Bring Back The ‘Great Pumpkin’

We missed the annual showing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”—and, I guess we weren’t the only family passing on this great autumn tradition. According to a recent article in Ad Age, viewership for the “Great Pumpkin” was down 18%. There was a time when the “Great Pumpkin” was a must-see event. We would plan our entire family schedule around that one half-hour the week before Halloween—all of us sitting in the living room waiting in great anticipation for the Great Pumpkin to arrive in the pumpkin patch. I remember how excited I was to begin watching it with my own children—trying to recreate the memory for myself, but more importantly, passing it off to the next generation. But, this year it was different. Two of my three children had planned activities (and nothing says ‘Happy Halloween’ quite like a muddy, rainy football game followed by a band concert in a hot, stuffy gym) and by the time we got home, the show was over. Yes, I was sad that we missed Linus and his pumpkin patch, but I was more upset by my kids’ reactions to the news:

“Ah, we won’t be home?” Said Hanna. “That’s too bad. Maybe we could just buy the DVD and not have to worry about it.”

“Maybe it’s on YouTube,” replied Nate. “Then, you could watch it at your desk.”

“We’re missing what?” Asked Jack. “Who’s Charlie Brown?”

YIKES!! Not only did we miss the show, but no one really cared that we missed the show—except me. Is an entire generation missing out on one of my greatest Halloween memories? Soon an entire group of children will not wait with anticipation for the Great Pumpkin to arrive or think having toast and popcorn would make an interesting Thanksgiving dinner or laugh when Snoopy is the winner of the Christmas decoration contest. An entire generation without Charlie Brown’s holiday magic–hard to imagine isn’t it?

I am probably being too sensitive—after all, this was the first Halloween where two of my children went out with their friends instead of shuffling through the neighborhood streets with us. We had just one lone trick-or-treater on our hands and quite honestly, Jack would have ditched us for his own friends if we would have let him. It is just another sign that times are changing—kids are growing up—and those moments of childhood are truly fleeting.

I sometimes forget that they are getting older. In my mind Jack will forever want to snuggle with me on the couch, Nate will always run to me when he gets hurt and Hanna will ask for my opinion on everything from clothing to school. I have watched each of them slip further and further into becoming his or her own person—and while I like the people they are becoming, I sometimes miss who they used to be.

I know my children have to grow up, but I can’t help but feel just a little sad every time they inch forward on their own.  It’s just like watching Linus in his pumpkin patch—we know there really isn’t such a thing as the ‘Great Pumpkin’, yet we’re disappointed nonetheless when he doesn’t arrive.

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