During the Halloween season watching monster and Halloween related cartoons and specials has become a tradition. Maybe you grew up watching Disney’s Halloween Treat or Bugs Bunny’s Howl-o-ween Special filled with clips from your favorite spooky Disney movies or Looney Tunes shorts. I am sharing with you some of my favorite spooky cartoons to watch as the witching hour approaches. Going way back into the past to bring you some forgotten gems and well loved perennial favorites. So gather ’round. Lock your doors. Get your favorite treat. Get ready to laugh and be creeped out at the same time by these spooky cartoons!
1. Disney’s 1929 Silly Symphony: The Skeleton Dance.
Dance along with these boneheads as they rise from the grave on a spooky night to get their wiggles out. This was the first Silly Symphony for Disney. It was animated by Ub Iwerks. It will chill your spine as you dance in time.
2. Disney’s The Haunted House 1929
This short features Mickey Mouse seeking shelter from the storm in the Haunted House. Trapped, he is forced to play an organ by Death itself while the skeletons dance around in a Danse Macabre.
3. Disney’s Mickey and the Mad Doctor 1933
This short features a sleeping Mickey Mouse who is awakened when a mysterious shadow steals Pluto and destroys his doghouse! Mickey to the rescue as he tracks down the villain to his lair that is haunted! Poor Pluto is set to be experimented on by the Mad Doctor who wants to use his parts to create a monster. This one is dark and features creeping skeletons and torture worthy of Poe’s Pit and the Pendulum. It may however only be a nightmare… hopefully one that Mickey can wake up from.
4. Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s 1936 Happy Harmony: Bottles
This short is not entirely spooky related but there is some powerful Halloween imagery. A pharmacist falls asleep while mixing potions in an apothecary or perhaps he has succumbed to the fumes of the poison he was mixing! He enters a nightmare realm where the bottles in the shop all come to life… and try to take his! It features the single creepiest laugh in all of animation while, “Death walks tonight!”
5. Columbia’s 1937 Color Rhapsody: Skeleton Frolic
Another set of skeletons dancing and performing in a graveyard. Very similiar to Disney’s Skeleton Dance, and with good reason. It was directed by the very same Ub Iwerks.
6. Disney’s 1937 Silly Symphony:The Old Mill
Incredibly atmospheric, spend the night sheltering from the storm in an old abandoned mill as the lightning flashes and the tempest rages.
7. Disney’s 1937 cartoon short: Lonesome Ghosts
The original Ghost Chasers; Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy are called out to a haunted old mansion to get rid of g-g-g-ghosts! Arriving armed to the teeth, the intrepid trio are soon in a battle for their lives against the resident specters. The ghosts try to terrify the Ghost Chasers but we will see who gets frightened off in the end!
8. Warner Bros’ 1938 Merry Melody: Have You Got Any Castles?
In this enchanted library the books come to life, and not just in your imagination. Not really a Halloween short, but I dig the horror section of the library.
9. Disney’s 1940 Fantasia: Night On Bald Mountain
During Walpurgis Night, as the village sleeps an ancient evil awakens. The mountain itself is Chernabog a devil of the underworld. Using his spectral necromancy he summons forth ghosts and ghouls from their graves, harpies, demons, and monstrosities from the flames below. He is creating an army of evil and the undead, but before he can unleash his evil upon the world the morning breaks. The demons are cast down into the pit and the spirits return to their graves.
10. Disney’s 1944 Donald Duck and the Gorilla
Featuring Donald and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie this short has the boys playing a prank on uncle Donald in a gorilla suit. Breaking news however is that a real gorilla has escaped from the zoo, and crazy and hilarious hi-jinks ensue as the real gorilla menaces the ducks.
11. Warner Bros’ 1946 Merry Melody: Hair Raising Hare
Lured to the laboratory of the Mad Scientist (who looks and sounds just like horror film star Peter Lorre) by the scientist’s mechanical creation, the robot rabbit femme fatale, Bugs Bunny is about to become dinner for the pet monster Gossamer! In his hairy, scary, first appearance ever!
