Peanuts Halloween Coloring Book

Peanuts (the comic, not the nut) are an important part of Halloween for me. I want them to be an important part of Halloween for my daughter as well. So when I found this mini Peanuts coloring book at Target for $1, I snapped it up.

The book has all kinds of great images. None of them are really Great Pumpkin-oriented, but they all are Halloweeny.

And it also came with these great stickers.

I don’t know if this coloring book will make Peanuts a treasured part of my daughter’s Halloween, but it is just one more way in which they are a treasured part of mine.

Halloween Peanuts and Simpsons Merch

Peanuts is an indelible part of Halloween. This is largely became It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is such a seminal Halloween special, but Peanuts has been associated with Halloween in other ways as well. And The Simpsons are rooted to Halloween by twenty-plus years of Treehouse of Horror episodes. Here’s some Peanuts and Simpsons Halloween merch I found while wondering the stores today.

Yes Linus, there is a Great Pumpkin

Seven-year-old Linus van Pelt wrote a letter to the editor of Claymation Werewolf’s “Howl“, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial October 18, 1964. The work of veteran blogger Rhett Kahn has since become the internets most reprinted blog, appearing in Elvish, L33t, Klingon and dozens of other fake languages on websites, forums, and even the occasional pop-culture blog site.

Dear Editor:
I am 7 years old.
My sister and nearly all of my friends say there is no Great Pumpkin.
Dad says, “Wah wa wawawa wa waaaa wa.” Which means “If you hear it in the Howl it is sound. Please tell me the truth; is there a Great Pumpkin?
Linus van Pelt.
4242 Gudgreef Lane

Linus, I’m happy to say that your friends are wrong. Like many others, they have given up in the face of an age obsessed with commercialism. All they can understand is what they are told to understand, and anything else, no matter how inherently true or remarkably sincere is pushed away. At Halloween, there are so few among us willing to step away from the draw of the candy and the costume parties and look, really look at the beauty of the season changing around them. They are left blind to the beauty of the changing leaves or the joy that can be found on Halloween night, sitting in a pumpkin patch and gazing into the expanse of bright stars in a black autumn sky.

Yes Linus, there is a Great Pumpkin. He lives as surely as childlike wonder and imagination live, and they live in all of our hearts, young or old they live. How can one imagine a world with no Great Pumpkin in it? It would be a world without color, a world just as hollow and empty as a world without a Linus. It is this creativity and joy that paints the very colors of red and gold on the autumn leaves! If all that we experienced in this world were the things that we could see and touch then what use could we have for things like dreams or songs, wishes or laughter?

Life with no Great Pumpkin! That would be a life without ghosts or goblins or any of the other beings that make us shiver with fear and delight! You may very well sit through an entire Halloween night with the little sister of your best friend in order to see him, but even if he never appeared…even if it was just some crazy beagle in a costume, what would that really mean? This world is so big and there are many others who believe, and who too have grown pumpkin patches of such sincerity that it would be difficult for the Great Pumpkin himself to choose! But it does not mean he isn’t out there. Have you ever seen the silhouette of a witch as she glides on her broomstick through the chill air and across the moon itself? Have you ever seen gremlins or trolls or anything else that goes bump in the night? These things are just as real as the desk you set at or the paper you write upon. No, they are even more real because it is the belief in our hearts that make them real. They exist beyond the shallow constraints of material things.

You might try to recreate the world of spooks and monsters with costumes and paint. But the real heart and soul of Halloween could never be reached. Even the most refined efforts of the greatest special effects experts in Hollywood just seem like peanuts by comparison. Only the heartbeat of Halloween. The glow of a Jack o’ Lantern and the vision of fallen leaves dancing upon a sidewalk in the grip of a brisk autumn wind. Only the laughter of children as they listen to a haunting ghost story around a fire. Only these things could ever hope to give us even a glimpse into that spooky world that we all cherish! Linus, is there anything better that any one of us could hope for?

No Great Pumpkin?!. Of course he exists! And when you are old and grey with children and even grandchildren of your own he will still exist! And may he forever continue to bring children all over the world a sense of mystery and amazement. Those gifts, Linus, are really the most amazing gifts of all.

Illustration by Christopher Tupa

Autumn/Halloween Puzzles

I do puzzles. It’s kind of lame, yes. There’s never a puzzle I do during which I don’t at some point think, “This is a waste of time.” But I do them in autumn and especially around Halloween. This started way back when I was grounded for some reason during the fall of my sixth grade year. I spend my two grounded weeks in my room alternatively working a puzzle and reading Stephen King’s It (here and here). Since that time, doing puzzles has just been an Autumn thing for me. It’s part of how I enjoy Autumn, imbibe Autumn. Working a puzzle while listening to a great horror movie I know well and munching on Halloween candy? Yeah, that’s Autumn. A waste of time, but that’s Autumn. Making it even more Autumn-y are the great Autumn and Halloween puzzles as like these from my collection:

This is just a generic Halloween puzzle, but it is just filled with Halloween atmosphere. Every section of the puzzle has pumpkins, witches, and trick-or-treaters. And at 500 pieces, it won’t take too much time away from seasonal slasher flicks.

These puzzles are by Charles Wysocki. He’s done dozens of general Autumn puzzles and specifically Halloween puzzles. Some of these are very difficult to get, such as Hellraisers on Halloween (the blue one).

You have to have some Peanuts puzzles in the mix. Charlie Brown pretty much owns Halloween, and he stakes his claim on the holiday even harder with these pumpkin-shaped puzzles, one of which is taken directly from The Great Pumpkin and the other of which is inspired by it. They come in regular cardboard boxes as well as collectors tins. Making these puzzles extra-hard is the pumpkin shape. You can’t do the outline of these puzzles like you can with the square ones. You have to do the kids and then work out. It was also while doing these puzzles that I realized what a strange head Linus has. Seriously, that can’t be normal.

Waste of time? Maybe. But then considering all the enjoyment and atmosphere I get from doing these puzzles at this time of year, maybe not.