Garfield's Halloween Adventure

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Garfield's Halloween Adventure
Created by Jim Davis
Written by Jim Davis
Directed by Phil Roman
Starring Lorenzo Music
Thom Huge
Gregg Berger
C. Lindsay Workman
Desiree Goyette
Theme music composer Ed Bogas and Desiree Goyette (music and lyrics)
Lou Rawls and Lorenzo Music (vocals)
Country of origin United States United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Jay Poynor
Producer(s) Phil Roman
Editor(s) Mark R. Crookston
Sam Horta
Running time 24 minutes
Production company(s) Film Roman
United Media Productions
Original network CBS
Original release October 30, 1985
Preceded by Garfield in the Rough
Followed by Garfield in Paradise

Garfield's Halloween Adventure (originally titled Garfield in Disguise) is a 1985 American animated television special based on the Garfield comic strip. It is directed by Phil Roman and written by Garfield creator Jim Davis, and features the voices of Lorenzo Music, Thom Huge, Gregg Berger and C. Lindsay Workman.

The special is a ghost story with a pirate theme, originally aired near Halloween and afterwards often played around the time of the holiday. It won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program and was also the subject of an illustrated children's book adaptation.


Garfield is awakened early in the morning by the obnoxious Binky the Clown Show and learns that it is Halloween, thrilled at the prospect of obtaining a mass of candy via trick-or-treating. He hatches the idea of deceiving Odie into thinking dogs are required to trick-or-treat with cats and give almost all of their candy to them, save one piece of candy for the dog. Odie is tempted by the minimal reward, and the two head for the attic to find costumes in an old trunk. After considering a number of options, Garfield decides on pirate costumes.

Jon Arbuckle gives them sacks and tells them to have a good time and not to be out too late. They head out trick-or-treating amongst other children in the neighborhood. When Odie expresses fear, Garfield assures him the scary characters they see are only children in costumes, only to lift some of the costumes and discover the characters are actually supernatural. At the end of the evening, they arrive on a dock and Garfield decides to cross the river on a row boat to visit more houses. When Garfield tells Odie to put out the oars, Odie misunderstands the command and throws the oars overboard, leaving the boat adrift as the current takes it down the river.

Soon the boat arrives at an abandoned dock near a run-down mansion. They venture inside the home, thinking it is deserted, but are startled to find an old man sitting in an armchair. The man relates a story that exactly 100 years ago, pirates, pursued by government troops, buried their treasure in the floor of the mansion and signed a blood oath to return for the treasure at midnight 100 years later, even if it meant rising from the grave. The old man says he was the pirates' 10-year-old cabin boy. Garfield and Odie start to leave and Garfield asks the man if he wants to come too, but the old man has disappeared. The man steals their boat and leaves the two behind.

The longcase clock chimes midnight and Garfield and Odie watch as a ghostly ship materializes on the river and pirate ghosts emerge from the water. Garfield and Odie hide in an empty cupboard as the ghosts reclaim their buried treasure from the floorboards of the house. As the cat and dog stay where they are, Odie sneezes and it alerts the ghosts to their whereabouts. Making a run for it, Garfield and Odie jump into the river to escape, where Odie has to save Garfield as he cannot swim. Garfield and Odie wash ashore and find their boat with the candy still inside and untouched. They go home happy and Garfield rewards Odie's rescue by reluctantly giving him his rightful share of the candy.


  • "Good Morning" (instrumental)
  • "This is the Night (Trick or Treat)" performed by Lou Rawls
  • "Scaredy Cat" (instrumental)
  • "Breakfast" (instrumental)
  • "What Shall I be" performed by Lorenzo Music
  • "Yo Ho Ho Ho" performed by Lorenzo Music
  • "Scaredy Cat" performed by Lou Rawls
  • "Yo Ho Ho Ho (reprise)" performed by Lorenzo Music


Phil Roman, who previously directed Garfield specials Here Comes Garfield and Garfield on the Town, founded his own company called Film Roman to continue producing the specials. Garfield in Disguise was one of the first specials he made under his own company, after Garfield in the Rough.[1] Writer Jim Davis stated he intended the special to begin on a familiar tone, then "go somewhere that would at least scare 4-year-olds."[2] For the part of the old man, C. Lindsay Workman was cast as the voice, having previously voiced Garfield's grandfather in Garfield on the Town. Producer Lee Mendelson chose Workman, searching for a deep voice.[2]

