Lynde starts out in a Santa suit, then dons an Easter Bunny suit, until his “housekeeper” Margaret Hamilton explains that he’s supposed to be celebrating Halloween. Then Hamilton takes him to her sister’s spooky mansion, where she reveals that she’s actually the Wicked Witch Of The West, and that her sister, Billie Hayes, is Witchiepoo from H.R. The two witches grant Lynde a series of wishes, one of which involves him pretending to be a long-haul trucker—in a rhinestone outfit! —competing with Tim Conway for the love of Happy Days’ Roz “Pinky Tuscadero” Kelly. Another wish has Lynde being serenaded by a disturbingly sensuous Florence Henderson at a haunted disco.
In order to avoid “pesky kids” the housekeeper takes him to meet her sister, Witchiepoo, who has a pet vulture named Rover guarding her manor’s doorway. Lynde realizes that Margaret’s sister is a witch and Margaret transforms into The Wicked Witch of the West.
The basic plot of the special has Paul Lynde going away for a rest period, so as to avoid all of those pesky trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. His housekeeper takes him to the home of sister ; it is here that Paul learns the two are, in fact, witches, and their real reasons for bringing him was to have a well-known and loved TV personality help soften the image of witches, and show that they’re not really bad after all. In exchange for his help, the two grant Paul Three Wishes; after they grant his first two wishes , Paul is convinced that witches are good, and decides to use his last wish on them, granting them their wish to go to a disco rave. At this point in the TV-on-DVD era, too many ’70s variety shows have been preserved for The Paul Lynde Halloween Special to be considered a cultural treasure, but its particular level of ridiculousness has to be experienced to be believed.
Paul Lynde announces to the audience the show is to celebrate a holiday which might be Christmas, Easter or Valentine’s Day. His housekeeper, Margaret tells him that it is none of those holidays and drops a hint about it being Halloween (“witches, spooks, and strange creatures of the night”). The subsequent musical number has Lynde sing “Kids” from Bye Bye Birdie with new Halloween-themed lyrics.