IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN: THE UPDATED VERSION
NOTE: "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and all Peanuts characters and trademarks are copyrighted 1966 by United Features Syndicates. This is an updated version of the classic TV special, featuring the later Peanuts characters not in the original special (including Woodstock, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Franklin and Rerun). The plot is still pretty much the same, but I've also added a few tidbits from later Halloween-related Peanuts strips, by Charles M. Schulz.
It was a nice autumn evening in October. Lucy, Linus and Rerun all went out for a walk to the pumpkin patch. Rerun and Linus both picked up a couple of apples, took bites out of them, then tossed them in a nearby garbage can. As they continued, Rerun kicked up some leaves. Eventually, they arrived at a pumpkin patch. Rerun picked out a small pumpkin, but Lucy didn't like it. Linus then found a slightly larger pumpkin, but Lucy wasn't thrilled about that one either. Eventually, Rerun was struggling to carry a gigantic pumpkin. Lucy liked this one best, and they began their walk home. Since Rerun was having trouble, Linus volunteered to help carry it. Lucy was able to go through the blank spot in a wooden fence, but the pumpkin wouldn't fit, so Linus and Rerun both rolled it down the sidewalk, before skidding up to their porch. And once again, Linus and Rerun struggled to carry it into the living room, where Lucy set up some old newspapers. The two brothers placed the pumpkin on the newspapers, and then Lucy walked up with a knife, instantly slicing open the top and beginning to scoop out the goop inside. Rerun groaned loudly.
"What's the matter, Rerun?" Linus asked.
"You didn't tell me you were gonna KILL it!" Rerun wailed.
The next day, Charlie Brown and his dog Snoopy were raking leaves. Snoopy saw a leaf falling, so he blew it onto the leaf pile. "Thanks, old pal!" Charlie Brown said, patting his head.
Not too far, Rerun was licking on a lollipop, and Linus was right behind him. "All right, Rerun. You know what to do," Linus said. "Ready, set… CHARGE!"
Rerun instantly ran right over to the leaf pile and jumped into it. When the leaves settled after the impact, Rerun had a beard of leaves, his lollipop was covered with leaves, and there was a mess of leaves all around. Charlie Brown and Snoopy glared at Rerun.
"Never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker," Rerun said, grinning.
Before Charlie Brown could say something, Lucy walked up and put a football next to her legs.
"Charlie Brown…" Lucy called out.
Charlie Brown simply walked up to Lucy.
"Look, Charlie Brown," Lucy said. "I've got a football. How about practicing a few place kicks? I'll hold the ball, and you come running and kick it!"
"Congratulate me!" Charlie Brown said sarcastically. You have just nominated me 'Most Stupid Kid of the Year.' You're just going to pull it away, and I'm going to kill myself."
"But look, Charlie Brown," Linus said, pulling out a small booklet. "I've been reading this book about holding the ball." She opened it. "See? It tells how to hold it for the kickoff, for field goals and for extra points!"
Walking away, Charlie Brown said, "If someone is reading a book about something, I guess you have to trust her. This year I'm gonna kick that ball all the way to Omaha!" He turned around and ran over to the football, but Lucy pulled it away right before Charlie kicked it. With his distinctive "AAAAAAAAAAAUGH!" Charlie Brown flew through the air and crashed to the ground.
Lucy held up her booklet. "I wrote the book, Charlie Brown!"
Later that afternoon, Linus was writing a letter. "Dear Great Pumpkin," he wrote, "I am looking forward to your arrival on Halloween night. I hope you will bring me lots of presents. I have been very good this year. … Have you noticed?"
Charlie Brown walked up. "Who are you writing to, Linus?"
Linus responded, "This is the time of year to write to the Great Pumpkin, remember? On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of his pumpkin patch, and flies through the air with his bag of toys for all the children!"
"You're crazy," Charlie Brown said, frowning. "When are you going to stop believing in something that isn't true?"
"When you stop believing in that fellow with the red suit and white beard who goes 'Ho, ho, ho,'" Linus argued, "I'll stop believing in the Great Pumpkin!"
"We are obviously separated by denominational differences," Charlie Brown said to himself, and walked off.
Linus continued writing, "You must get discouraged because more people believe in Santa Claus than in you." Snoopy walked up and watched Linus write. "Well, let's face it. Santa Claus has had more publicity. But being number two, perhaps you try harder." Snoopy began laughing like crazy and walking off, falling into Lucy's lap. Lucy tossed Snoopy off her lap, and went over to see what the fuss was all about.
Within seconds, Lucy was grabbing Linus and yelling at him. "NOT AGAIN! Writing a letter to that stupid pumpkin?! You make me the laughingstock of the neighborhood! All they talk about is my brother who always writes to the Great Pumpkin. You'd better cut it out right now or I'll pound you!" she warned, making a fist. Then she walked off again.
A minute later, Violet entered as well. "You're crazy! Just plain crazy! You're like someone who has fallen on his head out of a tree! You're STARK RAVING STUPID!" Then she left.
