It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a Halloween-themed animated television special based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. It first aired in the United States on CBS on October 27, 1966. It has been shown on American television every year since then with the exception of 2020, when the rights to all Peanuts holiday specials were purchased by Apple TV +, however, the special returned to airing on Television starting in 2021. The cartoon was nominated for two Emmy Awards, Outstanding Children's Program and Special Classification of Individual Achievement.
The characters in the special are a group of children (Charlie Brown, his younger sister Sally, Lucy van Pelt, her younger brother Linus, Schroeder, Violet, Patty, "Pig-Pen", Frieda, and Shermy) and Charlie Brown's pet dog Snoopy. The action takes place on Halloween, the days preceding it and the day following it. The majority of the child characters look forward to Halloween as a time to go trick-or-treating and to have a party. For Linus van Pelt, however, Halloween is particularly special time. Linus is convinced that on Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of a pumpkin patch and then travels around the world bringing presents to all the good boys and girls. Linus plans to spend Halloween sitting in a pumpkin patch and waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear.
In the opening sequence, Linus van Pelt and his sister Lucy are seen visiting a pumpkin patch, selecting a pumpkin to make into a jack-o-lantern. Lucy chooses the largest one and Linus is forced to roll it home. At home, Lucy begins carving the pumpkin to Linus' obvious disgust. The boy eventually cries, "You didn't tell me you we're going to kill it!"
In the opening title sequence, trick-or-treaters dressed as Mr. Hyde, a witch, and three ghosts get frightened by sinister-looking phantoms and start to run away. The trick-or-treaters are forced to hide in a nearby pumpkin patch until the coast is clear. The sequence ends with an owl hooting as it flies off a tree branch.
Linus is seen writing a letter to the Great Pumpkin. The other children and Snoopy the dog make fun of him, but Linus remains firm in his belief that on Halloween night the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the most sincere pumpkin patch and give toys to all the good children of the world.
After Linus mails his letter to the Great Pumpkin (using his security blanket to open the mailbox after Lucy refuses to help), Charlie Brown dances for joy when he receives an invitation to go to the Halloween party of a girl named Violet, who usually treats him meanly. His bubble is quickly burst by Lucy who mentions there were two lists, people to invite and people not to invite; Lucy is certain Charlie Brown's name was on the wrong list.
On Halloween night, the children prepare to go trick-or-treating. Lucy is wearing a witch costume the other children are dressed as ghosts, but Charlie Brown's ghost costume looks very strange because it has too many eye holes. Charlie Brown says that he had a little trouble with the scissors. Although he is covered by a ghost costume, the constantly dirty boy known as "Pig-Pen" is easily recognizable by his trademark cloud of dust. Snoopy then shows up in his costume and Charlie Brown explains that he is a World War I Flying Ace. Before they begin trick-or-treating, the children go to see Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin in the pumpkin patch. Linus asks if they are going to sing pumpkin carols. Most of the other children laugh at him but Linus is able to convince Charlie Brown's little sister Sally to wait with him.
While Linus and Sally wait in the pumpkin patch, the other children go trick-or-treating. Most of the children receive large amounts of candy and other treats but at every house Charlie Brown is given nothing but a rock. Meanwhile, Snoopy prepares to take off in his doghouse Sopwith Camel on a World War I dawn patrol. His mission, find his archenemy, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, The Red Baron, and shoot him down. After a fierce dogfight, Snoopy is shot down behind the enemy lines and makes his way across the French countryside.
After trick-or-treating, the children enjoy the party at Violet's house, with pumpkin carving, music and apple bobbing, except for Linus and Sally who continue to wait in the pumpkin patch. Linus hears a rustling sound and sees a shadowy figure rise up. He is sure it is the Great Pumpkin and faints with excitement. However, the figure turns out to be Snoopy who crashed the Halloween party earlier. When Sally sees that it is just her brother's dog, and not the Great Pumpkin, she gets extremely angry and upset about missing both tricks-or-treats and the Halloween party. She storms off with the other children, leaving Linus in the pumpkin patch on his own, still convinced the Great Pumpkin will come. He tries to get her to come back and promises to put in a good word for them, but accidentally says "If the Great Pumpkin comes", instead of When. After he realizes his mistake, he says “I meant when he comes!”. He then declares that he is doomed because "one little slip like that can cause the Great Pumpkin to pass you by." The camera then zooms out to reveal the entire pumpkin patch as he calls out, "Oh, Great Pumpkin, where are you?!"
At four o'clock in the morning, Lucy awakens and sees that her brother is not in bed. She puts her winter clothes on, goes out to the pumpkin patch and, after finding him asleep covered in nothing but his security blanket shivering, brings him home and to his room, taking off his shoes and socks. He passes out in his own bed as Lucy puts the covers on him before angrily walking out of his room.
Later the next day on November 1, Charlie Brown and Linus were having a conversation at the wall talking about the previous night Charlie Brown got a bag full of rocks and Linus is disappointed because he spent the whole night waiting outside for the Great Pumpkin who never arrived. Charlie Brown tries to console him by saying, "I've done a lot of stupid things in my life too." This makes Linus extremely angry. He begins shouting that the Great Pumpkin will definitely come next year and continues to yell at Charlie Brown as the end credits roll.
- Peter Robbins - Charlie Brown
- Christopher Shea – Linus van Pelt
- Sally Dryer – Lucy van Pelt
- Kathy Steinberg – Sally Brown
- Ann Altieri – Frieda/Violet
- Glenn Mendelson – Schroeder/Shermy
- Gai DeFaria – "Pig-Pen"
- Lisa DeFaria – Patty
- Bill Melendez – Snoopy
5 appears but has no lines.
- The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XIX parodies It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown in the segment "It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse"
- The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show: "Great Pumpkin"
- The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show: "Scared Snoopy"
- Charlie Brown costume
- Linus van Pelt costume
- Lucy van Pelt costume
- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on the Internet Movie Database.
- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on the Big Cartoon Database.
- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on AllMovie.
- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on Rotten Tomatoes.
- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on TV Tropes.
- Quotations from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on Wikiquote.