"Trick or Treat" is the pilot episode of the television anthology series Tales from the Darkside, co-written by George A. Romero and directed by Bob Balaban. It was originally aired in syndication by Tribune Broadcasting on October 29, 1983.


Gideon Hackles (Barnard Hughes) is an elderly miser who keeps the residents of his rural town mired in debt. As part of an annual Halloween "tradition", Gideon invites local trick-or-treaters to explore his house to search for their parents' hidden IOUs. The children who find the papers will have their parents' debts cancelled. This year, Gideon invites young Billy Kimble to participate in the hunt. Billy accepts, knowing that his father's farm is being held by Gideon as collateral.

Gideon rigs his house with fake monsters and uses them to scare the trick-or-treaters; he sadistically mocks the frightened children through an antiquated speaker system. Most of the children who try to search the house—taken against their will by desperate parents—quickly flee in terror, their failure relished by Gideon.

However, real paranormal events soon unfold in the house. Not long after scaring off another trick-or-treater, Gideon encounters a mysterious witch at his front door. The witch levitates into Gideon's house and brings his fake monsters to life. She also disperses the hidden IOUs, as well as the money which Gideon has meticulously collected from the townsfolk. As Gideon attempts to retrieve the money, he stumbles into a room occupied by the Devil. A petrified Gideon is then guided into eternal damnation in Hell.

Billy, confident that he can find his parents' IOUs, sneaks off to Gideon's house against his father's wishes. Once he arrives, Billy is greeted by the witch, who gives him both the papers and Gideon's valuables before flying off into the night. Billy travels back home, walking past the old man's grave.

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