecar and subsequently becomes one himself. The episode sees many horror nods to films such as The Car and The Howling. We see a different side to Bender, a much more murderous rampaging one… wait no that’s just Bender.
Bob’s Burgers – Full Bars
A trick-or-treat episode which also includes a Who done it? murder mystery. The kids want to go it alone this year and their hunt for candy proves useless in their town so take to the island full of rich candy giving adults. They’re met by Sophomores who aim to make Halloween night a living nightmare for younger kids with pee-filled balloons. Bob and Linda attend Teddy’s Halloween party which results in Teddy’s guinea pig being murdered by somebody in attendance and Teddy flipping his lid. The party might not hold up as strong as the trick-or-treat moments, but is an enjoyable episode with many highlights from the kids.
Peanuts: It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
This for me is the best Halloween/Autumnal cartoon special to watch. You’re instantly thrown into a classic Peanuts episode with the classic score from ” ” and sets the scene with Autumn leaves and warm colours. Classic Snoopy and Charlie Brown moments make it one of the stand out Peanuts episodes in general and one that has been referenced and parodied widely.
Linus believes the Great Pumpkin visits children every year in the pumpkin patch and gives them presents. He convinces Sally to stay with him whilst everyone else goes out trick-or-treating to which they wait a long, long time in the patch. Meanwhile, Charlie Brown in his ghost costume… with too many holes cut out can’t seem to get any candy and keeps being given rocks. This Halloween special will instantly become one of your favourites full of great humour and lovable characters and quotes such as: “There are three things I’ve learned never to discuss with people: Religion, Politics and The Great Pumpkin.”
Let me know in the comments any of your favourite Halloween specials not featured on this list! Are there any you watch every year guaranteed?