Halloween at 19 and Halloween at nine are two very different experiences: Costumes tend to be a little more revealing and, while some of us still go door-to-door, we’re looking for a party instead of candy from a neighbor. Some of us might take on the adult role of passing out the candy or even skip celebrating altogether to study or work. Yet despite these seemingly glaring differences, “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” serves as a reminder of the wholesome Halloween fun that accompanies the holiday, whether or not you’re in the third or 13th grade.
“The Peanuts” Halloween special, in which Linus spends a night in a pumpkin patch and Charlie Brown finally gets invited to a party, is surprisingly similar to the way Halloween plays out here at the University. Most obviously, the characters are all just a bunch of kids who think they know what they’re doing but, in actuality, have no idea what’s happening. Whenever an adult voice of reason tries to interfere with their fun — looking at you Schlissel — all we hear is a muffled garbling that really makes no sense.
But it goes even further than that. Take Charlie Brown for example: His consistent hope that someday, somehow, he is finally going to kick that football is the same kind of naïve dream that all of us carry into game day (only to watch Michigan fumble somewhere critical or miss a field goal). Charlie Brown’s unexpected invitation to a Halloween party, and his subsequent joy, is the same kind of feeling we all got when Michigan actually beat Michigan State. Unfortunately for Charlie Brown, the similarities don’t stop there; his night of trick-or-treating is brought down by the fact that instead of getting all the candy he could ever dream of, he gets rocks. Similarly, my expectations for going out on any night far exceed what actually happens and more often than not, I end up dead asleep by midnight regretting my decision to even go out at all.
Lucy, on the other hand, encompasses the person bent on having a good time and who is baffled when anyone seems to think there’s anything to do other than party on Halloweekend. Her criticism of Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin carries the same kind of disappointed tone I might hear from friends as I say no to the frats or when I leave at 11:45 p.m. to go hop in bed. She might even call me a blockhead on my way out. Snoopy is that one person that gets so into their costume and their character — I have to wonder why they aren’t in SMTD; his World War II flying ace costume is elaborate and detailed, down to his dog house as the plane. There are people in this world, and on this campus, who go to the same extremes. I just can’t help but think about the time it would take to come up with a quality costume and execute it well. I can barely do that with homework.
I will also proudly admit that I am Linus and that I have, in fact, carried a security blanket around, which I will shamelessly take to class and lecture. Linus also happens to be that person who insists on doing something other than partying and talks excessively about these different plans. In our 21st century case, I would liken it to posting it on Instagram. He writes a letter to the Great Pumpkin; I’ll post a picture of myself studying at Espresso Royale on a Saturday night. Interestingly enough, whether someone is waiting for the Great Pumpkin or studying for a good midterm grade, both rely on a healthy level of sincerity that Linus and I both don’t have.
Charlie Brown and Linus always also have their little chats on a brick wall — in “Great Pumpkin” the two recap Halloween night, discussing the highs and the lows of trick-or-treating and the disappointment of the Great Pumpkin. This whole segment of the cartoon is reminiscent of the morning after brunches we all go to with our friends while ignoring whatever responsibilities we may or may not need to address in the near future.
This Halloween, make sure you watch, or re-watch, “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” Whether you do it while pregaming a house party or baking a pumpkin pie with your mom, just remember to never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker and always get your signed documents notarized.