Yes, I understand this is clearly stretching the bounds of the requirements for "scary movies" just a bit for this one. True, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" is a far cry away form a horror picture. For all intensive purposes, it's really a family film. However, for this time of year, it should be required viewing so it makes my list as a Halloween Fright Week classic.
This originally aired way back in 1966 as a special on ABC. Ever since then, I don't know a single person who doesn't remember watching this as a shortie. Today's generation may have been a little spoiled with cable and having so many other options. When we were coming up and there were just four stations, having a cartoon come on at night was a pleasant surprise.
I didn't realize it back then, but as I look back now, I wonder if Schultz knew how far ahead of his time he was with that special? You've got Linus worshiping a pagan idol in the Great Pumpkin which is already ironic in the fact that the whole holiday is centered in paganism. More than that though, it's lampooning the fact that as a society, we create pagan idols to associate with holidays that have nothing to do with them at all. Namely the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
One thing I remember thinking even as watching it as a shortie was how jacked up they treated Charlie Brown. Not his peers but the adults. Remember how they went trick-or-treating and he always got rocks? What adult would give a child a rock and everyone else candy?! That was SO messed up. An interesting bit of trivia regarding that is after special originally aired, children from all over the country sent candy to Charlie Brown out of sympathy.
It airs tonight on television again on its 42nd anniversary being just as fresh now as it was back when it first premiered. Watching specials like this one is a stark reminder that no matter how hard different illustrators may try, we will probably never see great animated entertainment equivalent to the Peanuts ever again.