The greatest Halloween special of all time is It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. On that point there can be no debate. Close behind it is Disney’s Halloween Treat/A Disney Halloween. Far behind them is an NBC special I caught just once when I was a kid called Witch’s Night Out.
I don’t remember much about this special, but I do remember it was disturbing. The art was disturbing. I’ve always been a little uneasy with anything that wasn’t Disney or Charlie Brown. Don Bluth made me a little uncomfortable, Ralph Baskshi even more so, but this one really scared me. The story disturbed me as well. A witch turns some kids and their baby sitter into real monsters. I had security issues as a kid, and that story line really triggered them. I kept worrying about what would happen to the kids, how they would get back to normal. Even the kids’ names disturbed me. They were called Small and Tender, and their babysitter was named Bazooey. Everything about this special was scary to me.
So I guess Witch’s Night Out isn’t the best Halloween special around, but it is the scariest. Scary for the wrong reasons, unfortunately, but undeniably scary.