Cover art for a VHS release.

The Halloween That Almost Wasn't (released on VHS as The Night Dracula Saved The World) is a Halloween-themed TV special which first aired in the United States on ABC on October 28, 1979. It stars Judd Hirsch as Count Dracula and Mariette Hartley as the Witch. The plot concerns Dracula's attempts to persuade the reluctant Witch to fly across the moon at midnight, signalling the start of Halloween. If she does not, Halloween celebrations will end forever.


At home in Transylvania, Count Dracula and his assistant Igor are watching television. They see a news report which says that there are rumors that Halloween celebrations could be coming to an end forever and that Dracula is believed to be behind the attempts to end them. Dracula is horrified by the suggestion that he is behind attempts to stop Halloween, his favorite holiday, and is determined to save it.

A Transylvanian family are also watching the same news on television. The parents help to explain the news report to their son and daughter, telling them that Halloween has a long history, that it used to be called All Hallows' Eve, that jack-o-lanterns replaced earlier bonfires used to frighten away ghosts and that people began wearing costumes for protection, to fool ghosts into thinking that they were ghosts also. The two children enjoy Halloween celebrations and are saddened by the news that they might be about to end forever.

Dracula believes that Halloween is under threat because people are not frightened by other monsters anymore. He summons Frankenstein's monster, the Werewolf, the Mummy, the King of the Zombies and the Witch to his castle. He berates them for allowing themselves to become funny instead of scary, singling out the Werewolf for shaving his face and hands in a TV commercial for razor blades and Frankenstein's monster for becoming more interested in tap dancing than in frightening people. He tells them that if they do not become scary again quickly they will be fired and replaced.

The Witch announces that she wants to be replaced. She is fed up with being ugly and unloved. It turns out that the Witch is behind the rumors about the end of Halloween. The idea of the Witch wanting to quit is troubling because Halloween can not begin until she flies over the moon on her broomstick. The Witch presents Dracula with a list of demands that he will have to meet if he wants her to continue in her job. They include Dracula accepting the Witch as co-ruler of the monsters and allowing her face to replace his on T-shirts and other Transylvanian souvenirs. Dracula refuses and the Witch flies away. Dracula changes himself into a bat to fly after her and try to make her change her mind. The Witch tells him that the sun is rising and he will have to return to his tomb.

The following evening, the night before Halloween, Dracula and the other monsters go to the Witch's castle in an attempt to force her to fly over the moon and start Halloween. The Witch uses her powers to bring a painting of the Three Musketeers to life, forcing the monsters to fight them off, before locking herself in her room. Dracula changes into a tiny bat to crawl under the door but is swatted by the Witch. At three minutes to midnight, Dracula agrees to the Witch's demands. The Witch adds a new demand, that Dracula will have to take her disco dancing every night. Dracula accepts but the Witch changes her mind, saying that she does not want to be an ugly witch anymore.

At that moment, the two children who had been seen earlier arrive outside the door of the Witch's room. They are both wearing costumes, the girl being dressed exactly like the Witch. They beg the Witch to fly across the moon and start Halloween, telling her how much they love, jack-o-lanterns, wearing costumes, trick-or-treating and candy. They also tell the Witch that they love her just the way she is. The Witch is delighted to hear this. She flies over the moon and Halloween is saved.

The program ends by showing that Dracula has arranged a disco for the Witch. Nobody wants to dance with the Witch until she transforms herself into a beautiful blonde. At that point, Dracula casts off his cape to reveal a white disco suit and begins enthusiastically dancing with her.

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