"I should've known…" Linus said once he was alone again. "There are three things I learned never to discuss with people. Religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin."
Patty walked in as well. She frowned at the letter as well. "You're wasting your time! The Great Pumpkin is a fake! He's been fake for YEARS! Remember?" She walked off.
Linus concluded his letter: "Everyone tells me you are a fake, but I believe in you. Sincerely, Linus Van Pelt. … P.S. If you really are a fake, don't tell me. I don't want to know."
Sally walked up to Linus now. "What are ya doing, Linus?"
"I'd rather not say. You might laugh," he warned.
"Oh, I'd never laugh at you, Sweet Baboo. You're so intelligent," Sally said.
Linus, who wasn't even angry for being called the nickname he despised the most, blushed and said, "I'm writing a letter to the Great Pumpkin!"
"You say the cutest things!" Sally replied.
Linus repeated his Great Pumpkin lecture, "On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the Pumpkin Patch, and flies through the air to bring toys to all the good little children everywhere! Wouldn't you like to sit with me in the pumpkin patch on Halloween night and wait for the Great Pumpkin?"
"Oh, I'd love to Linus!" Sally answered.
"What's going on here?!" Charlie Brown yelled as he grabbed Sally and dragged her away. "What are you trying to do to my little sister?"
Linus put the letter in an envelope and headed out.
Lucy, whom was reading the TV Guide in the den, noticed Linus walking by. "And how do you think you're gonna MAIL that letter?" she asked. "You can't possibly reach the mailbox, and I'm not gonna help you."
But once out at the mailbox, Linus put the letter in his mouth, whipped his blanket so the top twisted around the knob on the mailbox door, pulled it open, then tossed the letter into the mailbox, before shutting the door and walking off with his blanket.
"HEY!" Charlie Brown entered, holding an invitation and with a big grin on his face. "I got an invitation to a Halloween party!" He began doing a victory dance of some sort.
"Is the invitation to Violet's party, Charlie Brown?" Lucy asked.
"Yes! It's the first time I've ever been invited to a party," Charlie Brown said, and continued dancing, but stopped when Lucy said…
"Charlie Brown, if YOU got an invitation it was a mistake. There were two lists, Charlie Brown: one to invite, and one NOT to invite. You must have been put on the wrong list."
Charlie Brown's face turned red at this. Then he noticed Rerun standing nearby. He asked, "Rerun! What are YOU doing here?"
"I'm with Linus…" he answered. "He's across the street knocking on doors telling people about the 'Great Pumpkin.' I'm standing over here so no one will know I'm with him."
"What kind of an evangelist are you?" Charlie Brown asked?
"I'm a semi-evangelist," Rerun said.
Across the street, Linus and Snoopy rang the doorbell at a girl's house. "Good afternoon… I'm here to tell you about the 'Great Pumpkin,'" he said.
"The what?" the girl asked.
Linus repeated his lecture, "On Halloween night, the 'Great Pumpkin' rises from the pumpkin patch, and flies through the air and brings toys to all the children!"
"Why should I believe that?"
"It'll make you a better person," Linus explained. "You'll have peace and comfort. Look at my companion here… waiting for the 'Great Pumpkin' has brought him perfect peace."
Snoopy was standing next to Linus, but he was now fast asleep!
"Yes, I can see that… go away!" the girl said, slamming the door.
Linus, knowing he had failed once again, walked off with Snoopy. "I hope she didn't wake you up when she slammed the door…" he said.
Later, Charlie Brown watched Marcie walking around carrying some pamphlets. She rang the doorbell at one of them and said, "Good afternoon, sir. This pamphlet tells you all about the 'Great Pumpkin'… I think you'll really like it." But the man at the door just crumpled up the pamphlet and tossed it on Marcie's head.
"I'll bet he didn't even read it…" Marcie said. "Chuck, nobody believes what's in these pamphlets about the 'Great Pumpkin.' Maybe they're all too smart. Maybe we should go to someone's house who is stupid enough to believe in this."
A short while later, Marcie was over at Peppermint Patty's house. "Hi, Marcie! What's up?" Peppermint Patty answered.
Meanwhile, Charlie Brown watched as Linus carried a sign over to the pumpkin patch that said, "WELCOME GREAT PUMPKIN." He sat there holding the sign, looking hopeful as usual…
Eventually, Halloween night arrived. Over at Lucy's house, Sally was cutting two holes in an old white bed sheet for her Halloween costume. When she looked at the finished product, she shrieked at the sight of her empty ghost costume!
The other kids were getting their costumes on, too. Violet and Charlie Brown were both holding white sheets they made into ghost costumes too, and Lucy was wearing a white gown of some sort and holding a red witch's hat and a green witch's mask. Rerun had on a brown werewolf body jumpsuit and was putting on a rubber wolf mask that only went down past his nose, leaving his mouth exposed.
"A person should always choose a costume which is in direct contrast to her own personality," Lucy explained before putting on her witch mask and hat.
