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20px-Cquote1.png WHO'S BEEN WAITING FOR ME!? HUH?! HUH?!

Invader Zim Episode
Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom
Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom (Title Card).png
Previous: Battle of the Planets
Next: Mysterious Mysteries
Episode No: Episode 14
Production No: 16
Airdate: October 26, 2001
Writer(s): Jhonen Vasquez
Rob Hummel

"Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom" is the 14th episode of the first season of Invader Zim. It first premiered on October 26, 2001, on Nickelodeon.

Plot Summary

SPOILER WARNING OF DOOM: This section or article may contain spoilers!

Nightmare Bitters 1.jpg

It is Halloween, and the entire town is getting into the Halloween spirit.

Zim, unfamiliar with the holiday, panics when he becomes convinced that the Skoolchildren have transformed into candy-starved monsters, so he fortifies his base to protect his blood from them.

Meanwhile, Dib has been acting crazier than normal, seeing strange hallucinations of hideous creatures. The class decides to use one of their Crazy Cards, and Dib is taken to the Crazy House for Boys.

However, this is a cover-up for the truth that Dib is really being teleported to an alternate dimension due to meddling with one of his father's inventions. The "flashes", as he calls them, get progressively longer, and Dib predicts that he will eventually be stuck in the Nightmare Realm forever. He escapes from the insane asylum, but is unable to return home.

Halloween 5.jpg

Instead, Dib goes to Zim's house, in hopes that the alien can help him. Zim, of course, refuses, but ends up getting involved in Dib's problems anyway, when both of them are permanently teleported into the Nightmare Realm. Zim and Dib decide to work together to get home, which is through Dib's mind. This truce does not last long, however, and only a short period of time passes before Dib leaves Zim to be captured by the Halloweenies.

Dib finds himself in the Nightmare version of his house, only to be captured by Nightmare Membrane and Nightmare Gaz. While in captivity, Zim meets the leader of the Halloweenies, Nightmare Bitters. She explains that they want to capture Dib so they can travel through the portal in his mind to take over the real world. Zim escapes the Halloweenies, but has to save Dib.

Meanwhile, Nightmare Bitters has opened the portal in Dib's head, but Zim shows up with a mech he found in Nightmare Membrane's lab just in time. The robot slows down Nightmare Bitters and the Halloweenies long enough for Zim to force his way through the portal in Dib's head. Meanwhile, Dib is left trapped in the Nightmare Realm, surrounded by Halloweenies, until he manages to force himself through the portal in his own head, much to the Nightmare Bitters' chagrin.

Halloween 8.jpg

Back in the real world, Dib and Zim abruptly appear (as a result of having to go through his own head, Dib shows up inside-out, but he somehow manages to turn himself right-side-out instantaneously).

All seems well for Dib and Zim, until Nightmare Bitters also forces her head through the not-quite-gone portal, but triumph turns to horror when the first thing she sees is GIR, who has become morbidly obese from eating all of the skoolchildren's candy. Convinced the real world is far worse than the Nightmare Realm, Nightmare Bitters retreats and closes the portal for good.

End of Spoilers: There are no further spoilers for this section or article. You can breathe now.

Facts of Doom

Cultural References

  • One of the nightmare monsters appears to be a violet-eyed silhouetted version of Johnny C from one of Jhonen Vasquez's comics, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. The fans have dubbed him Nightmare Nny and he can be seen three times:
    • When the camera pans down in Nightmare Bitters' Lair, he can be seen at the right corner.
    • In the crowd, just before the second monster goes to the Realm of Eternal Screaming and Restlessness.
    • When Dib asks Nightmare Bitters "Don't I get any say in this?" and the beasts turn to look at him.
  • When Zim's base is being assaulted by the trick-or-treaters, he has his windows all boarded up and he refers to the children as "zombies". This is a reference to Night of the Living Dead.
Halloween 2.jpg


