The story takes place in Whoville, on a night known as "Grinch Night", which commences when a cold weather front named by the Whos as "Sour-Sweet Wind" starts blowing. The weather causes a chain of events which begins by disturbing the Gree-Grumps and the Hakken-Krakks, whose growling and howling also causes The Grinch into terrorizing the Whos. Euchariah, Obediah, and Methiah are staying with their grandparents Josiah and Mariah. They are ordered inside by Mariah when the wind starts blowing. They bring their plants inside, shut and lock their doors and windows, and the rest of the town does the same thing. Euchariah, who has a slight astigmatism, suggests to call "The Grinch Alarm Warden". They use their emergency and weather broadcast system device do dial the frequency "Area Code Five. One. Nine. Double Oh. Six.". Sargent Samuel S. MacPherson answers. Much of the time is spent monitoring The Grinch, who is preparing his Paraphernalia Wagon and hunting a Wuzzy Woozoo. Euchariah's astigmatism becomes a running gag. Later, he goes to use the outhouse (referred to as "the euphemism" in the story), but is swept away to Mt. Crumpit by the wind.
On the road he encounters the Grinch, who is busy picking Brickles out of his fur after failing to hunt down the "Wuzzy Woozoo". Along with the Grinch's dog, Max , who is in the process of bringing a large wagon — called the "Paraphernalia Wagon"— down to Whoville. Euchariah decides to stall the Grinch from reaching Whoville. After some persistence from Euchariah, the Grinch tricks him into getting a strange trance in the Paraphernalia Wagon.
Inside the wagon, Euchariah is confronted by psychedelic and surreal imagery, numerous monsters and the Grinch's mocking voice. Though scared out of his wits, Euchariah bravely keeps on his toes long enough for the Sour-Sweet Wind to die down, thus forcing the Grinch to pack up and retire to his cave. Max on the other hand, who had been abused and overworked by the Grinch, goes home with Euchariah. Back in Whoville, the residents (including Euchariah's grandfather Josiah, his grandmother Mariah and his younger sister and brother Obediah and Methiah) celebrate the little Who's courage in preventing the Grinch releasing the Paraphernalia Wagon's full horrors on their town and up in the mountains the Grinch, who is hauling the wagon home himself, ominously notes that one day there will be another Grinch Night when the Sour-Sweet Wind blows once more.
- Hans Conried: The Grinch, Narrator
- Gary Shapiro: Euchariah
- Henry Gibson: Max (singing)
- Hal Smith: Josiah
- Jack DeLeon: Sergeant Samuel McPherson
- Irene Tedrow: Mariah
- I Wouldn't Go Out on a Night Like This
- The Grinch Night Ball
- How Many Times
- As the Grinch Creaks Ever Closer...
- I Wouldn't Go Out on a Night Like This (Reprise)
- He is Wandering in the Wind
- The Eyebrow Song
- Grinch Is Gonna Get You/Members of the Un-human race/the Spooks tour Finale
- Gone is the Grinch
The special was first released on VHS by Playhouse Video in 1985. It was reprinted on VHS by said distributor in 1989 as well. In 1992, it was released by Random House Home Video on VHS under the title It's Grinch Night. It was also released on VHS by CBS Video through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in 1996 under the title Grinch Night. The special was also released as a bonus special on the 1998 VHS of Dr. Seuss on the Loose, as well as the 2003 VHS and DVD releases of said special from Universal Studios Home Entertainment under its original title (though the packaging and menu still referred to it as Grinch Night). On September 23, 2012, the special was released on DVD by Warner Home Video under Dr. Seuss's Holidays on the Loose!, along with How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat. On October 23, 2018, it was released on blu-ray by Warner Brothers as an extra on Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Ultimate Edition, along with The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat. Both extras were remastered for this release.
- This is the only Grinch special where The Grinch doesn't reform at the end.
- This would appear to take place before How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. A slight continuity problem might arise with Max' departure from the Grinch's service at the end, but could be explained away by supposing that Max subsequently returned to his old master out of love, against his own best interest.
- Despite being a prequel to How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, therefore still taking place in Whoville and still featuring The Grinch and Max in it, this special wasn't made into a Dr. Seuss book, making it another DFE Dr. Seuss special not to have been a book adaption; like the other non-book adaption DFE Dr. Seuss specials, some elements were also borrowed from or later incorporated into some of the books as follows:
- Oh, the Places You'll Go!:
- The Hakken Kraks were later incorporated into Pages 34-35.
- In one scene during the Spooks Tour, the monsters who peek out of green glowing holes at night (before a large yellow-and-black striped monster stomps across the hill and squashes one of the monsters to its annoyance) were likely carried into Pages 32-33, but in a different landscape.
- Oh the Thinks You Can Think!:
- The mushroom landscape that featured The Zong from Page 20-21 was reworked for this special, where one of the mushrooms is used as the location for The Grinch Alarm Center. The Zong does not appear in this scenery as he did in the book.
- The Wuzzy Woozoo is a modified version of a Guff, but is pink in color and his tail has only one fluffy ball instead of five.
- Some of the ghosts resemble the Bloogs from Pages 12-13.
- One scene where Euchariah is encountered by a strange beaked creature in a town-like landscape is a reference to Page 24-25 of the book where a boy met a Jibboo in a abandoned town. This time, Euchariah replaced the boy, and the Jibboo is portrayed as a hostile scary monster unlike in the book.
