A few years back, I was asked to put together a list of some Great Old Halloween Specials from the past and you should definitely check out that if you haven’t done so before. Many TV shows, both live action and animated, had special Halloween episodes that they aired at the end of October. The cartoon series The Real Ghostbusters is really underrated overall, but it had some Halloween episodes in particular that many don’t think about right away when considering viewing options for the spooky season.
In the summer of 1984, a little film called Ghostbusters became a blockbuster and pop culture phenomenon. It was the second highest grossing film of 1984 and remained the #1 film in America for seven consecutive weeks. The movie inspired an animated series called The Real Ghostbusters which ran on ABC Saturday mornings beginning in September of 1986. After the first season the series was also in syndication on weekdays running for a total of seven seasons and 140 episodes ending in October 1991 and then having re-runs continue in syndication through the ’90s.
If you don’t already know, “The Real” had to be added to the title because Filmation owned the rights to the name after it made a 1975 live-action series with that title. When Columbia Pictures made the 1984 film, they paid over $600k to license the name from Filmation. Most did not anticipate the huge success of the film and their deal did not include giving Filmation the rights to make an animated series based on the movie. Filmation later offered to make an animated series, but Columbia chose instead to give the contract to DiC. So Filmation then decided to make their own animated show based on their 1975 live-action sitcom. It was released not-coincidentally just a few days ahead of DiC’s series in daytime syndication (but its original run would only last 65 episodes until December of 1986). DiC titled their own cartoon adaptation of the movie The Real Ghostbusters to more directly distinguish it from the Filmation show. Having two shows with similar titles and subject matter was confusing for that first season, but the one officially connected to the beloved movie would ultimately win out. Though, I digress…
With a show about busting ghosts, it was only natural to have some special Halloween episodes. Most episodes would qualify as Halloween faire, but there are three specific episodes that aired at Halloween and specifically addressed the holiday. For this feature, those particular Halloween episodes of The Real Ghostbusters from the ’80s will be covered. So sit back, call the Ghostbusters and enjoy all three Halloween episodes right here!
“When Halloween Was Forever”
Season 1, episode 8 originally aired on November 1, 1986
When ancient ruins arrive in New York for examination, Samhain, the evil spirit of Halloween, is released from his centuries-old prison and seeks to make Halloween last forever by stopping time. Can the Ghostbusters prevent eternal Halloween?
“Halloween II 1/2”
Season 3, episode 7 originally aired on October 31, 1987
As a Halloween party takes place in the Firehouse, two of Samhain’s goblins release the evil spirit of Halloween from the Ecto-Containment Unit, and Samhain turns the firehouse into his fortress. The Ghostbusters’ attempts to take him down are foiled when the Junior Ghostbusters are captured by the vengeful spirit, and it’s up to Slimer to help get them out. (FYI, in season 3, Dave Coulier took over from Lorenzo Music as the voice of Venkman.)
“The Halloween Door”
Season 5, episode 12 originally aired on October 29, 1989 – “The Halloween Door” was a prime time Halloween special that aired on Sunday night on ABC. It was later shown as a normal episode later in the season as a rerun.
The Ghostbusters are propositioned by Crowley and his group (Citizens United Against Halloween), who want their help in ending Halloween. The guys turn him down, but one of their PKE meters is stolen and used by Crowley to accomplish his goal. Unfortunately, all he does is break a seal, opening our world to numerous ghosts – including the huge, rampaging Boogaloo – and giving the Ghostbusters a lot to handle on Halloween night.
One of my favorite parts of Halloween season are the old TV specials which bring me ’80s nostalgia in an instant. Most people remember Bugs Bunny, Charlie Brown and Garfield, but there are some others like The Real Ghostbusters which can be just as much fun if given the chance. Hope you enjoyed watching all three of them and have a Happy Halloween.