It's nearly Halloween when a group of five children sneak into their town's legendary Spooky House. It's the scariest place in town and its sole inhabitant, the "Spooky Guy," is the object of every kid's fear. Dressed in black with a fake Dali-esque moustache and a turban, he walks through the waterfront town accompanied by a 320-pound black jaguar on a leash. What nobody knows is that the Spooky Guy is the Great Zamboni (Kingsley), a world famous magician who has become an embittered recluse after the mysterious disappearance of his wife, Dawn Star, during the finale of his greatest magic act.
The children break into the Spooky House to retrieve their pet goat but only the youngest, an 8-year-old orphan named Max, is brave enough to stay and confront the Spooky Guy and his jaguar. Discovering that Zamboni is a magician, Max is intrigued and tries to befriend him, but to no avail. In time however, he and Max become friends and with Zamboni's magical skills, Max learns how to stand up for himself and together they foil a group of criminals.
After a series of twists and turns, the Great Zamboni returns to the stage, putting on a spectacular production. Zamboni picks Max as a volunteer for his final act. In the most unexpected finale of all, Zamboni adopts Max and his beloved Dawn Star is reunited with him! Zamboni, Dawn Star and Max have become a true family.