Nostalgia and the Great Pumpkin

With Halloween being just a few days ago, I was reminded of holiday specials. The nostalgia of watching a holiday movie special like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is unbelievable. I indulge in my guilt-free pleasure of watching this special every Halloween and it never gets old to me. The ability to watch a program so innocent is hard to come by these days. The tradition of watching this program every year was begun by my parents when they showed it to me and I will continue to watch it with my children so they too can enjoy an innocent Halloween special.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was first released on October 27, 1966. The short movie tells the story of the Peanuts gang on Halloween. Early on, Linus, Lucy’s younger brother, is shown writing to an imaginative character, the Great Pumpkin. He believes that the Great Pumpkin will visit him if he writes him a letter. Linus seems to characterize the Great Pumpkin like Santa Claus, and the other children ridicule him about this belief. Despite being told that his beliefs are silly, he holds fast to his idea, even sitting out of trick-or-treating activities in order to wait for the Great Pumpkin in the pumpkin patch. The other children go out trick-or-treating and all receive great candy in their bags except for poor Charlie Brown, who, consistent with the overall theme of the comic strip, receives a rock in his bag at every house he visits for candy. Linus waits with Sally in the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to arrive, only to be fooled by Snoopy the beagle when he casts a shadow that appears to be the Great Pumpkin. Sally scolds Linus when the shadow who he believed to be the Great Pumpkin was only Snoopy and leaves him by himself. He continues to wait until he falls asleep and his sister brings him inside and puts him to bed. Meanwhile, we also see the kids’ post-trick-or-treating Halloween party, where more innocent activities take place, such as piano playing and comparing candy. In the end, the Peanuts gang sits by the rock wall in the neighborhood and discusses the previous night’s events, again ridiculing Linus for his silly belief in the Great Pumpkin. Linus insists that he is real and tells the group that he will write to him and wait for him again next year.

The childhood charm of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown brings viewers like me back every year. I love the simplicity of the TV special and the way in which it emphasizes the important things in childhood, like proving the fictional character you believe in is real. The characters are all sincere and aside from teasing one another, show no real negative qualities.

Holiday specials like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown are hard, if possible, to find being made today. Perhaps this is the reason that Peanuts specials continue to hold their charm. It allows those who watched them when they aired to be reminded of a simpler time, and gives those who were not old enough to watch them when they originally aired a simpler time to dream about.’s_the_Great_Pumpkin,_Charlie_Brown