My favorite thing about Halloween is the classic Peanuts special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It’s magical for me. I am a HUGE Peanuts fan. I remember when I was a kid, I would get so excited every time I saw Snoopy and the gang on TV. So much in fact that any time I saw the “A CBS Special Presentation” logo swirl onto the screen I just knew I was gonna see that wonderful beagle (ABC has had TV rights since 2000). My dad would record all of them, and I would watch them repeatedly.
Sadly, most of them were on BetaMax and when that machine died we just had a collection of tapes collecting dust. Oh BetaMax. Well, fortunately ABC is looking out for me and I can still enjoy this wonderful special every year. I’m so excited to share this tradition with my son, who is exactly the age I was when I realized how much I love that Peanuts gang. I have a collection of Peanuts stories based on the holiday specials, so I built the anticipation by reading the story with him last night.
I always get so excited to hear the “Linus and Lucy” theme song play as the titular sister and brother walk to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin for their home. Much to Linus’ surprise (and chagrin), Lucy had plans to carve it into a jack-o-lantern, leaving him very upset as he screams, “You didn’t tell me you were gonna kill it!” That whole sequence gives me such a sense of nostalgia and reminds me that this is Fall.
In the show, most of the kids are excited about going trick-or-treating then heading to Violet’s Halloween party, but Linus has bigger plans. With Sally’s support, he decides to forego the standard kids activities in hopes of seeing the Great Pumpkin! No one has any idea why this is so important to him but Sally, a fool in love, stands by his side. Even Charlie Brown wasn’t going with this silly idea.
I only remember trick-or-treating once as a kid, but seeing Lucy lead her pals around the neighborhood to collect goodies always felt close enough. The friends dress as ghosts, wearing sheets with holes cut out for the eyes, but not Lucy. She wears a witch mask to match her personality.
Poor Charlie Brown had a hard time with the scissors and ended up with too many holes out of his sheet. I always feel so sorry for him as they excitedly talk about the candies and other goodies they receive, but he somehow manages to get a rock…more than once!
At the party, the kids use his head to practice drawing a jack-o-lantern! How is this his life?? Even Snoopy has more fun, escaping into his imagination as a World War I Flying Ace battling the Red Baron.
Meanwhile, at the most “sincere pumpkin patch” he could find, Linus awaits his beloved Great Pumpkin, with Sally slowly losing interest and patience. When a shadow appears, and leaves begin to rustle, an overly excited Linus passes out from possibly seeing the Great Pumpkin at last! He opens his eyes to an angry Sally notifying him that there was no Great Pumpkin! It was just Snoopy goofing around. She can’t believe she chose to stay with Linus, causing her to miss out on “tricks or treats.” Linus still doesn’t give up as he spends the rest of the night on the ground waiting for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin.
As an adult raising a small child, I have to ask the obvious question: “Where are his parents??” Why was it okay for him to sit in that pumpkin patch, then go so far as to sleep there until Lucy finally came to get him at 4:00 in the morning??! I love a child with an imagination but we have to draw the line somewhere. I guess that’s not the case for the Van Pelts!
Even after not getting to see the precious Great Pumpkin, Linus doesn’t give up on his dream. He yells at Charlie Brown the next day insisting that he will try again next year. As crazy as it may seem, this is why I love Linus. He stays true to himself and what he wants out life. If kids can believe in Santa, why can’t he have that magical pumpkin?
While my favorite moment is the opening scene with Linus and Lucy, my favorite nugget is when Lucy is reading a TV Guide with a picture of herself on the cover. Gotta love it!
If you haven’t seen this special I don’t know what rock you live under but do yourself a favor and watch it! ABC aired it Thursday night at 8pm ET so you’re on your own now but hey The Peanuts Movie comes out next weekend (November 6). Yes I will be there!!