Growing up, I watched a lot of Halloween movies. I would usually watch whatever Disney Channel Original Movie was premiering that year, but my favorites were always the cartoons. There was a period of time when Cartoon Network would play the same Scooby-Doo episodes in October year after year, and I always tuned in.
I remember that there were a few years when I got a little older and I stopped watching them. But after that, back in high school when all I wanted was to be a kid again, I either didn’t have time to watch them or I couldn’t find the same episodes on TV. But with the Internet, we can now watch anything at any time, and we should take a moment to praise the Great Pumpkin for that.
If I had to pick four short films to watch to get back into the spirit of being a kid who can’t wait for Halloween, they would be the following:
Number one is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949), a short Disney film. I had tapes of a lot of animated classics that Disney made. My favorites were Sleepy Hollow, Paul Bunyan, and The Wind in the Willows. This is my favorite adaptation of Washington Irving’s classic story about Ichabod Crane, the schoolmaster of a small town. Ichabod has to ride through the woods by himself, terrified of a headless horseman who may be Brom Bones or who may just be his imagination. Clearly, people are still fascinated with this story, as there is a whole TV show called Sleepy Hollow devoted to Ichabod and the people of the old Hudson Valley Dutch town.
My second option is Hocus Pocus. I know that this isn’t a short movie, but I couldn’t not add this to the list. I won’t go into much detail because I know a lot of people write articles around this time of year about how great this movie is. But it really is. It’s the best. A boy and his friend and his sister have to stop three witches who come back to life and try to bewitch Salem. In summary, Bette Midler sings and is perfect and that is all you need to know.
Third is Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School. There are many Scooby episodes to choose from, but this is my favorite. Shaggy and Scooby get jobs at a girls’ school, and when they go there, they realize that the girls are ghouls. Revolta and her minion, the Grim Creeper, plan to enslave the girl ghouls and make them evil forever. It’s a really cute movie and has a ton of monster puns.
My last pick is It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I have quite a soft spot for anything Charlie Brown. Out of all of the franchises of children’s movies and stories, the Peanuts gang was by far my favorite. This movie speaks to my soul. The fact that so many of Charlie Brown’s friends want to be ghosts and the fact that they go trick-or-treating together and Charlie got rocks was the funniest thing to me as a kid. I can’t look at a rock and not think, “I got a rock.” Somehow, I identified so much with such a somber kid. But the most endearing part of the movie is that Linus spends the entire night waiting for the “Great Pumpkin” while all of his friends are trick-or-treating.
Honorable mention: All of the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes of The Simpsons, particularly the one where the Simpsons reenact Macbeth.
I know we are all busy, especially at this time of year. All I am saying is that I know what I’m doing with my fall break.