‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Gets Spooky Stop-Motion Makeover for Halloween Episode

Spongebob Squarepants’ pineapple under the sea will get a makeover just in time for Halloween.

Nickelodeon collaborated with the stop-motion specialists at Screen Novelties on “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom,” which finds everybody’s favorite sponge and his friends having fun on Halloween, but a ghostly pirate has other plans for them.

The special will air, appropriately enough, Friday, Oct. 13, on Nickelodeon.

Directors and Screen Novelties co-founders Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh jumped at the chance to do another stop-motion “SpongeBob” project with Nick after they worked on 2012’s “It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!”

“It’s a super fun thing for us because we’re Halloween nuts, and we really enjoyed working with the guys from ‘SpongeBob,’” Caballero says. “As soon
as they told us, we started coming up with ideas.”

The episode will feature not only stop-motion animation but also mixed media, which they experimented with on the Christmas special. “We were all in agreement that we wanted to try to fit in … puppetry or 2D or stop-motion all together as much as possible on this one,” says Walsh. The two couldn’t do everything they wanted to in the earlier collaboration. “But this time we had enough preplanning time that we were able to fit in a lot more stuff,” Walsh adds.

The storyboards arrived at Screen Novelties in December, and “we really started to seriously work on it about the end of January or early February,” explains Caballero. That’s a fairly quick turnaround for animation of any kind, let alone stop-motion. “Because it’s TV, you have to do it pretty fast, but that’s fine,” Walsh says. “It adds to the kind of rambunctious, unlabored quality we hope to achieve.”

The team is going for a scary, yet fun, vibe. “That’s a classic combo,” Walsh says. “It’s like ‘Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein’ or ‘Mad Monster Party.’ Like Mad Magazine mixed with Rankin/Bass. This is our tribute to that kind of stuff.”

Notes Caballero: “The things that scared me as a kid were what kind of excited my imagination most, in a way.”

Voice acting on the show was completed long before actual production began, but that didn’t stop “SpongeBob” star Tom Kenny from stopping by to check things out during shooting. “It’s a really fun, mad-scientists laboratory to run around in,” he says. “Just the stuff these guys do is fun to be around. The people that work here are beautiful kooks.”

The Screen Novelties team hopes to mine a few more holidays for SpongeBob and the crew. “We would love to do a St. Patrick’s Day one,” says Walsh.

Caballero echoes the sentiment. “That’s the one we keep coming back to. There’s not really much that exists for that holiday.” Then he stops to consider other options. “Or maybe Arbor Day,” he muses. “Yes, Arbor Day.”

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