Is it just me, or is everyone of the same mindset that children’s Halloween specials completely stopped being relevant at some point during the early 1990s? Sure, an Are You Afraid of the Dark marathon is awesome, but I’m referring more to the “franchise characters experience the holiday” one-off specials, most memorably depicted in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown from 1966. But if anybody should be able to craft a frighteningly fun experience, it’s Pixar and the gang from Toy Story, and ABC recently announced the air date for their upcoming Toy Story of Terror will be Wednesday, October 16 of this year. So if the show is really good, then you can record it and watch it again and again either alone or with kids to get into the spirit of the spooky season. Conversely, if it turns out to be crap, it’ll have already been forgotten by the time the costumed candy coma hits.

One of the things holding some modern children’s specials back (and I’m directly referring to the DreamWorks Animation spinoffs) is how watered down the stakes are. Thankfully, the Toy Story films have never had that problem, and while I seriously doubt there will be any “terror” involved, the plot actually sounds like it came from a horror movie. (Or about seven horror movies.)

The toy gang is out for a fun road trip and they eventually get sidetracked when one of the toys goes missing at a roadside motel. To figure out what happened, the others go through a mysterious sequence of events, lest they all end up missing. The only question I have at this point is, “At what point in these characters’ lives is this taking place, and who is taking them on this road trip?”

I have to assume the Pixar team, including director Angus MacLane, will be peppering this short with nods to famous horror movies, particularly those that take place in and around a motel. I doubt anyone gets murdered in a shower here, but it would be nice if a less bloody Psycho reference is made, like a room full of stuffed birds or something. I won’t be upset if they leave out references to Vacancy 2: The First Cut.

Since a Toy Story project would be sorely lacking without the principal cast, it’s great news that Tom Hanks and Tim Allen will be reprising their respective roles of Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Joan Cusack, Timothy Dalton, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn and Kristen Schaal will also be returning to voice their loveable characters. The new addition here is Carl Weathers, who will give a voice to Combat Carl and Combat Carl Jr. Considering Combat Carl got blown to smithereens in the first Toy Story, there’s no telling if this is a copy or what, but Weathers is a welcome addition in any role.

This is the first of two Toy Story specials lined up, with the next one set to air in the spring of 2014. Can’t wait that long to see these guys in action? Rewatch the awesome Partysaurus Rex short below.

Partysaurus Rex on Disney Video

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