During a village's Hallowe'en party, a young girl boasts of having witnessed a murder from years before. No one believes her tale until her body is found later on in the evening, drowned in the apple-bobbing bucket.


(as Charles Palmer)


(novel), (screenplay)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Judith Butler
Rowena Drake
Mary Higgins ...
Miranda Butler
Mrs Reynolds
Frances Drake
Edmund Drake
Reverend Cottrell
Miss Whittaker
Macy Nyman ...
Joyce Reynolds
Richard Breislin ...
Leopold Reynolds
David Yelland ...
Mrs Goodbody
Michael Garfield


When Ariadne Oliver and her friend, Judith Butler, attend a children's Halloween party in the village of Woodleigh Common, a young girl named Joyce Reynolds boasts of having witnessed a murder from years before. Joyce's story is heard by all the party, including her strange brother Leopold, the impeccable hostess Rowena Drake, her bookish son Edmund, and the local Reverend Cottrell. Mrs Whittaker, the church organist, and Frances Drake, Rowena's feisty daughter, are dismissive of her story, but later that evening Joyce's lifeless body is discovered face-down in the apple-bobbing bucket. At Mrs Oliver's behest, Poirot travels down to Woodleigh Common to investigate the murder. Although the local police and Joyce's stepmother dismiss the dead girl's claim, Poirot takes Joyce's story seriously. Mrs Goodbody, a gossiping charwoman, tells Poirot there have been a number of suspicious deaths in the village in recent years which Joyce could indeed have witnessed, and that old curses still ... Written by shanty_sleuth

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Release Date:

3 July 2011 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


(9 episodes)


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Did You Know?


The soundtrack music over the closing credits is an arrangement of the Poirot theme incorporating a violin line strongly reminiscent of Saint-Saëns' 'Danse Macabre', which viewers may recognize as also being the theme music used for the series Jonathan Creek (1997). See more »


Poirot quotes Shakespeare, saying that "Methinks the lady doth protest too much". This is a common but an incorrect quote. The writing actually says: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks.". The word 'protest' doesn't mean denying anything, but the same as 'vowing' in the current English language. See more »


[first lines]
Judith Butler: It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, Ariadne.
Ariadne Oliver: No, no. Better take my time. Last one looked like it had had its throat cut.
See more »

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User Reviews

I think this is one of my favourite recent Poirots
28 October 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I watched this adaptation last night and overall I was very impressed. Overall Agatha Christie Poirot is an adeptly made, classy and well acted series, and I have several favourites especially Five Little Pigs, Sad Cypress and After the Funeral. They have also had some misses such as Cards on the Table(actually very good until the last 30 minutes), The Murder of Roger Ackroyd(disappointing compared to the masterpiece that is the book) and Taken at the Flood(like Cards on the Table the ending completely let it down). Despite this, the series has more hits than misses, and fortunately Halloween Party is one of the hits.

The book is very good. More than one person on IMDb and outside of it remarked that it plods in the middle, that I agree with, but it has an intriguing story and memorable characters. This adaptation is very well done and one of my favourite recent Poirots actually. There are liberties taken of course, that I have no problems with, and these changes don't harm the story at all really. The story as to speak is just as riveting and intriguing as the book and is briskly paced. The adaptation also benefits from being well directed by Charles Palmer, and Mark Gatiss's script is very credible. I especially liked it when Poirot complains about his feet hurting and Ariadne goes on at him at wearing sensible shoes.

Halloween Party also has some beautiful production values. There are some atmospheric dark moments especially the beginning which was wonderful and some lovely autumnal ones. The photography is fluid, and the scenery and costumes are as always exquisite. The music is excellent too, simple yet hypnotic and effective. Then there is the acting which is superb. Mary Higgins was a good choice for Miranda and plays her well, while Julian Rhind-Tutt, Deborah Findley, Timothy West and Sophie Thompson are all excellent. Predictably, the best of the bunch are David Suchet who is outstanding once again as Poirot and Zoe Wannamaker who is a breath of fresh air as Ariadne.

All in all, very well done and actually one of my favourites. 9/10 Bethany Cox

21 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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