Halloween time is here, frightfulness and fear; horror all odd children call, their favorite time of year. OK, I’m butchering the classic Peanuts holiday anthem, “Christmastime is Here.” (Composed by the late, great Vince Guaraldi.) But it’s not the holidays without the holy trinity of Peanuts specials: A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and my personal favorite It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
Last year was the 50th anniversary of this Halloween classic. (So this is it’s 51st year… see, I’m better at math than Peppermint Patty). It’s hard to imagine a Halloween without viewing and referencing this animated special. It’s easy to see why it’s lasted so long, it still resonates the excitement, as well as the dread, of Halloween.
Kids today may not be going to parties where they bob for apples. (Then again, maybe they are, what do I know? Get off my lawn!) But there are parties and the fear of not getting invited (and happy to be, even if it were an accidental invite).
We now live in a time where these amazingly talented people create wonderfully detailed costumes to cosplay at comic cons. And then you have somebody like me who can’t stitch together an outfit to save his life. So I feel for Charlie Brown when he has a little trouble with the scissors and ends up as a ghost with too many eyes (which, if confronted with in real life, would be like something Pennywise from IT would send to scare you with).
“I got a rock” has become a metaphor for when life gives you not what you wanted, even though you tried your best.
And Snoopy’s battle with the Red Baron shows us how it’s fun to play pretend at this time of year, no matter how old you are.
But the greatest metaphor in It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is the Great Pumpkin him (or her) self. Never sure if Linus should be admired of committed for his blind faith in this higher power. And to convince Sally to give up “Tricks or Treats” to sit in a pumpkin patch with him waiting for this Godot shows the power of unrequited love.
We all have something in our lives that we believe in unconditionally even though the rest of the world tells us we’re crazy to do so. And even with multiple disappointments, our faith only gets stronger each year. We will keep trying until we find that most sincere pumpkin patch.
For a two-dimensional cartoon, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is pretty layered. You can read all of the above into it, or just enjoy the fun of it. If you’re lucky, the Great Pumpkin may bring you one of these cool Halloween Peanuts shirts. But remember, The Great Pumpkin helps those who help themselves!
Happy Halloween, Charlie Brown.