By Helen Witte
As Halloween approaches, little kids throughout the United States get excited about the prospect of dressing up, trick-or-treating, and eating a ton of candy. When I was little, I always got excited around this time of year because it was the season to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.”
This 1966 classic cartoon, containing all the characters of the Charlie Brown crew, is about Linus and how he believes in the Great Pumpkin, a spirit that comes out only on Halloween and delivers presents to all of the little children of the world, and is trying to convince his friends of its existence. Every Halloween night, Linus sits in the pumpkin patch waiting for this spirit while his friends are out trick-or-treating and going to Halloween parties.
This film is also an examination of Charlie Brown’s emotions regarding his experiences of being invited to his first party, trick-or-treating, and going to the party.
Watching this as an eighteen-year-old, still sparks the same feelings of shock, sadness and happiness in me that I felt the first time I saw it. I felt hope when Linus tries to convince Sally that the Great Pumpkin is real. I laughed at Snoopy pretending that he was a World War 1 airplane pilot on board his dog house, and felt depressed seeing Charlie Brown’s hopes of being accepted crushed when he realizes that he is the laughing stock of his friend groups after his friends drew a pumpkin design on the back of his head.
When Linus finally “sees” the Great Pumpkin after an entire night of convincing himself that this being would arrive at his pumpkin patch, I am reminded of the innocence that is possible for children and the importance for college students to maintain it even as we grow up.
It is hard, in the midst of news about natural disasters, terrorists attacks, the latest executive order signed, wars, and climate change, to think that there is any good left in this world. Watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” gave me hope that goodness is still out there and surrounds us every day.
Although there are conflicts in this film, especially between Linus and Lucy, with Lucy telling Linus that he is a “blockhead” for continuing to believe in the Great Pumpkin, at the end of the film they are resolved. She wakes up at 4 a.m and goes out to the pumpkin patch, picking up her little brother who is still shivering in the dark waiting for the true Great Pumpkin, and carries him back to his bed.
This is what humanity truly is. Humanity is loving people for who they are, despite their flaws. Lucy could be thought as a bully, given the way she seems to have disdain for her little brother and her derogatory treatment of Charlie Brown, but she shows her humanity when she brings Linus out of the cold.
If you are feeling stressed and need something to lift your spirits, watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” and I assure that you will feel better afterwards.