A couple dozen Muppet Christmas movies and specials line my DVD shelf, but what I long to see and add to my collection is a wonderful Muppet Halloween special or movie. Despite episodes of The Muppet Show (1976) with guest stars Vincent Price and Alice Cooper and the gothic themed songs and sketches they inspired, my longing remains unquenched. The potential is there, but the Muppets have merely flirted with the macabre in select movie parodies, songs, and sketches, but these flirtations hint that a Muppet Halloween special could be hilarious and entertaining. When I recently visited a local thrift shop, my eyes scanned for Muppet merchandise that I did not have or did not see before when I happened upon a direct-to-video Sesame Street DVD from 2004. The front cover of A Magical Halloween Adventure had one of my favorite Sesame Street Muppets, The Amazing Mumford (Jerry Nelson) and boasted the multi-talented Caroline Rhea as a guest star. I was instantly sold and hoped that the Muppets finally owned Halloween. The title was shockingly unimaginative. If anything, it seems as if someone listed a brief description of the DVD in place of the title until they thought of a better one and forgot to make the change. I can forgive an uninspired title, but the lame title may have been a warning of what was to come. Elmo (Kevin Clash), Zoe (Fran Brill), and Telly (Martin P. Robinson) talk and sing about how much they love Halloween and all the many options they have for costumes. Suddenly, the Amazing Mumford enters on the scene. He meant to arrive at the Magic Tricks and Treats party, but ended up at Sesame Street due to a malfunctioning wand. He invites his three friends to go with him to the party. Mumford calls his friends Gilda the Great (Caroline Rhea) and Murray the Mediocre (Joseph Mazzarino) to let them know he is running late and bringing his friends the monsters. The special is almost like two specials in one. On one hand, there is Mumford trying to get to the party, but his wand keeps transporting him to the wrong place and there are cuts to Gilda and Murray freaking out because they are scared of monsters coming to their party. Then, there are scenes of Zoe, Elmo, and Telly learning about autumn instead of necessarily a “Halloween Adventure.” When Mumford’s wand transports them to a pumpkin patch or an apple orchard, the crew learn about a different aspect of autumn such as carving pumpkins, harvesting a crop, or making cider via short videos of kids. Although the videos include subjects about autumn, they really have nothing to do with Halloween except for one short video or kids dressing up in costumes or a family decorating pumpkins. It is as if the writers could not decide or agree on what direction to take the special. It should have been either a special about autumn OR a Halloween special. The show is bogged down with educational elements. The portions of the special starring Gilda and Murray are clever, fun, entertaining, and contact the excellent writing and wit that the Muppets are infamously known for. Rhea delivers as a fun guest star who compliments the Muppet characters. She does not try to upstage them or patronize them. She treats them as equals and fellow performers which is a classy and professional move on her part, but is also a technique that makes for a great human costar for the Muppets. As enthusiastic and respectful of education as I am, I feel that this special should have focused more on Halloween and the plot point of Mumford trying to get his friends to the party and Gilda and Murray freaking out about monsters. In the end, Gilda and Murray learned that they should not prejudge others or fear new people. They also learned that others are similar to themselves even when they initially seem completely different. These larger overall messages would have fulfilled the educational quotient of the special without over saturating it with factoids that took away from the overall quality of the show. Murray the Mediocre and Gilda the Great had some of the best lines of the show and stole every scene they were in. I wish the special contained more of these fun moments. It was also disappointing that the special did not utilize more of the rich and entertaining characters that have become mainstays of the show over the years. The shift of the show’s shift to a younger audience and its focus on Elmo lacks the charm of older seasons. The cast contains several other monsters that could have been equally if not more entertaining than Telly, Zoe, and Elmo. Cookie Monster could have ravaged the party of its cookies or Grover could have charmed Gilda with his kind disposition and made fast friends with Murray. It was also disappointing that the special did not include Bert and Ernie. Big Bird was regulated to a short video about harvesting crops when he toured a farm while asking children if we eat this or that crop. A Magical Halloween Adventure had entertaining and fun moments, but it missed the mark. Starting with an uninspired title and continuing with a script that lacked focus and direction, this direct-to-video special is disappointing and forgettable. After a closer inspection of the DVD cover, I noticed that pictures of Murray were hastily captioned as being Mumford. The Muppet and Sesame Street quality that I have grown to expect and respect is missing from this special. Rhea, Murray, and Mumford try to carry the rest of the ensemble and make up for poor writing. I still wait patiently for a wonderful Muppet Halloween special. I give this special 2 out of 5 rubber chickens! See larger image Sesame Street – A Magical Halloween Adventure Magical Halloween Adventure, A (DVD) Boo, Creak, Ahh, Shriek! Halloween is the time of jack-o-lanterns, dressing-up, and lots of silliness on Sesame Street. It’s a Halloween extravaganza when the monsters from Sesame Street get invited to a Tricks & Treats party. But when Mumford the Magician has some trouble with his magic wand, Elmo and friends get sidetracked on a wonderful hayride. Share in the surprises as they learn to carve pumpkins, make scarecrows, and discover that monsters don’t really have to be scary! Features special guest star Caroline Rhea as Gilda the Great! New From: $2.39 USD In Stock A Magical Halloween Adventure (2004)Jessica's Rating2.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.