Tales from the Darkside (1983–1988)
18 user 4 critic

Trick or Treat (Pilot) 

Town miser Gideon Hackles spends Halloween hiding IOU's in his house, which he then rigs as haunted and invites local kids to search for the IOU's so he can scare them. This year, he gets his comeuppance.


Bob Balaban


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Barnard Hughes ... Gideon Hackles
I.M. Hobson I.M. Hobson ... Mr. Bindle
Max Wright ... Mr. Bundle
Joe Ponazecki Joe Ponazecki ... Atticus Kimble
Knowl Johnson Knowl Johnson ... Billy Kimble
Brenda Currin ... Sarah Kimble
Eddie Jones ... Victor Muldoon
Patrick Wilcox Patrick Wilcox ... Timothy Muldoon
Eevin Hartsough ... Bessie
Nancy Ellen Sutherland Nancy Ellen Sutherland ... Bessie's Mom
Jessica Rene Carroll Jessica Rene Carroll ... Rickert Daughter (as Jessica Carroll)
Joshua Miller Joshua Miller ... Rickert Son
Frances Chaney Frances Chaney ... Witch
Bill McNulty Bill McNulty ... Pirate
Ed French ... Devil


Town miser Gideon Hackles spends Halloween hiding IOU's in his house, which he then rigs as haunted and invites local kids to search for the IOU's so he can scare them. This year, he gets his comeuppance.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

29 October 1983 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tim Curry Is The Laugh Of The Zombie Pirate See more »


Atticus Kimble: We won't be there tonight, Mr. Hackles.
Gideon Hackles: Oh... maybe I better look at your records more carefully, perhaps the payments should be hire.
Atticus Kimble: Go ahead, take the farm if that'll make you happy. I'd rather that than let my boy visit you tonight. I'm just surprised the others let their children do it.
Gideon Hackles: Most people *make* their children do it.
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Tales from the Darkside Theme
Composed by Donald Rubinstein
Written by Erica Lindsay
Co-written by Donald Rubinstein
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User Reviews

Perfect viewing for this time of year!
28 October 2012 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

The Halloween spirit is alive and well in this pilot episode to the TV series, which is scripted by none other than zombie film master George A. Romero. Barnard Hughes, whom genre fans also know and love for his performance as Grandpa in "The Lost Boys", is devilish fun as greedy miser Gideon Hackles, a man to whom a great many people owe money. He relishes this fact and just lords it over them whenever he gets the chance, while referring to the select few who aren't in debt to him as the smart ones. Every Halloween, he allows the children of his town to enter his house and search for the I.O.U.'s which he hides; the parents of the lucky child to find these prized objects will have their debt forgiven. This Halloween, things go smoothly for him at first as he succeeds in scaring away various kids, until he receives his comeuppance from an unlikely source. Actor Bob Balaban, in one of his earliest directing gigs, does a fine job at creating a flavourful Halloween atmosphere, complete with all of the trappings of the season. This episode is short and sweet and very much gets to the point, and has that irresistible funhouse quality to it with every moment that is spent in Hackles's house. In addition to old pro Hughes, the cast features such familiar faces as I.M. Hobson, Max Wright, Eddie Jones, and Joshua Miller. Special makeup effects designer Ed Frenchs' creations are impressive, and he does double duty by also playing the Devil; Frances Chaney is a delight as the cackling witch. This was a good way to kick off the series; it starts out brightly, with some amusing dialogue, and ends in style; there's always a real satisfaction in stories that revolve around just desserts, and 'Trick or Treat' is no exception. Eight out of 10.

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