"Is Linus taking me to the party?" Sally asked.
"That stupid blockhead of a brother of mine," Lucy said, "is out in the pumpkin patch making his yearly fool of himself."
"Boy is he strange," Violet said.
Sally wasn't sure. "But maybe there IS a great pumpkin!"
"Every year, Linus misses tricks-or-treats," Violet explained, putting on her ghost costume, "and then the Halloween party!"
"He'll never learn," Charlie Brown added.
Sally asked, "Do Rerun and I get to go trick-or-treating with you guys, big brother?"
"Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! How do I do it?" Rerun asked.
"All you have to do is walk up to a house, ring the doorbell, and say 'Tricks or treats,'" Lucy explained.
"Are you sure that's legal?" Rerun asked his sister.
"Of COURSE it's legal!"
"Good," Rerun said. "I wouldn't want to be accused of taking part in a rumble."
Sally tried putting on her ghost costume, but got her arms caught in the eyeholes, so Lucy fixed it. Charlie Brown then put on his ghost costume, revealing it had a lot of holes throughout the sheet. "Oh good grief," Lucy sighed among seeing Charlie Brown's getup.
Two other kids now came up. One was Schroeder, who was decked out in a similar ghost costume to the others but with a coonskin cap on top. The other was Franklin, who had a green monster mask with a purple top hat on, in addition to a white gown similar to Lucy's.
"Is that you, Patty?" Franklin asked.
"NO." Lucy said. "Patty won't be joining us."
"No, but Peppermint Patty will be!" a familiar voice rang out. Peppermint Patty entered wearing a light blue wizard robe and hat and holding a magic wand. Following her was Marcie, also dressed as a ghost, but wearing her distinctive glasses. "I don't think real ghosts wear glasses, Marcie," Peppermint Patty told her friend. "By the way, where is old Chuck?"
"Here I am," Charlie Brown said from underneath his ghost disguise. "I had a little trouble with the scissors."
Yet another ghost entered, this one with his sheet all dirty and a cloud of dust trailing behind. "They'll never guess it's me under here," Pigpen said underneath.
"Hello Pigpen," Violet greeted. "Glad you could make it!"
"How did you know it was me?" Pigpen asked. Snoopy then entered wearing his Flying Ace cap, goggles and scarf.
"What in the world kind of a costume is THAT?" Lucy asked.
Charlie explained, "He's a World War One Flying Ace."
"Now I've heard everything," Lucy said. "All right everybody, we'll go trick-or-treating and then over to Violet's for the big Halloween party!"
All the kids cheered and laughed and headed for the door. Snoopy simply left with a dramatic march, and saluted Frieda, also wearing a ghost costume while holding the door open, whom saluted him back. While the other kids went on their way to their trick-or-treat duties, Snoopy marched off in the other direction.
Over at the Pumpkin Patch, only Linus was there, as all the trick-or-treaters came up to him.
"Hey, have you come to sing pumpkin carols?" Linus asked, recognizing his sister from behind her witch's mask.
"You blockhead, you're gonna miss all the fun just like LAST year!"
"Don't talk like that," Linus said. "The 'Great Pumpkin' knows which kids have been good, and which kids have been bad. You'll be sorry!"
"Oh, good grief…" Lucy said to herself.
"He'll come here because I have the most sincere pumpkin patch," Linus explained, "and he respects sincerity."
Sally, removing her ghost costume, asked "Do you REALLY think he'll come?"
Linus repeated his Great Pumpkin lecture to Sally once again, "Tonight, the 'Great Pumpkin' rises out of the pumpkin patch. He flies through the air and brings toys to all the children of the world!"
"THAT'S a good story…" Sally remarked. "I place it just a little below the one about the flying reindeer!"
"You don't believe the story of the 'Great Pumpkin?'" Linus asked, with a hint of noticeable shock in his voice. "I'm disillusioned! I thought little girls always believed everything that was told to them, and that they were innocent and trusting!"
"Welcome to the 21st century!" Sally replied.
"All right, once and for all!" Lucy butted in. "Are you coming or are you staying? We can't waste all night!"
Sally began to follow the other trick-or-treaters, but she couldn't stop looking back at Linus, just standing there and looking confident. Eventually, Sally just couldn't resist, and ran right back to her sweet baboo.
"I'm glad you came back, Sally," Linus said. "You want proof? You're going to get it for sure. We'll just sit here in this pumpkin patch, and you'll see the 'Great Pumpkin' with your own eyes!" He deliberately widened his eyes as he said the last few words of the sentence to emphasize his point.
After several seconds of silence, Sally warned him, "If you try to hold my hand, I'll slug you!"
Linus began lecturing Sally about the "Great Pumpkin" again. "Each year, the 'Great Pumpkin' rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's GOT to pick this one. He's GOT to! I don't see how a pumpkin patch could be more sincere than this one. You can look all around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see!" By now, Sally began to feel a bit more positive about the whole idea.