|Now, this one just plain sucks.|
I'm not really being fair by saying that, since it's intended not for me, but for toddlers, who will probably enjoy it. And, watching it today for the first time since the mid 90s, when I caught it on TNT of TBS or one of those, I enjoyed it a LOT more than I expected to. I was about 14 when I last saw it, and judged it as harshly as any 14 year old would. Half a lifetime (to the month) later, it's not as bad as I remember. I still had some trouble sitting through it, though; I had A.D.D. back before it was cool. This doesn't suck anywhere NEAR as much as The Wacky Adventures of Ronald Mcdonald" halloween episode. But watching THAT is worse than reading youtube comments.
In this 1979 special, Casper, the annoyingly cute ghost who lives in a cool house that emits bats periodically (a la the house in the Scooby Doo intro), Casper comes to save Halloween for a bunch of orphans. While it went under various titles, the title card says "He Ain't Scary, He's Our Brother." It's been released on video under that title, as well as "Casper's Halloween Special" and "Casper Saves Halloween." It's not the only Halloween special that can't keep its own title straight, so I won't hold THAT against it.
Anyway, Casper is all excited to go trick or treating, since people will think he's a REAL boy in a ghost costume, while the other ghosts in the house want to go "spooking" (why can't ghosts like that ever show up on the ghost tours I run?). While trick or treating, Casper runs with a group of orphans who plan to trick or treat in rich neighborhoods, since the rich people will have better candy. Being orphans, these kids haven't seen a lot of TV, so they don't know that the best candy will invariably come from the spooky old lady who lives in teh spooky old house on the edge of town and is rumored to be a witch. This being the 70s, before the whole business of scaring parents about poison candy started going around, the treats they get include a lot of fruit, cakes and other homemade, non-wrapped candy.
The orphans wander the streets, singing a song that goes "Halloween is the most when you play like a ghost /and you're going trick or treat!" They get turned away from the rich people's houses ("You're not from this neighborhood! Go someplace closer to home!" says the snooty butler, who is probably a big time racist. "We don't have a home," says one of the orpans, who apparently don't count the friendly orphanage as a home). The ghosts show up to spook the orphans, the police aren't very nice, and Casper himself has trouble fitting in with most trick or treaters. But the orphans like him, and he helps save the day. The orphans - who are awfully cheery, even for cartoon orphans - end up getting candy.
This special has be re-released SEVERAL times under various names, usually packaged with a handful of other Casper episodes (some Halloween related, some not - a great many on one release, in particular, seem to be set in space). That this one has been released so often when more deserving specials languish is a real shame, if you ask me.
The whole thing was on AOL video a while ago, but seems to have vanished from the internet for the moment.