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It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a Peanuts classic that appeals to all ages. It promotes many favorite American Halloween traditions like trick-or-treating and apple bobbing, not to mention the infamous Great Pumpkin (who must have missed Linus' pumpkin patch somehow). When Snoopy dresses up as a WWI flying ace, he hams it up during a pretend battle atop his dog house -- complete with flying bullets. Some of the Halloween imagery (ghosts, skeletons) may alarm the very youngest viewers.
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What's the story?
It's almost Halloween, and the optimism is infectious in IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN. Linus (voiced by Christopher Shea) is crafting his letter to the Great Pumpkin (think Santa in a pumpkin patch), Charlie Brown (Peter Robbins) is thrilled about being invited to a party, and Lucy (Sally Dryer) has the perfect witchy costume. No one believes Linus' tales of the Great Pumpkin's visit -- Sally (Kathy Steinberg) wants to, though, so she decides to spend the night waiting with Linus in the pumpkin patch. Charlie Brown, in his ghost costume that looks more like a potato, trick-or-treats all night, and all he has to show for it is a bag of rocks. Lucy bobs for apples and comes up with a beagle kiss -- blech!
Is it any good?
You can almost smell the donuts, cider, and piles of leaves on a crisp fall day when you start watching this classic Peanuts Halloween special. Generations of trick-or-treaters have grown up on It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. One of the most memorable images isn't the arrival of the Great Pumpkin (maybe next year, Linus), but rather of Snoopy hamming it up atop his red dog house as a WWI flying ace -- he takes his costume very seriously. He's so in character that he doesn't realize when he walks from the French countryside he's conjured up for himself into the Halloween party.
One of the sweetest moments is when Lucy retrieves a shivering Linus from the pumpkin patch and puts him to bed. It's a difficult end to the holiday for Linus, but he wakes up the next morning determined to wait in the pumpkin patch all over again, just like so many Peanuts fans will come back to this gem year after year.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what their favorite Halloween traditions are -- for some families it's watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Have you ever tried apple bobbing? Do you like carving pumpkins? If you could hand out something extra special at Halloween, what would it be?
Families can also talk about how Snoopy took his Halloween costume so seriously -- and just how funny it is to see him flying his dog house. When you put on your costume, will you get into character? Why or why not?
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