  • In this episode, Dib finally admits for the first time that there is a possibility he's crazy and that his head may be big.
  • GIR appears to be the size, if not larger, of Zim's base from eating too much candy at the end.
  • This is the last episode of the series prior its cancellation in which one of the flashback sequences about Ms. Bitters' backstory is featured. According to the DVD commentaries, there were planned more for further episodes, but there were always cut due to time constraints.
Halloween 3.jpg
  • The Skool looks more like a building than the original one, and looks taller as well.
  • A child dressed like the baby-like alien from "Hobo 13" appears among GIR's victims at the end, although "Hobo 13" didn't air until after the Halloween special.
  • We didn't see any nightmare versions of Zim or GIR in the Nightmare Realm, but since there is a nightmare version of Zim's house then its safe to assume that the Nightmare doppelgängers of Zim and GIR do exist. However, it's unknown what they look like.
  • It's a bit odd that none of the monsters in the Nightmare Realm seem to realize that Zim's an alien despite them being inside Dib's head.
  • The pictures in the end credits have a few points: 1.) Zim is in his alien form, despite being in his disguise in the Nightmare world. 2.) In one shot, there is a border with the two-eyed Irken symbol on the sides. 3.) There are only two images in the end credits, which alternate throughout. 4.) One scene never happened in the episode.
  • It's odd that Ms. Bitters has Nightmare Bitters as her doppelgänger in the Nightmare Realm, because she was already too scary in the Real World. Most likely, this could be a hint that ironically Dib doesn't know that Ms. Bitters isn't human, albeit this isn't confirmed.
  • It's completely unknown why Dib was never searched by the specialists of the Crazy House For Boys, as he was condemned to spend the rest of his days there for his madness. This could be a hint that Dib's sentence was only until his eventual recoverement (given the fact that Professor Membrane loves both Dib and Gaz and would not like to be separated from them) or that simply Professor Membrane spoke with the Council of the asylum and reached an agreement to not send Dib back there.
  • This episode was rated TV-Y on its original airing.
  • So far, this episode has fittingly been recalled to be one of the most disturbing episodes of the series, mainly for the monsters of the Nightmare Realm, especially the scenes featuring Nightmare Bitters and how Dib returns to the Real World, with all his organs visible.
  • Zim wore his human disguise for most of the episode, this is quite fitting seeing as for Halloween everyone is supposed to wear costumes.
  • Paradoxically, the one night of the year when Zim didn't have to wear his disguise, he choose to wear it.

Changes and Cuts

  • According to some original concept art by Aaron Alexovich, the scene featuring dancing skeletons in front of the Nightmare Realm's Skool before the scene in which Yolk is condemned to the Realm of Eternal Screaming and Restlessness by Nightmare Bitters was originally going to feature some skeletons with hair and a few pieces of flesh along skeletons without any accessories. In addition, the skeletons with hats were going to raise their left leg a lot when dancing, something they don't do in the finished version of the episode.[1]

Things You Might Have Missed

  • When Dib is looking around in the Nightmare world after he has just been put in his cell, the Nightmare version of Keef can be seen among the other monsters, who is identical to his normal-world counterpart - Jhonen Vasquez jokingly explains in the commentary that he was already scary enough to begin with, so no alterations were necessary to make him more terrifying.
  • While Zim is imagining the other students in class as savage, flesh-eating monstrosities, Ms. Bitters can be faintly heard continuing her rant and going "blah blah blah blah".
  • When Dib gets turned inside out after going in the portal in his head, a streak of blood is visible on the fence he appears on.
  • When GIR jumps out the window, he didn't have his disguise on, but in the end he has it on.

Inconsistencies and Animation Errors

A deformed Dib.

  • As Zim and Dib just enter the Nightmare Zim's house, Dib's head is badly distorted for one frame.
  • After Ms. Bitters tells her story about how she used to be a Fairy Princess, Mary suddenly appears by Ms. Bitters' desk when she was sitting in her chair.
  • When Zita asks if she can send Dib to the Crazy House for Boys, Miss Bitters warns her that they only get three Crazy Cards a month. However, this episode took place on Halloween, the last day of the month, so there was really no point in warning her, as the class would receive three new Crazy Cards the next day. (This could, however, imply that Halloween is not celebrated by them on the 31st of October)
  • Zita's alien costume has three fingers, yet in some scenes she has four.
  • In the scene where Zim is in the mech and Dib is talking about how he's still mad about something he did earlier, Zim is seen without his gloves, despite the fact that he had gloves on.

Dib, minus his ears.

  • During the scenes where Dib is in the asylum and when he runs to Zim's house, his straightjacket flashes on and off.
  • Dib is not wearing a straightjacket when he enters Zim's house.
  • When Dib is first explaining the flashes to the scientists, his ears disappear in one of the shots, this won't be the last time such an animation error occurred as Dib was once again without ears in "Tak: The Hideous New Girl".
  • During multiple scenes where the camera pans to Zita in the classroom, a desk is shown to her right, despite the fact that she and Zim sit in the first aisle of the class and there wouldn't be any desks there.

See also