The animation was carried out in Indiana, with Davis saying animators sought to achieve a "swirly, cross-dissolve" effect to portray the ghosts.[2] The animators also sought to give the ghosts a glowing affect. Workman's character was designed to emphasize his advanced age, with one staff artist urging the addition of warts and different-looking eyes.[2] For the musical score, Ed Bogas and Desiree Goyette were employed, having previously worked on Garfield television specials.[3]

Broadcast and publications[edit]

Announced as Garfield's Halloween Adventure,[3] Garfield in Disguise was originally aired on October 30, 1985, along with the 1966 Peanuts special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,[4] on CBS.[5] In later years, it was often aired in the Halloween season along with It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.[6] By 2015, Garfield's Halloween Adventure was not regularly broadcast.[7]

A 64-page illustrated book adaptation was published in 1985 by Random House Publishing Group,[8] originally under the title Garfield in Disguise and later retitled Garfield's Halloween Adventure. It includes an alternate ending in which Garfield steals a ring from the pirates' treasure, resulting in the ghosts pursuing the protagonists back to the Arbuckle house, where Garfield surrenders the ring. The special was included on the DVD The Garfield Holiday Collection on November 4, 2014, sold only by Walmart, and was also made available for digital download on November 11 that year.[9]


In 1985, Rick Sherwood of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called the special "a charming story" and Garfield "the classic kitty."[10] The Bryan Times in Ohio praised the special as "hilarious."[11] In 1986, Garfield's Halloween Adventure won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.[12] It was the third Garfield special to win the Emmy, with the only other nominee being another Garfield special, Garfield in Paradise.[11] In 1988, Jon Burlingame of Hendersonville's The Times-News panned Garfield’s Halloween Adventure as "more up-to-date but charmless" in comparison to It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and objected that the Peanuts special was aired less in favour of the Garfield cartoon.[13]

In a 2013 roundtable, The A.V. Club writers analyzed Garfield’s Halloween Adventure, with Erik Adams judging the special to be distinguished in Garfield TV canon by "Its abrupt left turn into abject terror," and concluded it was nearly as good as It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.[6] Molly Eichel agreed "the special takes a left turn into something more sinister."[6] In 2015, Johnny Brayson of Bustle wrote "I may be in the minority, but I consider Garfield's Halloween Adventure to be on equal footing with Charlie Brown," citing its humor and horror.[7]


  1. ^ Jeff Lenburg, Who's who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television's Award-Winning and Legendary Animators, Applause Theatre and Cinema Books, 2006, p. 306.
  2. ^ a b c d Erik Adams, "Jim Davis wanted Garfield’s Halloween Adventure to 'at least scare 4-year-olds'," The A.V. Club, 27 October 2014, URL accessed 3 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Garfield Pounces Into Action for Halloween Special," The Evening News, 27 October 1985, p. 2E.
  4. ^ Judy Flander, "Garfield and Linus Find Halloween Spirit," The Ledger, 30 October 1985, p. 13A.
  5. ^ Tim Brooks and Earle F. Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, Random House Publishing Group, 2007, p. 1655.
  6. ^ a b c Erik Adams, Phil Dyess-Nugent, Molly Eichel and Ryan McGee, "Garfield has a traumatic, horrifying Halloween," The A.V. Club, 30 October 2013, URL accessed 3 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b Johnny Brayson, "9 Family-Friendly Halloween Movies That'll Remind You What The Holiday Is All About," Bustle, 26 October 2015, URL accessed 3 October 2016.
  8. ^ Jim Davis, Garfield's Halloween Adventure, Random House Publishing Group, 1985.
  9. ^ Teresa Jue, "Jim Davis talks 'Garfield' origins, holiday specials, and calls Garfield 'a human in a cat suit'," Entertainment Weekly, 4 November 2014, URL accessed 3 October 2016.
  10. ^ Rick Sherwood, "Garfield's Up to Tricks in Halloween Cartoon," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 20 October 1985, p. 23.
  11. ^ a b "Jim Davis wins 3rd Garfield Emmy," The Bryan Times, 30 September 1986.
  12. ^ Staff, "1985–1986 Emmy Awards", Information Please Database, Pearson Education, Inc., retrieved 2007-12-03 
  13. ^ Jon Burlingame, "'MacGyver' returns with a Halloween episode," The Times-News, 31 October 1988, p. 17.

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