Treats by the Disney Archives

Inside a Halloween “Treat from the Walt Disney Archives”

By Justin Arthur

Each Halloween, all manner of ghosts and ghouls assemble at The Walt Disney Studios lot for a spooktacular soiree, but this year, something new has materialized. For the first time, the Walt Disney Archives is presenting an immersive Halloween-themed exhibit exclusively for employees of The Walt Disney Company and their “loved ones.”

The Walt Disney Archives has partnered with the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood over the years to present some ghoulish favorites from films like Hocus Pocus and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, but has never before developed an all-Halloween walk-through experience.

Treats by the Walt Disney Archives
Jack-o’-lantern with boxes of vintage children’s costumes

When asked to put together an exhibit especially for Disney employees this Halloween, we were monstrously excited. We dug deep into the crypts of the Archives to present some of our favorite artifacts from the creepiest films and the eeriest theme park attractions.

Magician’s table from The Prestige (2006) with the book, Something Wicked This Way Comes
Magician’s table from The Prestige (2006) with the book, Something Wicked This Way Comes
Carousel horse from Something Wicked This Way Comes (1984)
Carousel horse from Something Wicked This Way Comes (1984)

After selecting objects from a variety of places—from legendary theme park attractions to wacky Tim Burton films—we couldn’t figure out how to bring them all together. But that was only until we realized that almost all of these ideas had one thing in common: an attic. So with that in mind, we filled our “Archives attic” with all sorts of twisted treasures from our collection. Look carefully around our cobwebbed corridors, and you might spot a few “hidden” pieces—everything from Wizards of Waverly Place to Lost to The Prestige.

Vintage children’s costumes
Vintage children’s costumes
Cow Devil from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Magic Kingdom Park
Cow Devil from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Magic Kingdom Park

Upon entering the “newly dilapidated” historic Hyperion Bungalow, the exhibit begins with a celebration of Halloweens past. We’ve brought out some of our favorite children’s costumes from our Character Merchandise collection, as well as some devilish creatures from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Return to Oz.

Toy figures used by Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense (1999)
Toy figures used by Haley Joel Osmet in The Sixth Sense (1999)
Winifred Sanderson costume worn by Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus (1993)
Winifred Sanderson costume worn by Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus (1993)
Spell book from Hocus Pocus (1993)
Spell book from Hocus Pocus (1993)

In an Archives first, we are presenting props and costumes from the spine-chilling classics of director M. Night Shayamalan, including The Sixth Sense and The Village. No Halloween is complete without Hocus Pocus, and we have Winifred Sanderson’s (Bette Midler) costume, as well as her beloved book of spells.

Maquettes of Victor, Sparky, and Sea Monkeys from Frankenweenie (2012)
Maquettes of Victor, Sparky, and Sea Monkeys from Frankenweenie (2012)
Mickey Mouse rocker and Tombstones from Frankenweenie (1984)
Mickey Mouse rocker and Tombstones from Frankenweenie (1984)
Pluto velocipede from Frankenweenie (1984)
Pluto velocipede from Frankenweenie (1984)
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) “Halloweentown” diorama
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) “Halloweentown” diorama

In the farthest recesses of our attic, we celebrate the Disney films of director Tim Burton. From Halloweentown to the Hollywood Hills of Ed Wood, we bring together some of our favorite of his films, including Tim’s original Frankenweenie featurette from 1984. Disney Archives Founder and Chief Archivist Emeritus Dave Smith loaned Tim Burton vintage Disney Character Merchandise pieces for the original film, and we’ve re-created the Frankenstein family’s attic with these original treasures.

Tombstones from Haunted Mansion, Magic Kingdom Park
Tombstones from Haunted Mansion, Magic Kingdom Park
Music box from The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Music box from The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Elizabeth Henshaw portrait from The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Elizabeth Henshaw portrait from The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Madam Leota crystal ball from The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Madam Leota crystal ball from The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Female Ghost costumes from The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Female Ghost costumes from The Haunted Mansion (2003)
O-Iwa ghost gift to Walt Disney
O-Iwa ghost gift to Walt Disney

In the final and most delightfully unlivable room of our attic, we present curiosities direct from Gracey Manor. From the attractions to the feature film, we celebrate the Haunted Mansion in all of its ghoulish glory. Making her debut with the happy haunts is O-Iwa, the “lost ghost” from Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. After Walt Disney said that he was “out collecting” to fill his Haunted Mansion with “ghosts from all over the world,” someone in Japan took him quite literally. In 1965, Matsutaro Shoriki sent him the head of a Japanese Kabuki ghost named O-Iwa, complete with human hair!

Bride Audio-Animatronics® figure from Haunted Mansion, Magic Kingdom Park
Bride Audio-Animatronics® figure from Haunted Mansion, Magic Kingdom Park

Before finding a way out, look out for the ominous bride. We hear she’s “dying” to meet you.

For two days only, we invite you to visit us in the Hyperion Bungalow—where there’s always room for one more!