Tuesdays, ANIMATED INSIGHTS BY SHANNON MUIR takes you inside Shannon’s latest reflections on writing, animation, and life in general.  To catch up on all posts, check out the Animated Insights portion of the website! This week focuses on the magic of animation at special times, like Halloween.

Halloween animated specials aren’t quite in abundance as the holiday specials from Thanksgiving to the New Year, but they are becoming more common to be made as regular episodes of a new series, perhaps with hopes of becoming a marathon staple of the future. Some very specifically are about Halloween, some are more generically about the supernatural or the Fall season.

Just like the range of content, the quality varies quite a deal as well. From my opinion, the best specials seem to deal with getting interested in the characters of the show and from there seeing how the events affect them. The other night, for example, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the MICHAEL JACKSON’S HALLOWEEN special. Though thematically it rested on the spirit and energy of the iconic performer that inspired it, what engaged me were the young protagonists and how their choices in the special shaped them as characters; it didn’t rely solely on “the magic of Michael” to be successful yet felt bolstered by it.

Other specials I’ve seen focus on the spirit of the Halloween season, but don’t give me a chance to get to know the characters, whether by design or unintentionally. In these cases, it’s all about the scares, twists, and turns that are bolstered by the animation medium. Personally, I find myself bored with these, even if the art is great, because I don’t care about the story or characters.

Hope everyone has a safe Halloween season… until next time!

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