Published on October 26th, 2011 | by Colin Ballsmonkey Hill0
Extreme Inbetweens – The Best of the Nicktoons Halloween Specials
PER JOHN’S REQUEST, A TRIBUTE ARTICLE TO CARTOONS OF MY YOUTH PAYING TRIBUTE TO ANCIENT PAGAN HOLIDAY
THE BEST OF THE NICKTOONS HALLOWEEN SPECIALS
Hey there toonsters! It’s October, and with it comes that special time of year for you to gather together with all of your love ones and scare the cranberries out of them. That’s right, it’s Halloween time, and my favorite Halloween memories weren’t of dressing up in cool costumes, getting free candy, and dodging child molesters with their special “tootsie rolls”, no, my favorite Hallows eve memories were the CARTOONS!
Really. This is a cartoon-themed column, did you expect anything else? If you did, stop being stupid.
Yes, ever October, most of my favorite cartoon shows would do very special episodes all dealing with the hijinks that ensue on this holiest of holy days. Eek the Cat, Beetlejuice, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Bobby’s World, even Gargoyles all had Halloween specials. Some great, some….eh…but the best ones were done by the none other than the Nicktoons. Yep, Nickelodeon’s own original toons were the best when it came to the spooky shenanigans (Yeah I said shenanigans! I don’t curse all the time you fucking twats). Today I’m going to go over my six favorites. This isn’t in any particular order, mostly because I don’t feel like ranking them, just know that they’re all great.
Doug: Doug’s Halloween Adventure
We all remember Doug. Okay most of us remember Doug. While it didn’t have the cutsie appeal of Rugrats or the eye-popping and stomach churning animation of Ren and Stimpy, Doug holds the prestige of being the very first Nicktoon. For those who don’t know, Doug was about 12-year-old Doug Funnie who was pretty average except for his overactive imagination. Most of his problems were pretty mundane and down-to-earth like getting his first pimple and asking a girl to the dance, so you’d think his Halloween adventure would be equally mundane. WRONG! WRONG YOU HEAR ME! Doug’s Halloween Adventure scarred the sweet little baby bejeezus out of me as a kid. It’s starts off with Skeeter telling Doug the scary backstory of a new amusment park attraction, Bloodstone Manor, a ride through a real haunted house. Doug, being to chicken shit, decides to keep him and Skeeter so occupied with trick-or-treating that the park closes before they get a chance to ride, but with some goading from Roger, the three sneak into the ride. But things stop being fun when Roger disappears and Doug and Seketer must brave the horrors of Bloodstone Manor to find him.
This episode was great. It struck the right balance of fun and creepy and had a great ending. As good as Doug, there were times the show could get pretty mundane, but their Halloween special was hella-fun.
Angry Beavers: The Day The Earth Got Really Screwed-Up
Ah, the Angry Beavers. A quirky, hip, little under appreciated gem of the 90’s. The show was about two Beaver brothers named Norbert and Daggett who’ve moved out on their own and spend their days watching bad sci-fi movies, eating jalepenos, and getting into cartoony hijinks. The show was great at lampooning everything from comic book superheroes to Woodstock, and for their Halloween episode they did a perfect send up of 1950’s sci-fi monster movies. Norbert and Daggett are out trick-or-treating the night before Halloween, (to get a head start on all the candy), and end up in the home of their favorite actor Oxnard Montalvo (pronounced:Montallllllllvo). Unfortunately for them at the same time an alien entity has come to Earth and is using it’s power to take over the world by bringing all the monsters from Montalvo’s movies to life. The Beavers end up living out their fanboy dreams as they must team with Montalvo to defeat evil alien guy thingy.
This episode was amazing. Every little bit of the Angry Beavers trademark humor is there in prominence. Nearly every joke is delivered with perfect delivery and features great physical humor and voice acting, especially by Tom Kane who voices Montalvo. He’s so funny that you come out of this wishing they’s make a spin-off cartoon staring him. It’s fun, it;s faced paced, it’s one of the best episodes of the series, possibly the best.
Hey Arnold: Arnold’s Halloween
Hey Arnold was a great show. It was similar to Doug, but did a lot more. It was about a 9-year-old kid named Arnold with a football-shaped head living in New York city surrounded by a robust, colorful, and diverse cast of characters. Their approach for a Halloween special was a very inspired one. Arnold and Gerald decide to play a prank on the residents of Arnold’s boarding house by staging a fake radio broadcast to make them believe aliens have invaded Earth (sound familiar). Their prank works…a little too well. Their signal is picked up by crackpot journalist Douglas Kane who mistakes the broadcast for real and sends the entire city into a panic, which does not bode well for Helga and the rest of the neighborhood kids who’ve dressed as aliens for Halloween.
