After heavyweight features on the phone hacking trial, the music streaming service Spotify and Chile's presidential elections, Kirsty Wark, more usually seen quizzing senior politicians on the latest policy announcements, drew the programme to a close advising audiences to "be careful out there".
Then, as the television screen turned a spooky shade of green, the studio was transformed into a graveyard and the recognisable first notes of the Michael Jackson hit Thriller began to play. A sombre-faced Wark then launched into a version of the dance routine created by the American pop star for the video to his hit.
For a few seconds the veteran television presenter gave Jackson's signature moves her best shot before being swamped by a troupe of "zombies".
Her dance on Thursday night's show quickly became an internet sensation - although it was, however, only available to viewers watching the network Newsnight programme as the separate edition for Scotland, Newsnight Scotland, did not show it.
Last night Ms Wark, who lives in Glasgow, said she had "great fun" on the programme, revealing that she had previously turned down invitations to appear as a contestant on the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing.
And despite the attention the routine had grabbed, she said she had no intention of changing her mind in terms of appearing on the TV dance contest.
"I don't really have much to say, except it was fun," she said.
"It was great fun and our tribute to Halloween."
She added: "I have been asked to do Strictly before and I said no, and I think the answer would still be no.
"I think [the Thriller routine] shows that in Newsnight we are serious about our journalism, but we don't take ourselves too seriously."
After the show, viewers immediately took to Twitter to express their astonishment and admiration.
Mandy Rhodes, the editor of Edinburgh-based political magazine Holyrood, who posted an iPlayer link to the programme on Twitter, tweeted: "Is @Kirstywark bidding for Strictly?"
Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale, wrote: "Hats off to Kirsty Wark for this."
Another viewer tweeted: "Best bit of Halloween this year? Only @newsnight@Kirstywark rocking the thriller dance".
Even rival broadcaster ITV couldn't let the moment pass, posting a video link to the performance and tweeting: "Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark ends show with Thriller dance."
Along with colleague Jeremy Paxman, Wark, 58, has been one of Newsnight's main presenters for 20 years. She is best known for her formidable questioning of government ministers, business leaders and foreign politicians.
However, she has previously given viewers a glimpse of the lighter side of her personality, taking part in Celebrity MasterChef on BBC1 two years ago. She reached the final of the competition, but was beaten by Phil Vickery, the former England rugby captain.
It's not, of course, the first time a high-profile news presenter has made headlines dancing on TV. Angela Rippon, the journalist and former newsreader, caught the country's attention when she danced on the Morecambe and Wise Christmas show in 1976.