It’s practically Halloween every day on Bewitched, given Samantha’s (Elizabeth Montgomery) and Darrin’s (Dick York) everyday lives. However, the Halloween vibes are laid on with an extra kick in the Season 3 episode, “Twitch or Treat.”
Endora wishes to host a Halloween party, but finds herself hosting it at Sam’s and Darrin’s when Darrin demands that she get rid of her conjured-up home across the street from theirs. Add in a dash of Arthur’s antics, a dose of Gladys’s snoopy tendencies alongside her paranoia, and a hint of a family feud, and we’ve got one interesting concoction that makes for a Halloween everyone will remember.
Samantha’s always busy tackling one problem, misunderstanding or another, but she’s really got her hands full on this particular spooky holiday. She jumps from problem to problem, trying to smooth things over between the feuding Endora and Arthur, appease Darrin’s wishes, keep Gladys Kravitz and the other mortals at bay, and deal with another woman hitting on Darrin, all while still enjoying herself at Endora’s Halloween party. It’s one of my favorite Halloween episodes, and it’s a good celebration of the holiday, Bewitched-style.
A Halloween Not Fit For Mortals
Naturally, Gladys is suspicious and goes overboard in “Twitch or Treat.” Perhaps Halloween really did get to her, and she was more spooked than usual. Though, I might question my own eyesight and imagination if I witnessed a black cat turn into a human girl before my very eyes, too. Plus, she did get zapped from the Stephens’ front door to her own. That would freak out anyone, unless they convinced themselves they just didn’t remember walking the distance.
However, unlike other episodes, Gladys isn’t the only one snooping around the goings-on at the Stephens residence. Arthur’s knack for comedy and jokes really comes in handy when it comes to dealing with Gladys’s shenanigans in this episode. She calls up a local councilman, who brings along his campaign manager, to check out the party taking place at the Stephens’. The two, albeit reluctantly (at least initially), go to investigate and find quite the surprise when they keep entering the house, only to find no one in it. It’s thanks to Uncle Arthur that the two keep missing the party entirely, even though it’s currently going on, with Sam and Arthur watching and chuckling at the two men’s plight. The two men are definitely confused; plus, they’re baffled at how small the house is, given the size of it from the outside. Eventually the two just give up, deciding to let the mystery remain just that—a mystery. Nothing makes sense, so in a way, the councilman and his campaign manager get a taste of what Gladys feels like on a daily basis. Strange things are afoot with no logical explanation, but not only is that Halloween, it’s also life at the Stephens’.
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble
It seems Sam’s always playing peacemaker, trying to keep her relatives and her husband happy. It’s often a hefty task, especially when there’s a particularly vicious feud going on, as is the case in “Twitch or Treat.” Carried on from the previous episode is Endora and Arthur’s ongoing feud, which began with the zapping of a house across the street from Sam’s—the two were zapping it in and out frequently, much to everyone’s consternation. From then on, the two have gone out of their way to push each other’s buttons and escalate their fight.
Clearly, the two siblings are far from calling it a truce, and Sam has grown tired of it. Still, she rises to the task of trying to conduct damage control between the two, to the best of her abilities. Endora decides to host her Halloween extravaganza in Sam’s living room once Darrin demands that her house across the street be gone—or else—and Sam goes against Endora’s wishes by inviting Arthur to the celebration. While Endora considers it blackmail, Sam calls it love—family isn’t perfect, but they should be invited to celebrations. Though, maybe not in the midst of a feud, given the instances between Endora and Arthur in this episode where they continually give one another a hard time. Endora knocked Arthur out of a tree, he played a joke on her during the party, he kept interrupting her rendition of “‘Twas the Night Before Halloween” with obnoxious, but yet hilarious, comments, and ultimately, she made him a part of a fountain, commenting that that ought to “dampen” Arthur’s spirits. They never seem to find a way to get along—unless they’re apart.
Sam also tries to honor Darrin’s wishes, firstly in getting rid of Endora’s previously conjured up home across the street from theirs, which drives Darrin absolutely mad. He doesn’t like his mother-in-law popping in at random; her possession of a house just across the street must seem pretty unbearable.
Nevertheless, Darrin was being a tad unfair—the house was only supposed to remain for the duration of Endora’s party, and he was forcing Sam to fix it, when she had nothing to do with it to begin with. Still, Sam, being the good wife and person that she is, still manages to find a compromise for all parties involved. She doesn’t necessarily agree to Endora using her living room to stage the party for her guests, but Sam’s a good sport and goes along with it. Perhaps because Sam had wanted to attend all along—she did express an interest in wanting to hang out with the intriguing partygoers, all of whom were of the supernatural world. One was even a cat, turned human until the strike of midnight.
Somewhere in there Darrin had to compromise, and it didn’t seem like he had such a bad time. Though Sam was clearly annoyed when the cat-turned-human girl tried sinking her claws into Darrin, and Sam addressed it firmly yet with a classy manner, in which she declared Darrin was hers, and took away the whiskers the girl had placed on Darrin. Though she kept hitting on Darrin throughout the night, the problem was eventually solved when she reverted into a cat—a black cat—once more, and Sam took her off Darrin and sent her on her way. Sam didn’t once turn green with jealousy; her trust in Darrin is admirable, and the fact that she addressed the situation without causing a scene at the party makes me respect her and her methods that much more.
A Halloween Party Everyone Wants To Attend
Willie Mays the baseball player makes an appearance at the party; the potential for celebrity witches is great. Endora’s rendition of “‘Twas the Night Before Halloween.” Arthur’s practical joking. The company. Food and drinks that never run out, served on floating trays. Decorations galore, dancing aplenty. The party transferring from Sam’s house to Venice. The only thing missing is “The Monster Mash.” Though knowing how Sam and plenty of the other witches feel about mortal gimmicks when it comes to the eerie holiday, it’s not surprising that they would stray from popular songs like “The Monster Mash”, along with costumes—especially those depicting ugly witches, which has offended Sam and her family in the past. It’s the kind of Halloween party Sam probably prefers compared to mortal ones, as she can be herself and feel more at home with familiar faces and traditions, without having to worry about stereotypes and the like. In a way, Endora’s party is more authentically Halloween. Everyone appears as their supernatural selves.
I suppose that, after attending a Halloween party like this, especially when it’s hosted by Endora, any other parties would pale in comparison. It really captures the essence of the spooky holiday, but not in a gory or scary way. Just in a fun, lighthearted manner with a few hijinks here and there. It makes the party unpredictable, and a party where anything can go, consisting of guests with all sorts of fascinating backgrounds, often makes for an unforgettable celebration. Darrin commented that it was the most “unusual” Halloween party he’d ever been to—coming from Darrin, that’s actually a high compliment.
Sam expressed interest in celebrating Halloween with Darrin’s family the next year, and perhaps spending Thanksgiving with her own—an idea that Darrin seemed a little nauseous over. Maybe for Darrin, he just had to take it a holiday at a time, and try holidays with a little witchcraft added every other year or so. Though personally, I wish I could snag an invite to Endora’s party—actually, I wish those kinds of parties existed.
Nonetheless, I love celebrating with some good old fashioned pumpkin carving, Halloween music, and a movie like Halloweentown playing in the background—or a special Halloween episode from one of my favorite shows, like “Twitch or Treat.”