Today’s Halloween Horrors entry presents the second half of a double dose of KISS in this year’s series. It is also the first to feature a certain Saturday morning icon, someone who not only has had his share of Halloween specials and spooky encounters, but also helped introduce many of us to numerous monsters and madmen: Scooby-Doo! It should really come as no surprise that Scoobs made this year’s roster, as really damned near all of the mysteries he finds himself involved with have more Halloween imagery than most Halloween specials. So, with as many televised holiday events as KISS has been involved with, is it really any surprise that they would eventually cross paths with the Mystery Inc. gang?

Johnny Skrabala will be taking today’s Halloween Horrors look at these titans of 1970’s pop culture, albeit in a much more modern presentation. One half of the Bloody Popcorn podcast and website, Johnny last joined our series back in 2017 for the Fiends, Freaks, and Final Girls series. This time, he shares a Halloween viewing recommendation that has very much become a part of his own family’s Halloween traditions.

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: October 4th, 2003

“A Scooby-Doo Halloween”

I just recently became aware of What’s New, Scooby-Doo? at the end of last year, while my kids were on Christmas break. I’m not sure what prompted it, but both kids became obsessed with and invested in the series on Netflix (and then Mystery Incorporated, which was amazing and which I was also unfamiliar with.) Despite it being just after Christmas, I was excited when a Halloween episode popped up during their binge watch. As a KISS fanatic, I was stoked that they were part of the episode. We have watched “Scooby-Doo and KISS: Rock And Roll Mystery” a hundred times, and I wrote about it on our site a few years ago. That movie also takes place at Halloween, though regrettably it only says it takes place at Halloween in dialog – there is no imagery that suggests it at all. So, I was doubly stoked for the earlier KISS/Scooby-Doo pairing, which very much embraces Halloween visually.

This wasn’t our first experience with this story, though. Back when Rock and Roll Mystery came out, my son, who was about 3 at the time, really became obsessed with Scooby-Doo. We watched a lot of the old shows and some of the other movies. We bought a kiddie graphic novel sort of thing called “Scooby-Doo: A Haunted Halloween”, which we read a ton of times. The book followed this same story, but omitted KISS entirely. So, when we were watching the episode, we were like, “Hey, that’s the book we have!”, but then were like, “Oh shit! And KISS shows up?!”

In the episode, which originally aired October 4th, 2003, and comes complete with a laugh track, the gang is on their way to Velma’s hometown, Banning Junction, where they are having a bog Halloween festival that just happens to feature KISS as the headliner. According to Shaggy and Scooby, Banning Junction is the place to spend Halloween. They are counting down the hours until Halloween: candy, KISS, more candy! Turns out, as things do, that the town is apparently being haunted by the ghost of the town’s founder, Hank Banning. We meet Velma’s aunt (Julia Sweeney) and uncle (Deidrich Bader), and her cousin, Marcy (Jenny McCarthy). Halloween symbols start showing up burned in the crop fields and the town is overrun with robot scarecrows.

To catch the culprit, Scooby and Shaggy go undercover disguised as a couple of said robot scarecrows. The gang follows the scarecrows to the town hall, where Halloween festivities are underway. It’s at this townhall party that KISS makes their entrance. Paul Stanley does his own voice here, but Gene is voiced by Tom “Spongebob” Kenny.

While the boys bang out “Shout It Loud”, Hank Banning’s ghost shows up in the hall to spoil the fun. KISS becomes the soundtrack as Banning’s ghost flies around terrorizing the guests and causing chaos. After the song ends, Velma has figured out who is behind the haunting. Everyone meets at the water tower for her to explain. After the mystery is wrapped up tight, KISS makes their exit, but not before asking who to talk to about getting paid.

This episode is everything a Halloween special should be. It’s got pumpkin carving, costumes, cornfields, a Halloween festival, candy, a special ending credits sequence, and KISS! More importantly to me, it’s something new to add to the Halloween watchlist every year. Proof that, no matter how deep we feel we’ve gone, how much we’ve uncovered, there’s always something new to celebrate this time of year – even if it’s something that’s been hiding in plain sight for 17 years.

Now, time to queue up KISS’s segments on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special. “Well, just what I’ve always wanted: four kisses on the first date!”