Real Ghostbusters: The Halloween Door

The Real Ghostbusters was animation's answer to the Ghostbusters movie; it provided kids with more adventure from the Ghostbusters and Slimer and probably made Paramount Pictures a buttload of money. Starting in 1986, the show lasted for six years and provided kids with almost 150 enjoyable episodes. To celebrate Halloween, I wanted to relive one of those episodes, one that I seem to remember much clearly than I should given that I haven't seen it since I was nine years old.

"The Halloween Door" is a special episode because it originally aired during prime-time. Instead of mixing this one up in the regular Saturday morning line up, the network wanted to show "The Halloween Door" in the 8 PM timeslot, allowing parents to watch it with their children. The episode is also special because it talks about the true meaning of Halloween.

Well, not really the true meaning but the writers placed emphasis on Halloween that is usually reserved for Christmas, that the holiday is overly commercialized and many people just don't "get it" anymore. The story kicks off when the team is approached by a man named Crowley (likely an allusion to Aleister Crowley, a 19th century British occultist) and his mission to get rid of Halloween. Crowley is the chairman of Citizens United Against Halloween and Lots of Other Stuff We Don't Like (an organization named through the straight-forward sense of humor the show had). His plan is to use a machine he built, the Electronic Positronic Anti-Halloween machine, to erase all aspect of Halloween from the world like costumes, Jack-O-Lanterns, and candy. When he uses the machine, however, it opens up the Halloween Door, a gateway to another dimension where demons went after leaving Earth through an contract they had with the ancient Druids. The leader of the demons is a giant with a body made up of a multitude of faces who goes by the name Boogaloo. Boogaloo's main goal is to cause as much havoc and destruction as possible. How do we know this? Boogaloo tells us...in a musical interlude.

Yes, another thing that makes this episode different from the rest is that it's a musical. Featuring two full-length songs, "The Halloween Door" throws back to classic Disney movies. The first song, performed by the Ghostbusters themselves, talks all about the holiday of Halloween and the wonder that it brings. While it's a little stereotypical to have Winston, the only black guy, take the lead in the song, it's a fun romp, if not a little cheesy. As a kid, I loved this song so much that I recorded it from the television using my boom box and a blank cassette tape. The second song is Boogaloo's, as I mentioned before. The coolest part about this one is that Boogaloo is voiced by Brian O'Neal, who was a member of The BusBoys and performed the song "Cleanin' Up The Town" for the original movie soundtrack. It was a clever way for the show to tie back into its roots and the films.

The real kicker of the episode is how it ended. When the Ghostbusters go up against Boogaloo but their proton packs run out of juice and their plan to reverse the Electronic Positronic Anti-Halloween machine goes to hell when they find it completely destroyed. But then a little girl named Emma shows up and offers her help, saying that "she's not afraid". This sparks the idea within Egon that Halloween is more than just "pumpkins, black cats and trick-or-treating". Halloween is about "kids rediscovering wonder". Ray catches on and explains that we dress up as monsters as a way to get over our fear of monsters and that kids understand the Halloween lesson; "if you're not afraid, it can't hurt you." This little loophole in the Halloween contract is enough to negate the demons' stay in our world and the Halloween Door sucks them back into their dimension.

"The Halloween Door" was a great way to get parents to spend time with their kids and get into the Halloween spirit. It had the charm that made The Real Ghostbusters popular but also contained something of a message about Halloween, which likely would have appealed to the grown up sensibilities, even if the message is just a sugar-coated retelling of the meaning of Christmas. Either way, "The Halloween Door" is a shining example of The Real Ghostbusters series and a fun way to celebrate Halloween.

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