Trick or Treat (1952 film)

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Trick or Treat
Donald Duck series
Trick or Treat (1952).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jack Hannah
Produced by Walt Disney
Story by Ralph Wright
Voices by June Foray
Clarence Nash
The Mellowmen
Music by Paul J. Smith
Animation by Volus Jones
Bill Justice
George Kreisl
Don Lusk
Dan MacManus (effects)
Layouts by Yale Gracey
Backgrounds by Yale Gracey
Studio Walt Disney Production
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s)
  • October 10, 1952 (1952-10-10)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 8 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Preceded by Uncle Donald's Ants
Followed by Don's Fountain of Youth

Trick or Treat is a 1952 American animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The cartoon, which takes place on Halloween night, follows a series of pranks between Donald Duck and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie who are aided by Witch Hazel. The film was directed by Jack Hannah and features the voices of Clarence Nash as Donald and his nephews, and June Foray as Hazel. The film introduced the song "Trick or Treat for Halloween" which was written by Paul J. Smith and performed by The Mellowmen.[1][2]


The film opens with the song "Trick or Treat for Halloween," the lyrics of which tell the story's lesson - one must be generous on Halloween or face trouble.

One Halloween night, Witch Hazel observes Huey, Duey, and Louie going trick-or-treating. The trio, dressed as a ghost, a devil, and a wizard, go up to the door of their uncle Donald Duck's house under a covered porch and ring the bell. Donald, however, decides to prank the boys, so instead of giving them candy, he deliberately puts firecrackers in their bags, then pulls a string leading to a rigged bucket of water hanging under the porch roof and tips it on the boys, causing them to get soaked. Donald laughs, says "So long, Boys!", and the discouraged nephews go and sit on the curb.

But Hazel, who was secretly watching the drama unfold, tries to comfort the boys. When she discovers that they believe in "real witches," she decides to help them get their treats from Donald after all. At first Hazel tries to convince Donald herself, but he skeptically retorts and pulls her stretchy nose, lets it go, and dumps another bucket of water on her as well. Realizing that the job may be harder than she thought, Hazel tells the boys that they will use her magic for this situation.

At another location, the nephews watch Hazel concoct a magic potion in a large cauldron. In a scene paying homage to Shakespeare's MacBeth (see Three Witches), Hazel adds ingredients somewhat toned down from the play. They include Eye of needle, tongue of shoe, hand of clock that points at two, Neck of bottle, tail of coat, and whiskers from a billy goat. Hazel tastes it and spasms before gurgling "Kids, this stuff's loaded!" She then fills a spray bottle of the potion and returns to Donald's house with the nephews.

Hazel sprays a Jack-o'-lantern, a can of paint, a gate, and three fence posts with the potion and they become an animated chorus of ghosts singing the theme song. Terrified by the magic demonstrated before him, Donald immediately agrees to give his nephews their deserved candy, but when Hazel refers to him as a pushover, he changes his mind. Donald locks his pantry and swallows the key. Hazel then uses the potion on Donald's feet to give her control of their maneuverability, and commands them to "kick out that key", causing Donald to perform a crazy dance. But when the key is kicked out, Donald throws it under the pantry door. Hazel then becomes mad and sprays Donald's feet again, ordering them to "smash that door down" with Donald. This is initially unsuccessful, so she tells Donald to "take a longer start, ABOUT A MILE OR TWO!" and he literally runs that far before charging at lightning speed and crashes, finally breaking down the pantry door and is left unconscious on the floor in defeat.

In the end, Huey, Duey, and Louie collect their treats and Hazel departs. A final shot shows the enchanted Jack-o'lantern suddenly pop onto the screen saying "Boo!" to the viewers before smiling.


The cover of Donald Duck #26 featuring "Trick or Treat"

A print adaptation by Carl Barks was published simultaneously in the Donald Duck comic book. Barks was given a storyboard of the film by Ralph Wright while production of the film was still in progress. Barks was asked to create a 32-page comic adaptation, yet Barks didn't believe he had enough material. In the end he wound up making a lot of his own material, even creating new characters such as Smorgie the Bad.

When the final product was sent to the publisher, Barks' segment with Smorgie was rejected, and the story was cut to 27 pages. To fill out the rest of the comic book, Barks created an additional story called "Hobblin' Gobblins." The original story was later restored with the publication of the Carl Barks Library.[3]

Disneyland Records also produced an audio adaptation that was narrated by Ginny Tyler who also voices Witch Hazel. This version was 12 minutes long and also included a song and story from the Haunted Mansion Disneyland attraction.[4]



  1. ^ Trick or Treat at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Trick or Treat' at The Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts
  3. ^ Trick or Treat With Donald Duck at Mouse Planet
  4. ^ Adaptation on Disneyland Records