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.
- Barnard Hughes as Gideon Hackles
- I.M. Hobson as Mr. Bindle
- Max Wright as Mr. Bundle
- Joe Ponazecki as Atticus Kimble
- Knowl Johnson as Billy Kimble
- Brenda Currin as Sarah Kimble
- Eddie Jones as Victor Muldoon
- Patrick Wilcox as Timothy Muldoon
- Eevin Hartsough as Bessie
- Nancy Ellen Sutherland as Bessie's Mom
- Jessica Carroll as Rickert Daughter
- Joshua Miller as Rickert Son
- Frances Chaney as Witch
- Bill McNulty as Pirate
- Ed French as Devil
- Paul Sparer as Narrator
Plot EditMr. Bindle, Mr. Bundle, and Gideon Hackles are sitting around a table doing accounting. As they are crunching numbers, the three men talk about Hackles's business practices. They say that he can afford a clerk because he has the money to afford it. He insists that he can afford a lot of things, but he doesn't need them.
One of the men asks Mr. Hackles if he can have another cup of coffee. Hackles informs him that it will be a charge of four cents. The man looks surprised at first. He says that the four cents covers his cost plus a 20 percent cost for his profit. He insists that he does not cheat anyone, but in the same vein he expects every person who owes him to always pay him every penny. Hackles gives his accountants a huge stack of IOU's and they remark that everyone in town must be in debt to him. When Hackles shows his big stack of IOU's to his guests, he demands the four cents from the gentleman to whom he gave the coffee. He insists he needs each penny.
When the man suggests he takes the four cents out of the fee, Hackles begins to panic and start yelling. From behind him, a demonic being makes its way into the room. All three men panic at first, but then Hackles begins laughing and turns on the light, revealing his actions to only be a joke. Hackles tells his guests that Halloween is his favorite day. He loves to scare people.
Next we see Hackles in his store as one of his customers comes in with his son. A local farmer, Atticus Kimble and his son Billy come into the store. The farmer's main point in coming is to pay his monthly bill and to inform Hackles know that he and Billy would not be coming to his house for Halloween.
Hackles mentions that he appreciates the prompt payment as Kimble's farm is held in collateral. Billy seems to be upset that his dad is doing this because he wants to go. Hackles explains to Billy that his father and most of the town is in debt to him. However, on Halloween, he hides all of the IOU's in his home. The children of the people who are indebted to Hackles are invited to come to trick or treat at his house. If they are able to find the IOU's, Hackles will erase their debts. Billy keeps insisting to his father that he will be able to find the IOU's. Atticus, however, says that no one has ever found the IOU's and he doubts that they even exist.
Hackles tells Billy that he should come anyway because no one ever gets harmed. He also insists that Bill come and tells him if he lets go of his emotions and only cares about the money, Billy will find the IOU's. When Kimble still insists that Billy will not come to Hackles's house, Hackles threatens to raise their monthly bill. Kimble tells him he would rather Hackles take the farm than put his son through any torment.
The next man shows up and charges a costume accessory to his account. This man insists that his son Timothy will beat Hackles at his game and the family will be debt free in the morning.
Hackles is at home and he does indeed hide the IOU's in an obvious place: a bookshelf close to the door. A woman and her daughter Bessie show up and the mother insists that Bessie find the IOU's. When Bessie enters, she starts looking for the IOU's with Hackles telling her when she is getting warmer. Hackles's animatronic monsters scare Bessie, however, and she runs out of the house to her mother, failing in her task.
At home Billy, looks in on his mom and dad. He convinces himself that he can find the IOU's and he decides to go to Hackles's house.
After a few more children are scared by an animatronic bat, Timothy and his father show up at the house. The boy appears afraid right away. Hackles sees the boy, identifies him as Timmy, and says he was hoping the boy would show up. The door opens and his dad tells Timmy to not come back without the IOU's.
Timmy is obviously frightened by the mechanical monsters in Hackles's house. He keeps telling himself that there are no such things as spirits. The first time he is scared, he wants to run back to his father but the older man encourages him to find the IOU's. Timmy continues to tell himself there are no such things as spirits, before he finally gets very scared and runs out the door into his father's arms. The man who was previously insistent on his son finding the IOU's welcomes his son back and they leave.
Hackles watches as Timmy and his father leave. Deducing that the father and son care more about each other than the IOU's, he is insistent that everyone in the town is "backwards."
Meanwhile, there is another person at the door. What appears to be an old witch is there asking for trick or treats. Hackles looks out and assumes he sees an adult in a witch's costume. He informs her that there are no treats for adults.
The witch gets into Hackles's house and she begins to fly around the house, cackling. She starts making IOU's fly around the house as Hackles keeps repeating "No, no, my money." Another creature causes his safe to open and his money to blow around.
Hackles panics and runs around the house as his IOU's and his money are flying out of the hiding place and the safe. He screams and panics until he finally enters a room where the Devil tells Hackles that he is "getting warmer" as Hackles did with the children. Then, he tells Hackles he is getting warmer, hotter, and then very hot. He takes Hackles to Hell for his behavior.
At this point, Billy makes it to Hackles's house. The witch meets him at the door, but Billy assumes it is Hackles and he insists he is not scared. Laughing, the witch gives him the IOU's and the money. The witch flies away. Billy turns and leaves the house on his way home. The camera shows Billy walking by a grave that reads Gideon Hackles.
Mr. Bindle: Why not hire a sales clerk for the store, Mr. Hackles? You can certainly afford help.
Gideon Hackles: I can afford a lot of things I don't have... I don't want them... I don't need them... I don't trust clerks. Clerks are lazy. Unreliable. Clerks steal from you.
Atticus Kimble: I've heard what you do to the children, Hackles.
Gideon Hackles: I never harmed a single hair on a single head.
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 higher.
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.
Victor Muldoon: My Timmy's gonna find what he's looking for tonight, yes sir. I've toughened him up with me strap. I've toughened him up enough to beat you at your game, yes sir. Tomorrow morning the Muldoons is gonna be out of debt for the first time in history.
- The pirate's laugh is provided by Tim Curry.