Western Animation / It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown


"Everyone tells me you are a fake, but I believe in you. P.S.: If you really are a fake, don't tell me. I don't want to know."
Linus van Pelt

This is not a Halloween Special. It's the Halloween special.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles Schulz, first aired on CBS in 1966. It was the second holiday-themed Peanuts special after the sensation that was A Charlie Brown Christmas, and is nearly as beloved today.

As night falls on Halloween, Linus is headed for the local pumpkin patch and, he hopes, the arrival of the Great Pumpkin — a Halloween analogue to Santa Claus that only he believes in. While he and Charlie Brown's sister Sally (who has a crush on him) wait on the Great Pumpkin, the other kids go trick-or-treating and attend a party. Meanwhile, Snoopy is off on his own pretending to be a World War One flying ace.

It's the Great Trope, Charlie Brown:

  • Berserk Button: At the end of the special, Charlie Brown tries to console Linus by relating, "I've also done a lot of stupid things in my life", causing Linus to angrily berate him through all of the Closing Credits.
    • Sally after realizing that they've wasted Halloween night in a pumpkin patch (see Woman Scorned below).
  • Black and Grey Morality: As with Peanuts in general, everyone in the cartoon is mean to everyone around them or ends up getting hurt or angry in some way.note 
  • Bootstrapped Theme: The music from the Cold Open, "Linus and Lucy", is often considered the Peanuts theme song.
  • Butt Monkey: Poor Charlie Brown.
    • "Thank you, Charlie Brown, you were a very good model."
    • "I got a rock."
  • Comedic Sociopathy: As noted elsewhere, in order for Charlie Brown to get a bagful of rocks while trick-or-treating there has to be an entire neighborhood full of adults who would give a kid a rock. Or, more to the point, who would give one specific kid a rock, while all the others get what sounds like great candy.
  • Downer Ending: Charlie Brown gets nothing but rocks. Sally misses out on trick-or-treating. Linus spends the night in the pumpkin patch, waiting in vain, but learns nothing, and vows that the Great Pumpkin will come next year.
  • Expressive Mask: Lucy's witch mask loses its scowl while she asks for extra candy she can give to Linus later.
  • Fainting: Linus faints when he thinks he sees the Great Pumpkin coming (it's actually Snoopy).
  • Fantasy Sequence: "Here's the World War I Flying Ace climbing into the cockpit of his Sopwith Camel..."
    • Then after he's shot down: "Here's the World War I Flying Ace imagining he's down behind enemy lines, making his way across the French countryside."
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: A mild one (this is Peanuts, after all), but Linus talks around saying the word 'hell' (see Woman Scorned, below)
  • I Got a Rock: The Trope Namer.
  • Jerkass: Every single neighbor who gave poor Charlie Brown a rock.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lucy is her usual crabby self here, mocking Linus for believing in the Great Pumpkin. However, she does ask for candy for him, too, when she goes trick-or-treating (albeit begrudgingly), and when he does not return home from the pumpkin patch by 4 a.m., she gets out of bed, walks out to the pumpkin patch, leads her brother home and puts him to bed.
    • More than that- it wasn't that he just wasn't home, she set her alarm to make sure he got to bed.
  • Kick the Dog: Again, the neighbors that give all the kids candy but keep giving Charlie Brown rocks.
  • Long Runners: It's only one special, but considering how many consecutive years it's aired on TV? It definitely counts.
  • Loophole Abuse: Lucy gets Charlie Brown to kick the football by showing him a document saying she won't pull it away when he kicks. Turns out the document wasn't notarized.
  • Not on the List: Lucy believes Charlie Brown got invited to the Halloween party by mistake, being put on the list of people to invite rather than the one of people not to invite.
  • Off Model: Like its predecessor, this special was produced cheaply and quickly; the animation suffered as a result.
  • Product Displacement: The opening credits sequence originally ended with two references to the special's original sponsors: the kids running past a scarecrow holding the Coca-Cola logo, and Snoopy dancing next to a scarecrow with a Dolly Madison sign on its post. Modern broadcasts and home video releases remove these references by ending the main title right when the owl flies towards the camera.
  • Recursive Canon: At one point Lucy is shown reading an issue of TV Guide with her own picture on the cover.
  • Shout-Out: Snoopy's imagination sequence about being shot down and trekking to the Halloween party references Wings.
    • Writing to the Great Pumpkin, Linus notes that not as many people believe in him as Santa Claus, then adds, "But being number two, perhaps you try harder." This is a reference to an advertising slogan used by Avis Rent-a-Car in the '60s.
  • The Speechless: Snoopy may be a dog who can't talk, but he seems to be treated as good as human by the rest of the cast.
  • The Unseen: The Red Baron, as well as all adults. And, of course, the Great Pumpkin himself.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: How many watching the show realize that when Snoopy smiles, smiles, smiles as Schroeder is playing "Pack Up Your Troubles", he is doing so in response to the lyrics of the song?
    • Well, perhaps the parents did at the time. Or grandparents, at least.
  • Woman Scorned: Parodied when Sally flips out at Linus for convincing her that the Great Pumpkin exists:
    Linus: You've heard about fury and a woman scorned, haven't you?
    Charlie Brown: Yes, I guess I have.
    Linus: Well, that's nothing compared to the fury of a woman who has been cheated out of tricks-or-treats.
  • World War I: Snoopy famously costumes himself as a World War I Flying Ace, and seems to have been somehow transported into the 1910s until he actually enters the house where the Halloween party is being held. Schroeder there plays him a medley of WWI era tunes: "It's a Long Way to Tipperary"; "There's a Long, Long Trail A-Winding"; "Pack Up Your Troubles in the Old Kit Bag", and "Roses of Picardy."

Alternative Title(s): Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown