If you’re like me, you’re sadly not spending this spooky season at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in Magic Kingdom. In fact, if you’re like me, you’re not even going out and you’ll most likely be spending October 31st sitting on the couch watching movies.
Being like me is, apparently, pretty boring.
Even if you’re not getting the chance to spend it at a park, though, there are still some neat ways to combine Disney fandom with Halloween spookiness!
I absolutely love Halloween, so even if I don’t have any big plans I still try to find ways to celebrate during the season. Movies, costumes, pumpkin carving, and even musical selections can all be a part of getting lots of Disney and Halloween into my life throughout October. Here’s my recipe for some frightful fun:
Tunes of Terror
What’s the Halloween season without some appropriately spooky music?
I’ve got a huge collection of Disney tunes, from the movies and the parks, so it’s not tough for me to put together a Halloween-themed playlist that includes songs like “Grim Grinning Ghosts” from the Haunted Mansion and “I’ve Got Friends on the Other Side” from Princess and the Frog. So one way to be sure you’re listening to the spookiest possible selections is to just make your own Disney Halloween playlist.
Maybe you don’t have all of these songs, though, or just don’t have access to your playlist when you’re out and about? Check out the offerings on music streaming service Spotify. They’ve got pre-made playlists such as “Disney Halloween” and “Disney Villains” to get you into the holiday spirit, and you can access the service from a computer or a smartphone. There’s a free version as well as a paid premium one (I use the free version at the moment). The Halloween playlist has the songs you’d expect–like selections from The Nightmare Before Christmas, but there are also a few neat oddities like “Monster Mash” sung by Goofy.
My wife and I have a tradition in which we watch a bunch of “seasonally appropriate” movies and cartoons during October. We have a few standards that we’ll make time for, and we try to toss in some new things into the mix each year as well.
First up, the cartoon shorts. This year’s list:
Skeleton Dance (1929): A quartet of skeletons getting their groove on in a graveyard one spooky night. This is one that I’ll watch every Halloween (and sometimes other times of the year just because it’s awesome), and it’s a lot of fun. Also, it was the very first Silly Symphony!
Haunted House (1929): Another Silly Symphony from the early days of Disney animation, this one features Mickey Mouse and a spooky mansion. During his adventure he encounters a grim reaper, and there are more skeletons dancing (it looks like this and Skeleton Dance shared some animation). This is another of my “must see classics” that I’ll watch every year.
Mad Doctor (1933): I threw this into the rotation this year for the first time. In this, Mickey enters a creepy castle to rescue Pluto from a mad scientist who’s intent on mixing the hapless pooch with a chicken (like you do). During Mickey’s quest he encounters skeletons (who are, unsurprisingly, dancing) as well as some other terrors.
Egyptian Melodies (1931): This one I had never even heard of, until it came up as a suggestion on YouTube while I was seeking out other spooky-themed Disney shorts. In this, some mummies pop out of their sarcophagi to do some dancing in an ancient tomb.
Side note, before I continue: Walt Disney and his animators seem to have really liked the concept of epic undead dance parties.
Lonesome Ghosts (1937): A Halloween mainstay. This short stars Mickey, Donald, and Goofy as a trio of hapless ghost hunters who end up being called to a house that’s haunted by a group of mischievous spirits. This is probably my favorite of all the old Disney cartoons. Also, at one point Goofy states “I ain’t scared of no ghost” several decades before a Ghostbuster ever uttered the phrase.
Trick or Treat (1952): I love Donald Duck, and I love Halloween, so watching this one is a no-brainer (mmmm… braaaainnssss). Donald is more focused on tricks than treats when his nephews come to the door, but then they team up with a witch and things get weird. This one has a great song, “Trick or Treat on Halloween”, that’ll most likely haunt your mind long after the cartoon has ended.
Ghoul Friend (2013): In this fairly new cartoon, Mickey encounters a zombified Goofy while out for a pleasant drive. Hijinks, as one would expect, ensue. I had seen this somewhere at some point (in all honesty, I think it was playing in the Disney Store when I was in there one day) and wanted to add it into the Halloween rotation.
All of these can be easily found on YouTube, and Lonesome Ghosts is also an extra on some versions of the The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad DVD.
Next, some Halloween-themed movies:
Nightmare Before Christmas: I mean, obviously.
Hocus Pocus: It’s funny how this one sort of vanished into obscurity/cult status and then suddenly got a big shove back into popularity and now has a presence in the parks. It’s silly and really cheesy, but it has witches in Salem on Halloween so it’s another obvious choice to watch.
Under Wraps: OK, I’m going to spend a bit more time on this one. We discovered Under Wraps, a Disney Channel original movie from 1997, recently while searching for new things to add to our watch list. It’s available to rent or buy via download on iTunes and other services (getting a physical copy is a very difficult and expensive undertaking), and it was amazing in both its campiness and entertainment value. The story revolves around three pre-teens who happen to come across an Egyptian mummy (whom they name Harold), who gets reanimated, and then there’s a zany adventure while they try to hide him and help him. It’s ridiculous, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Based on our enjoyment of Under Wraps, we then watched the 1998 Disney Channel original movie Halloweentown, about a family of witches and a town populated by all sorts of Halloween creatures. We were… less than impressed with it, but it had its entertaining moments.
Haunted Mansion: This Eddie Murphy family comedy, loosely based on the attraction, is admittedly one of my guilty pleasures. I know it’s a bad movie, but I own a copy and feel it’s a suitable addition to a Halloween film fest (my wife, however, requested that I watch it when she’s at work). I mean, I have to stress that it’s terrible and has virtually no redeeming features other than a few fun nods to the ride, but for some reason I just enjoy watching it now and again. I’m a little ashamed by this.
For the past handful of years, our jack-o-lanterns have had a definite Disney theme.
A few years back, for a Halloween party, we put together Captain Hook and Mr. Smee costumes.
So even if I can’t spend time at Magic Kingdom during Halloween, I’ve still found ways to celebrate the season at home and incorporate my love of Disney into the mix. We’ll hopefully get to Mickeys Not-So-Scary Halloween Party someday, but until then we’ll keep getting our “spooky” on at home and do it with some pixie dusted style!