I remember taping this episode, back when VHS was still hip with the kids, because I wasn’t going to be home to see it. I loved it then, and still love it now. Before then I never heard of the Orson Wells War of the Worlds broadcast, so this was my introduction to it. In fact, Maurice LaMarche voiced Kane in this episode using his famous Orson Wells voice. This episode made the 9-year-old me want to pull off a hoax that big. It’s a shame kids today would be pretty lost watching this episode, seeing as how no one knows what the hell a radio is anymore.
Rocko’s Modern Life: Sugar Frosted Fright
It’s a shame Rocko’s Modern Life never got as big as Rugrats or Spongebob, for it was a show truly ahead of it’s time. The show about a wallaby named Rocko trying to cope with the absurdities of modern life in the 90‘s. It ha great characters, great animation, a unique visual style, and so much hidden adult humor that it’ll take you years to get. Rocko’s Halloween adventure see’s him and his pal Heffer take their neurotic friend Filburt out trick-or-treating for the very first time in his life, seeing as how he’d been scarred away from it with tales of dangerous candy and one-legged ghost soldiers. When Filburt takes his first bite of sweet, sweet candy, he goes into sugar-induced rage and begins to consume everything that even looks like candy, leaving Rocko and Heffer to try to talk him down.
Rocko rarely had a bad episode and this was not one of them. There are so many great bits, from the “creepy” intro, to Rocko/Bigman costume gag, to Filburt’s sugar rage, to the ending which has one of the funniest moments of the episode. The second cartoon in the episode, Ed is Dead, is also good, but not as hilarious as this one. Watch it if you can find it.
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Switching Hour
Fitting for a show about three young monsters training in the underground Monster Academy to learn how to better scare humans, that their first episode be a Halloween episode. The Switching Hour introduces us to the hidden world of the monsters and our three main character: Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina. In the episode, our main characters, though forbidden to by their headmaster The Gromble, go out to scare on Halloween night. Through a quick mix-up, Ickis ends up trading places with a boy named Bradley who’s costume resembled Ickis. Now Ickis has to find a way to get back to the Academy while Bradley has to pose as a monster to keep from being detected by The Gromble and the brutal disciplinarian The Snorch.
For Halloween episode, only the first thrid of it takes place during Halloween. The rest takes place after, but I still felt compelled to include it. It’s a good episode that sets the tone for the series nicely, and offers some fun little bits along the way, like Ickis trying to get through a day in human school.
Invader Zim: Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom
Practically every episode of Invader Zim could be a Halloween episode. This dark comedy by Jhoen Vasquez was about an incompetent alien named Zim trying to conquer the Earth. The show had a lot of dark and horrible imagery and subject matter, so really there wasn’t much of anything different they could do for a Halloween episode. In the episode, Zim learns of Halloween and prepares to defend himself against the “candy zombies”. At the same time, Dib accidentally opens a portal to a nightmare dimension located in his freakishly large head, that’s trying to claw it’s way into reality. Dib and Zim get sucked in and must work together to stop the nightmare creatures from getting loose…which doesn’t go very well seeing as how they both screw each other over first chance they get.
Like I said, this episode isn’t much different from the rest of the series, but it’s still great. It ha great animation, especially on some of the monsters, the jokes hit way more than they miss, especially all the jokes about Dib’s supposedly gigantic head, and GIR as always has some great bits. This is definitely one of the best episodes of the series, go watch it. Hell, just watch the whole series, it’s a perfect Hallows eve watch.
So there you have it, the best the Nickelodeon had to offer when it came to Halloween. Other Nicktoons have done their Halloween episode as well like Rugrats, Spongebob, and Fairly OddParents, and their live-action shows had some great ones too, most notably Adventures of Pete and Pete, but these are the ones that stuck with me the most.
If you can track ‘em down, or if they end up airing on Nickelodeon or on the new 90‘s Are All That block on The N, kick back, grab a big bowl of candy preferably without razorblades in it, and watch because you’re too old to trick-or-treat so you’ve got nothing better to do.
See you next time, and Happy Halloween!