You'll never hear me say a bad word about Michael Landon's charming Little House on the Prairie. It's one of the most humane, decent, life-affirming, adorable, moral series ever, and though that may sound boring, the show was anything but. Consistently excellent, Little House also holds up beautifully in repeats, Walnut Grove never aging but becoming ever more appealing to us, and Landon's genius evident in every scene. LHotP did several Halloween episodes, but my absolute favorite is the frequently hilarious and genuine nutty "The Monster of Walnut Grove" (which first aired on the day after Halloween in 1976).
We get to see Halloween at the Ingalls House, and things get cooking when the girls are out soaping windows and Laura spies into the Oleson's house and sees something she shouldn't. What's the gentle Nels Oleson doing brandishing a sword at his nagging wife Harriet? Things go from bad to worse to insane, scary and very funny as Laura misinterprets a decapitation and thinks Nels has killed his wife.
There's a huge dose of absurd humor in this one, not the least Laura's frequent statements about Nels cutting Mrs. Oleson's head off, always so matter-of-fact but very amusing. The episode has several short and imaginative dream sequences with Laura seeing all kinds of horrific things, and they're funny, too.
"The Monster of Walnut Grove" is a total delight, with all of LHotP's trademark warmth but ladled on this time with Michael Landon's light touch and sweetly wicked sense of humor. This is a must-see. The episode is on YouTube -- or was until today, when a whole lot of Little House vids were taken down, unfortunately. That's a really bad thing because The Hallmark Channel, current home of Little House on the Prairie, isn't running the Halloween episodes this holiday, which is a shame. They've got The Munsters and The Addams Family on the 31st, but not LHotP. Oh well, watch it on DVD, or read another paean to this great episode here on The Haunted Closet Blog, and you also might like this pretty funny and dead-on camp version from "Little Fairy on the Prairie" of one of Laura's nightmare's from this episode.