12. Warner Bros’ 1948 Merry Melody: Scaredy Cat
Porky Pig purchases a gothic mansion and brings his scaredy cat Sylvester. However the house is already occupied by what seems to be a murderous cult of mice. Will they survive the night? Sylvester tries to warn Porky, then protect him. But he is framed, and a peeved Porky just wants to go to sleep without that crazy cat seemingly attempting to murder him.
13. Disney’s 1949 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
In this retelling of Washington Irving’s famous tale, a superstitious Ichabod is thoroughly frightened by Brom Bones telling the ghost story of the Headless Horseman at the Halloween party. The hour comes that the schoolmaster must travel the lonely road back home. Unfortunately that means he must cross the hollow inhabited by the phantom horseman who seeks his head. This is a quintessential Halloween masterpiece that has scares and laughs alike as Ichabod and his trusty steed attempt to evade the murderous ghost and race for the safety of the bridge. Will he succeed, or will he be scared… to death?!
14. Disney’s 1952 Trick or Treat
Huey, Dewey, and Louie are out looking for treats on Halloween night, but uncle Donald has tricks up his sleeves to keep all the goodies to himself. Seeing the boys’ predicament Witch Hazel and her broom Beezlebub come to the boys’ aid by brewing a powerful spell to get the candy from the stingy Donald. A hauntingly good time, and a must watch for Halloween.
15. Warner Bros’ 1956 Looney Tunes short: Broom-Stick Bunny
Another Witch Hazel, who prides herself on being the ugliest, questions her superiority as the most hideous when she sees Bugs Bunny’s witch costume while he is out trick or treating. She switches tactics of trying to get the other “witch” to take a beauty potion when she finds out he is just the ingredient she needs for her witches’ brew.
16. Warner Bros’ 1963 Merry Melody: Transylvania 6-5000
Bugs Bunny takes a wrong turn on his way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and ends up in Pittsburghe, Transylvania where he mistakes a vampire’s castle for a motel. Hocus Pocus! This magical adventure pits Bugs against Count Bloodcount in a battle of wits where magic words and phrases change (literally) the outcome and the opponent. Abracadabra!
17. Warner Bros’ 1966 Looney Tunes short: A Haunting We Will Go
Daffy Duck’s nephew out Trick or Treating encounters Witch Hazel and runs home to tell Daffy about it. Determined to show him that witches don’t exist Daffy marches right back to the witch’s house. Meanwhile Witch Hazel wants to go on vacation and needs a temporary replacement, seeing Speedy Gonzalez she changes him into a clone of her with a specially brewed hot cheese drink. Daffy then learns a thing or two about witches.
18. Charles Schulz’s 1966 It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
My favorite Halloween special. Spooky and funny there is a reason it has stood the test of time. The Peanuts gang get ready for Halloween by carving jack o’ lanterns, designing their costumes, then trick or treating. Meanwhile Linus has convinced Sally to wait for the Great Pumpkin with him in the pumpkin patch. Snoopy dogfights with the Red Baron and barely survives being shot down and creeping across no-man’s land to finally arrive at the Halloween party. Sally misses trick or treating, Charlie Brown’s night is a disaster. Lucy rescues her little brother Linus who has spent a miserable night freezing in the pumpkin patch after passing out when he thought he saw the Great Pumpkin.
19. Blake Edward’s 1967 Pink Panther short: Pink Panic
The Pink Panther finds himself in a ghost town. Where he intends to spend the night in the haunted Dead Dog Hotel. He encounters a vengeful ghost and a spooky skeleton. They make enough racket to wake the dead… in this case the ghost of the sheriff who marches them off to jail only to have the whole town and inhabitants disappear by sunrise.
20. Blake Edward’s 1975 Pink Panther short: Pink Plasma
The Pink Panther seeks lodging while in Transylvania and is tricked into staying at the dangerous vampire’s castle. Where creeps, goons, ghosts, traps, etc. all try to do him in until he finally ends up head to head against the castle’s owner. Having mistakenly buried the vampire’s coffin with him in it, the Panther seeks to rest while the vampire seeks revenge. Who will win and who will rest in peace? Perhaps the one eyed hairy invisible monster?
Hopefully you have found at least a few of these hauntingly good Halloween cartoons to watch this spooky season. To you and yours have a happy Halloween!