It’s autumn. It’s October. It’s time to watch Halloween movies and specials to get into the spirit of things. Every year I tune in to watch the classic Halloween special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Every year I fall in love with it a little more than I did the year before. This year marks the 50th anniversary of this Halloween special. It first aired October 27, 1966, as a follow-up to A Charlie Brown Christmas. What is it about this 30-minute cartoon that causes people to tune in 50 years later?
For those of you who don’t know, It’s the Great Pumpkin is about a boy named Charlie Brown and his friends. It’s Halloween night and everyone wants to go trick-or-treating before the Halloween Party. Charlie Brown gets invited to the party for the first time, and Lucy, the bully, remarks he must have been invited by mistake. The gang all meets up to go trick-or-treating except for Sally, Charlie Brown’s younger sister, and Linus, Lucy’s younger brother. The two younger children wait in a pumpkin patch in hope of spying the Great Pumpkin. After only receiving rocks from trick-or-treating, Charlie Brown heads to the party, where he is used as model for pumpkin carving and has his dog, Snoopy, crashes the party. He later picks up his disappointed sister from the pumpkin patch and heads home for the night. Lucy picks up her brother much later, and even though Linus did not see the Great Pumpkin that year, he makes a plan to wait in the pumpkin patch next year.
There is something so realistic about this cartoon, from the way the kids interact with each other, to the childhood belief in something imaginary. I believe that is what makes it so lovable. It is what has made it timeless. People want a funny show they can watch with their kids. They want something that will make them laugh and remember a simpler time. It’s the Great Pumpkin is a show anyone can watch and enjoy.
I love Peanuts, the original comic strip by Charles Shultz. I used to read it as a little girl in the newspaper when I would spend the night with my grandparents. I remember watching the cartoon at school during our Halloween parties in elementary school, and even into high school. We would all be munching on our snacks in our costumes watching It’s the Great Pumpkin. I would then go home and watch it again, that time with my family. Part of the reason I love this Halloween special is because of the warm and fuzzy feelings I associate with it. I associate time spent with friends and family with this cartoon, as I’m sure many others associate the same thing. That’s what makes people watch it again and again, year after year. That’s what makes it a timeless classic.