It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown


By Joshie Jaxon 

Trick or treat again, geek fans! Halloween is one of my favorites times of the year. As such, despite watching a bunch of cool shows, I neglected to write posts on them as I did. I won’t do that with the Peanuts’ special. It’s a holiday staple, and been around for nearly 50 years. Some of us have been watching it since ’66, while others it started during our respective childhoods. Whenever you started, or if this is your first time, prepare to enjoy my take on the treasured piece of nostalgia. Let the geeks begin! 

We open on October 30th, before sunset. Linus and Lucy leave their house to go pick out a pumpkin to carve. Linus picks up an apple off the ground. Takes a bite. Then throws it away. Ah, the sixties. They arrive at the pumpkin patch, and Linus holds one up. Being the size queen that she is, Lucy rejects it. Linus tries again, and is shot down. Lucy points at one, and Linus struggles to hold it up. I’d say he couldn’t get it up, but this is Peanuts, they don’t set up a lot for my brand of dirty humor, but I’ll still try. Linus carries it back, but can’t get his big load through the opening in the fence. Wow! I’m pleased with myself, a glory hole joke during a Peanuts post. That’s a new high. Or low. Humor is subjective. Moving on. Linus opts to roll the pumpkin around the fence and to his front door. He loses control of it, and nearly crashes on the front step. Lucy, being the caring sister she is, does nothing to help Linus get it up the stairs and seems rather annoyed. Once it’s in the house, Lucy puts paper down, and centers the pumpkin on it. Linus watches in horror as she stabs the pumpkin and begins to gut it. She didn’t tell him she was going to kill it! 


The next morning, Charlie Brown is raking leaves. Snoopy sees one falling, and poofs it over to the pile. Linus is busy licking a sucker. Glory holes, and an oral fixation, Linus has a great money making future ahead of him. His lollipop and mouth are covered in leaves. As Charlie Brown glares at him, Linus says never to jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker. Thanks for the free advice. Lucy approaches and says she has a football. She wants Charlie Brown to do a few place kicks. Not being a complete moron, he tells her no. She tries again, and good old Charlie Brown sticks to his guns. He says he knows she’s gonna pull it away to watch him fall on his ass. Lucy says she can be trusted. She has a signed document testifying that she promises not to pull it away. Accepting that a document could hold Lucy to her word, he goes for it. Charlie Brown runs full speed, she jerks it away, and he slams to the ground. Peculiar thing about her document, it was never notarized. He’s learning more than she probably intended. 


Linus is sitting at the table, writing his letter to the Great Pumpkin. Charlie Brown approaches and asks what he’s doing. Linus smiles and says it’s the time of year to write to the Great Pumpkin, who rises out of the pumpkin patch with his sack of toys for all the good children. Ok, what I want to know is who told Linus about the Great Pumpkin to begin with? Was it a joke by Lucy that got out of control? Was it from some adult that thought it would be a way to make him behave in October before Santa mania took over in November? Did Linus do the Christian thing and take the parts of an existing holiday, that he liked, and call it something new? Sadly, Schultz is dead, and we’ll never know the backstory. Charlie Brown asks Linus when he’s going to stop believing in something that isn’t real. Linus says about the same time Charlie Brown stops believing in the guy with the red suit and white beard, that goes “ho ho ho”. Snap! Linus continues his letter. This time snoopy walks in. Now, we can hear the words Linus is writing, and they’re on screen, but he’s not speaking out loud. Therefore, Snoopy must be able to read, because he starts laughing his ass off at Linus’ letter. He laughs all the way to the living room, and points at the kitchen while clinging to Lucy. She promptly throws Snoopy out of the room, the goes to confront her brother. Oh, not this again! She can’t believe he’s wasting his time writing to a pumpkin. Um, you write to Santa, don’t you? Or are the VanPelt’s Jewish? Either way, what does she care? So the neighborhood thinks Linus is weird. They think she’s a bitch, but she doesn’t care about that. Lucy tells Linus to stop or she’ll pound him. Then some girl who doesn’t even live there comes in and tells Linus that the Great Pumpkin is a fake. Why are all these kids in their house? Cue Sally, asking what Linus is doing. He covers his letter, and says he’d rather not say. She’s too in love with him to think it’s stupid. He begins to tell her the story of the Great Pumpkin. He asks her if she’d like to sit with him. She says yes. Charlie Brown comes back in and takes Sally away. With his letter finished, Linus walks it out to the mailbox. Lucy says she’s not going to help him. He doesn’t need her. He uses his blanket to open the slot, then flicks the letter inside. Linus walks off as Charlie Brown approaches. He got invited to a Halloween party! Lucy, in continuing true bitch fashion, says it must have been a mistake. He must have been on the wrong list. Linus walks to the pumpkin patch with his “Welcome Great Pumpkin” sign. 


