When I think Halloween, there are two particular specials that come to mind. I’m going to talk about one in this entry and the second in the next.
The first is a tradition that I hold dear and I’m sure a lot of other people my age and older also appreciate it. How many of you think about Linus sitting in a pumpkin patch all Halloween waiting for the Great Pumpkin to show when you think of traditional Halloween images?
Yes I’m referring to one of my favorite childhood Halloween specials, “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!”
I’ll admit that the peanuts crew and their specials are a little before my time with a release date of 1966. Through the magic of re-runs on YTV Charlie Brown has become ingrained with my early development. The thought of the great pumpkin was so intriguing to a young ShallopNewf
I haven’t seen it in many years and I”m sure a lot of this love comes from nostalgia, but Peanuts is Peanuts… I’d imagine going back it wont lose any of its splendor…. I think I’ll have to try that out tonight.
*note to self, watch It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown tonight*
The part about this story that I find compelling is not necessarily the Halloween aspects of it. I guess you can draw a parallel with this special and just the idea of having faith in anything intangible. *coughReligioncough*
Linus sends his letter to the Great Pumpkin in the hopes the Pumpkin will visit. This special is rife with the the gang telling him his crazy and just wasting away his Halloween in a pumpkin patch instead of having fun with his friends. It’s a fools errand but Linus sticks to his guns. He doesn’t need to make them understand because he knows the Great Pumpkin exists and there is a chance that he’ll appear tonight.
I think what I enjoy about it is that in the end … oh wait.
… is that really necessary for a beloved childhood special that is nearing 50 years old??..
The pumpkin does NOT come to visit Linus that particular year. This part, I’m sure, catered to my inner-developing Atheist before I knew it even existed. Somewhere there was a voice saying, “ha ha that’s what you get believer!”
However before some of my followers leap on me for that statement, I need to draw attention to the ending and how it show’s that it doesn’t matter whether or not faith is justified. The important thing is that you have it. One of the scenes that I vividly remember from this special is the ending. An exhausted Linus is talking with his good buddy Chuck when Charlie tries to reassure his best friend by telling him “It’s okay, I’ve done stupid things too”… upon hearing his friends counsel Linus lets loose a tirade that takes Charlie Brown off guard.
Linus vows that next Halloween, he’s going to find an even bigger and better pumpkin patch, and he WILL see the Great Pumpkin.
There is absolutely no evidence other than his own faith and yet he remains undeterred from his belief. As an adult able to look at the psychological side of this special I can’t lie, though the fact there was no Great Pumpkin caters to my inner atheist there is something about Linus conviction that I envy. For other children his age (and me as a child) Halloween was about getting as much candy as you possibly could. For me personally, it was a competition with my classmates to see who could get the most.
For Linus, October 31st meant so much more. It was a lot more meaningful then the sugar rush and gut rot that the others experienced. Linus is able to see something very special about this day. Personally I think this is the earliest contribution of Halloween becoming so dear to my heart. The thought of this day being about so much more than just candy and costumes began right here. This time of year can (and does) mean so much more… but I’ll get into that a little closer to the day itself.
Needless to say “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” is a timeless Halloween special that should be seen and can be appreciated by all ages!