- The scene where Euchariah is standing on the side of the stairway and ducks underneath a flying bat is a reference to Page 30-31 of the book. The man that was holding a lit candle up to the lantern top that shines the light at night does not appear in this scenery as he did in the book, due to the location being used as one of the Spooks Tour scenery in this special.
- Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?:
- The tree branches with wriggling and writhing claws (which corner Euchariah until he falls down a trapdoor of the pink ground) are similar to the pants-eating-plants.
- In one shot near the end of the Spooks Tour finale, the scenery of the Ruins of Ronk (which flashes in this special) is reused from Page 42-43.
- Oh, the Places You'll Go!:
- The houses in Whoville and some of the activities the Whos are engaging in at the beginning (minus Euchariah and his family picking up the leaves and Obediah and Methiah playing on a teeter-totter) are similar to those from Pages 20-21 of Horton Hears a Who!.
- The Whos in this special oddly look more human than their past appearances. This can be identified by their noses and their clothing, although some Whos had human-like noses like this in the books as well.
- In the storyboards for this special, Mariah and Sergeant Samuel McPherson's designs are completely different from their final designs.
- In addition, McPherson's security equipment in the Grinch Alarm Center looked different in the storyboards as well.
- While most characters in the special were in the Dr. Seuss style, Josiah's teal pet parrot is oddly designed in the style of a Pink Panther cartoon.
- The song Max sings "How many times have I said and said" is like a dog's version of "Memory" from Cats.
- It is unknown how Euchariah was ensnared into a surreal world full of monsters and spooks. It is a theory that the Grinch built the Paraphernalia Wagon and created the Grinch-like green glob from some kind of organic chemicals to infiltrate the wagon with, using it just to hypnotize any Whos (especially Euchariah) into envisioning these monsters and spooks. The Monster Round/Spooks Tour, being somewhat just a nightmare Euchariah was driven into (given by how he closes his eyes tight as the green Grinch-like glob ensnares him), is a simile to Oh the Thinks You Can Think!.
- The Monster Round/Spooks Tour scene later became somewhat of a meme.
- Max decides to leave the Grinch and becomes Euchariah Who's pet at the end.
- This special and Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You? use a similar production design to The Hoober-Bloob Highway, but with the characters' signature shiny eye pupils reinstated and less background painting detail much like the The Cat In The Hat, The Lorax and Dr. Seuss on the Loose.
- Some VHS releases change the special's title to Grinch Night or It's Grinch Night.
- This special along with The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat were not included as bonus cartoons on the Hats Off to Dr. Seuss: Collector's Edition 2013 DVD set while How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was, as they were already included on the Dr. Seuss's Holidays On the Loose! 2012 DVD.
- This special along with The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat re-used their 2003 Universal remasters when included on the Dr. Seuss's Holidays On the Loose! 2012 DVD, as none of the Dr. Seuss specials that were not a book adaption were not remastered in high definition at the time. Both specials were finally remastered in high definition when included on the How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: The Ultimate Edition 2018 Blu-Ray disc.
- When the special was remastered in high definition for the How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: The Ultimate Edition 2018 Blu-Ray disc, a couple of stills of the Grinch in a blue background appear sandwiched between black screens of death in the special. The former (using a cel of the Grinch glaring at the viewer) is sandwiched in the middle of the special (where commercial breaks were to be sandwiched when the special aired on TV), and the latter (using a cel of the Grinch riding the Paraphernalia Wagon with a whip) appears at the end before the closing credits start. These stills were not meant to be shown in the final ready-for-broadcast edit of the special, seeming that this special was remastered from its raw mastertape in this case.
- These stills were likely used to signal where to cut the special between commercial breaks when aired on TV.
- In the high definition remaster of the special, during the "Grinch is Gonna Get You" half of the Monster Round/Spooks Tour sequence, there is a slightly longer black screen of death after the slim ghost with glasses devours the screen during the last verse "YAH!".
- This is the first Dr. Seuss special to be aired on ABC.
- This is the first Dr. Seuss special to be produced with Stereo audio format, in comparison to the previous CBS specials whose audio was in Mono.
- Thurl Ravenscroft from the first four Dr. Seuss CBS specials returns as a singer, but it was the last special to feature Thurl Ravenscroft.
- This is the first Dr. Seuss special to have music from Sesame Street music composer Joe Raposo. The music is orchestral, somewhat like Eugene Poddany's music, and unlike Dean Elliott's jazz-themed music. The "Spooks' Tour" segment in particular is heavily influenced by Camille Saint-Saëns' Danse Macabre.
- This is the first Dr. Seuss special to have David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng both credited as executive producers since "The Cat in the Hat".
- This is the first Dr. Seuss special onward to not be produced by Cat in the Hat Productions and also to not use "A Cat in the Hat Presentation".
- This is the first Dr. Seuss special to be directed by Gerard Baldwin, the other being Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You?. Gerard Baldwin became the known director of the famous Saturday morning cartoon show The Smurfs in the 1980s.
- Hans Conried sadly did not return to reprise his role as the Grinch in The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, most likely due to him being at failing health at the time that special entered production: he died of a heart attack on January 5, 1982, only 4 months before that special aired; therefore, Halloween is Grinch Night is also considered to be the last special to feature Hans Conried.