Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. Generally every year since childhood, I've celebrated a number of rituals to officially usher in the most wonderful time of the year. Watching Disney's Halloween Treat was one of these things and, thanks to the internet, I can now watch it anytime I want.
Though it's not an actual film, it's a series of Halloween appropriate Disney clips joined together with a narrator. The original version, aired in 1983, is 47-minutes long. The version I grew up watching is about 85-minutes and includes "Disney's Greatest Villains," which is narrated by a live action version of the Magic Mirror.
First up is the excellent "Night on Bald Mountain" segment from Fantasia. This is followed by "Mad Madam Mim's battle with Merlin" from The Sword in the Stone, a Silly Symphony short called “The Old Mill” about a stormy, spooky night at an abandoned windmill, and a short segment with Mickey scaring himself. Next up is "Donald and the Gorilla," which is one of my favorites, then the great nightmare sequence from "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day" with heffalumps and woozles, as well as "Pluto’s Judgement Day" about Pluto, some mischevious cats, and some bad nightmares, “The Truth About Cats” from Disney’s Wonderful World of Color about cats being persecuted for superstitious reasons and the Salem Witch Trials, and, finally, the obnoxious "We are Siamese" from Lady and the Tramp.
This is where the Halloween Treat originally ends and the villain segment takes over. The Magic Mirror discusses a number of important Disney villains and how misunderstood they are. First up is a Captain Hook segment from Peter Pan, followed by the butler from Aristocats, the ending of Mickey and the Bean Stalks (another childhood staple) with the giant, Kaa and Shere Khan from The Jungle Book, the evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, and a few brief clips of other villains.
The whole thing concludes with two older Disney cartoons. The first, “Lonesome Ghosts,” has Mickey, Donald and Goofy working in a Ghostbuster-style ghost hunting business. They are prank called by some ghosts, who "hire" them and then try to scare the living daylights out of them. The last one, my absolute favorite, is called “Trick or Treat” and features Donald and the three ducklings. Huey, Duey, and Louie are trying to trick or treat, but Donald nastily torments them. Witch Hazel comes upon them, and, taking pity, makes a powerful witches brew to transform their Halloween into something magical. And, of course, they get revenge on Donald.
If you didn't grow up watching this or watching lots of Disney films, you're probably going to be pretty bored. But if you're part of my generation, you've probably seen it a million times already. It's also great for people with young children, though unless they've seen all the Disney movies, they might be a little confused. I love it. It still makes me excited for Halloween and fortunately now it's much easier to find. It is available for purchase on VHS for a million dollars, on bootleg DVD, or you can watch the whole thing on Youtube. The Youtube link, which is in 9 parts, also has a link right under the video where the whole thing is available for download.