Time to prepare some costumes. Sally cuts some eye holes in a sheet, holds it up, and scares herself. Did she see the tag about it being a poly-cotton blend? Lucy, Violet, and Charlie Brown also have sheets. Lucy says a person’s costume should be in direct contrast to their personality. She then puts on a witch hat and mask, and we hold on her for a second. We get the irony. Sally asks Lucy if Linus is taking her to the party. No, her blockhead brother is already in the pumpkin patch, making his yearly fool of himself. Sally says maybe there is a Great Pumpkin. Violet says Linus misses tricks or treats ever year, and the Halloween party. Charlie Brown says he’ll never learn. Sally asks if she gets to trick or treat this year. He says yes. She gets excited, then asks if it’s legal. Sally then gets her arms stuck in her eye holes. She’s a special kind of special. Then again, Charlie Brown’s sheet is covered in holes. It must be genetic. What was the sheet budget on this show? Two other kids show up in sheets, and so does Pigpen. Snoopy arrives in a bomber’s cap and scarf. Lucy asks what he’s supposed to be. Charlie Brown explains that he’s a World War One flying ace. Snoopy leaves on his own, as the group leaves to go trick or treat. They stop to see Linus and give him one more chance to join the group and be normal. He asks if they’ve come to sing pumpkin carols. I’ve always liked Linus, he’s weird and doesn’t apologize for it. That’s the real lesson here, kids. Once again Linus says that the Great Pumpkin will rise from the most sincere pumpkin patch. Sally scoffs at him. Linus says he thought little girls always believed everything that was told to them. Sally welcomes him to the 20th century. The group walks away, but Sally, a slave to her not even double digit aged desires, runs back to sit with Linus. Then she tells him if he tries to hold her hand, she’ll slug him. So glad I’m gay. Women are nuts. 


The group goes trick or treating, and we see Lucy get a handful of candy tossed in her sack. I paused it, and counted at least 15 items. Why is this relevant? Cause she has the big brass shiny ones to ask for a piece for her brother. To paraphrase Latrice Royal, see, she’s not a complete bitch. Then she says it’s so embarrassing to have to ask for something extra for that blockhead, Linus. Heaven forbid she just share her own. The kids compare their take, a popcorn ball, gum, a quarter. Charlie Brown got a rock. Next house, a candy bar, three cookies, gum. Charlie Brown got a rock. You get the gag, so we’ll move on. Whatever happened to the WW1 flying ace? Charlie Brown says he’s probably prepping his Sopwith Camel. His mission is to find the Red Baron and shoot him down. Not only is Snoopy delusional, with a rich interior life, he’s pulled his owner into the fantasy as his narrator. Minute long sequence of Snoopy “flying” his dog house, shooting at invisible enemies, and getting shot down. He then believes he’s been downed behind enemy lines, and has to make his way through the French countryside. The dog needs a shrink. If only he could do more than woof. We rejoin the kids as they say it’s party time. First, they stop by the pumpkin patch to remind Linus of what he’s missing, and to taunt his beliefs, like the mean-spirited brats they are. The only two for sure that say nothing are Pigpen and Charlie Brown. Sally defends her sweet baboo, as the others walk away. She then turns to Linus and demands to know where the Great Pumpkin is. Linus says he’ll be there. Good. Sally has her reputation to think about, as well as all the fun they’re missing. 


Violet’s party. She and Lucy are staring at a pumpkin. They stop Charlie Brown as he runs by, and says they need him to model. The same twerp that mocked Linus earlier says he’ll make a great model. Charlie Brown looks so proud of himself. They set him on a stool, turn him around, and proceed to use the back of his head as a diagram for how they’re gonna design their pumpkin. Haven’t they ever heard of paper? Did their non-existent parents blow their paper budget on sheets? What the hell? Do they wear pink on Wednesdays? Did they ask Charlie Brown why he’s white not brown? For that matter, where’s Franklin? Just gotta remember, it’s 1966. Wait, MLK Jr had his dream in ’63. There’s nothing but white people in this entire special. Sorry, moving on. Snoopy drops in on the party, but is still in his flying ace delusion. Lucy says it’s time to bob for apples. Someone says she’ll be great, she’s got the perfect mouth for it. That’s not all a big mouth can be good for. She’ll he the Rizzo of their group when they get to high school. Lucy goes down for an apple, Giggity, and comes up with one attached to Snoopy. Ick! Her lips touched dog lips! Snoopy walks over to Schroeder and listens to him play on his piano. As the music changes from happy to more dramatic, so does Snoopy’s mood. He gets so upset he cries, and howls. Again, dog needs a shrink. At least he’s aware enough to be embarrassed by his public display. 


Back in the pumpkin patch, Sally is talking to Linus. He hears something moving, and gets excited. Is that? Is that? I hear the Great Pumpkin! We see a shadow moving through the patch. There he is! Linus points, as the Snoopy-shaped shadow rises. Linus gets so excited that he faints. He comes to, and asks Sally what he left them. She’s mad. She was robbed! She spent the whole night waiting instead of getting treats! She’ll sue! She could’ve had cookies and candy, and gum! Halloween is once a year! Sally grabs Linus by the shirt and screams, “You owe me restitution!”. The gang approached as Sally was on her tirade. They all leave, as Linus comments on the fury of a scorned woman. He has a slight waiver in his faith, but stays in the pumpkin patch. Back at home, Lucy is in bed as her clock strikes 4am. She gets up, looks in Linus’ room, and sees he’s not there. Since Mr. & Mrs. VanPelt must be passed out from their Halloween bender, Lucy gets her coat on, and goes to retrieve her brother. She gets him home to bed, and gets his shoes off before pulling the blankets over him. Ok, NOW she’s not a complete bitch. 


November 1st, Linus and Charlie Brown are behind a wall. No, not like that! Charlie Brown says all he got for his night was a bag of rocks. He asks Linus if the Great Pumpkin ever came. Nope. It’s ok, he did a lot of stupid stuff when he was younger too. What do you mean, stupid? Just wait until next year! You’ll see! Linus rants his way through the closing credits, as Charlie Brown rolls his eyes and has a “good grief” look on his face. 

There you have it, one of the most classic Halloween specials ever. I hope my commentary didn’t ruin it for you, but even if it did, that’s what I’m here for. Until next tomb, slay geeky, and keep stabbing! 


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