The Grinch is well-known for his dislike of Christmas; Halloween, on the other hand, is the perfect night for Grinchly amusement.
While not possessing the classic element of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Halloween is Grinch Night displays Dr. Seuss’ personal wackiness on a whole new level. Instead of the heartwarming whimsy of the Christmas spirit, this television special is a creepy cacophony, with some surprising tender moments.
There isn’t much of a solid plot; the Grinch is awakened by a sequential series of natural noise, from the Sour-Sweet Wind to the Hakken-Krakks howling up to Mt. Crumpit. And when that Sour-Sweet Wind kicks up, the Whos know to get themselves (and their potted plants) strictly indoors, keeping well-informed by the Grinch Alarm Center.
As Euchariah Who and his family, all with charmingly rhyming names, watches the Grinch’s antics, the young visually-impaired Who slips out of the house to visit the ‘euphemism,’ or the outhouse. Unfortunately, that Sour-Sweet Wind sweeps him right up the mountain, soon to find himself in the Grinch’s menacing path.
The music and songs aren’t largely memorable, until rewatched and then remembered as they come up, but are largely well-fitted and amusing, with one exception. I’m sure many of us wonder why little Max the dog stays with the Grinch at all, considering the abuse he is subject to. This special includes insight into Max’s situation, his unhappiness, and a glimpse into his past with a short but touching song, “How Many Times.” The song is a sudden moment of consideration amidst the otherwise quirky scenes. The moment doesn’t last long but remains memorable for its poignancy, similar to the final moments of The Lorax.
Aside from that more serious moment, the rest of the special is entertaining with a nice creepy factor. The Grinch’s Paraphernalia Wagon, in particular, serves as the setting for the other memorable scene wherein young Euchariah faces all the Grinch’s monsters and “spooks.” Wonderfully spooky, a little crazy, but not too intense, the scene is a top example of Dr. Seuss’ imagination on a rampage.
The animation is classic Dr. Seuss-style animation, with fun colors and those characteristic scratchy pencil marks. The Peraphernalia Wagon is essentially an animated art gallery, as if the special was created simply to show off all of these surreal designs – and I, for one, am not complaining. Dr. Seuss’ art never ceases to amaze.
Halloween is Grinch Night serves as an entertaining outside-of-the-box option for Halloween season viewing. With some clever one-liners, colorful animation, and a sweet ending, this special is no How the Grinch Stole Christmas but it’s a solid addition to the Dr. Seuss animated specials.
Kajsa is a writer from foggy San Francisco, who lived briefly in sunny LA, only to end up in rainy Portland, OR. She spends most of her time writing, binge-watching animated movies, and working in web design. With a soft spot for stop-motion, her favorite films are Coraline, Castle In The Sky, and The Thief and the Cobbler (Recobbled). You can find her on Twitter, or Pinterest, and most other social media @TheKajsaRain, or at Disneyland.