Jack o Lantern from The Monster of Walnut Grove

The Monster of Walnut Grove aka that Spooky Episode of Little House on the Prairie

One of the spookiest and most memorable Halloween episodes I remember from my childhood was from an unexpected source: “Little House on the Prairie.” The episode was titled “The Monster of Walnut Grove.”

Right from the start, the show brings on the creepy: Following the traditional happy opening credits with Pa and Ma Ingalls pulling up on the wagon to watch their girls come running down the hill, the scene cuts to the darkened night outside the Oleson’s Mercantile and pans in eerily on a jack o’ lantern.

Jack o Lantern from The Monster of Walnut Grove

Laura is then reading “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” to her little sister as her older sister Mary waits for her to go “soaping windows” in town. As a youth familiar with the tradition of “Mischief Night” (Halloween’s eve when kids were known to get into well… mischief – throwing eggs and such) merely putting soap on windows struck me as such a tame prank.

The crux of the episode centers around what happens when the young Laura actually gets to the mercantile. Too late to get the good windows out front, she heads around back where she overhears Mr. and Mrs. Oleson in an argument over swords he purchased. Then in a “Rear Window”-style twist, she witnesses him swing the sword down and behead the seated woman in front of him.

No one believes her when she tells and the ensuing plot turns only serve to feed into Laura’s suspicions. Her nightmares, a cemetery scene, candlelight, locked doors, screams and the actions of the hitherto-innocent-seeming Mr. Nels Oleson add more great bits of spookiness with a fun cameo to conclude.

Watch the full episode yourself below.

Fun fact: Star/producer Michael Landon (Charles “Pa” Ingalls) was born on Halloween night Oct. 31, 1936.

Mashismo

Mashismo was a bicentennial baby and a child of the '80s. He grew into his ears and out of his awkward phase (glasses AND headgear!), but never truly grew up.
Read more from him at Bacon Eggs & Geek: http://bit.ly/baconeggsgeek or http://medium.com/@ernio.

Latest posts by Mashismo (see all)

Subscribe to the Retroist Newsletter

* indicates required

10 thoughts on “The Monster of Walnut Grove aka that Spooky Episode of Little House on the Prairie

  1. I think I recall a recent Halloween where “The Office” did a little something fun. This brought up a conversation about other scary “Little House” eps (mimes, blindness, etc.) which made me wonder how I’m not more scarred for life. (…Or am I?!)

  2. The Office has done Halloween and Community did a good one as well. Of course the animated shows on Fox do them too, although it seems the Simpsons is the only one that makes an even out of it.

    American Dad did a Halloween episode where the main character brings serial killers into his house to make the ultimate haunted house. A good episode.

  3. @Mashísmo How about the episode where Caroline gets her leg infected…it swells up and she is all alone and has to cut it open with a “kitchen” knife?! That was a scary episode to be sure!

    @Retroist I had completely forgotten about the Community Halloween episodes! They need to make a Halloween themed episode a staple with all shows again. :)

  4. @Retroist Yep! That is the very one. She has to sit by the fireplace to read the bible…and later open her leg up…which I remember them showing. Brrr.

  5. Atari Adventure Square says:

    I really dig these scary holiday eps from old shows.
    Gonna enjoy this.

    The Waltons had an unusual one with poltergeist activity coinciding with the younger daughter’s coming of age.
    It was called The Changeling, from the 7th season.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ipW9JsTmos

    Unbelievably spooky stuff for such a down-to-earth series.

  6. It wasn’t a Halloween episode, but The Werewolf of Walnut Grove was another spooky one. In it, Albert pretends to be a werewolf. The episode seems like a wink at Michael Landon’s. early role in I Was A Teenage Werewolf.
    http://youtu.be/fUpPiePVqDw

Leave a Reply