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Three Pumpkin Experts on Charlie Brown’s ‘The Great Pumpkin’

Was he real? What did he look like? Why didn’t he come? We may never know, but these pumpkin pros have some ideas

The Great Pumpkin never came. 

Linus did his best — he kept the faith and waited all night in that most sincere of pumpkin patches to see it. He even missed out on yet another year of tricks-or-treats! Yet, he saw neither hide nor hair of that squashy spirit, leaving The Great Pumpkin’s very existence an eternal mystery; one that’s persisted since 1966 when It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown first aired.  

But is there any solving the enigma of The Great Pumpkin? Is he real? What does he look like? What makes a pumpkin patch sincere, anyway?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, and Linus sure as shit doesn’t know, but perhaps, if we look to the right group of pumpkin experts, we can solve this 55-year-old riddle after all.

On What They Think The Great Pumpkin Looks Like

Ryan Anderson, pumpkin carver, chainsaw artist and owner of Sculptures in Motion: I imagine The Great Pumpkin is a huge, massive pumpkin with a real big stem on it. He’s a picture-perfect pumpkin that’s about 2,000 pounds with a Peanuts-esque face on it. He has a crooked smile and that ball nose those characters have.

Sara Jelinek, piemaker and owner of Windy City Baker: You know those traditional trick-or-treating baskets with the jack-o’-lantern face? I imagine he’d look like a giant one of those but just floating in the air and dropping candy and gifts to people. 

Steven Jewett, pumpkin farmer and owner of Echo Orchard in Hamden, New York: Well, unfortunately, I don’t think The Great Pumpkin exists, so I can’t answer that. 

On What Might Be So Great About Him

Jelinek: I’d say the free candy and gifts.

Anderson: I like to think The Great Pumpkin is great because he just pushes out all his magic to help all the other jack-o’-lanterns grow and become big, successful, beloved jack-o’-lanterns at everyone’s houses.

Jewett: Again, I don’t believe in The Great Pumpkin, but I can tell you what I believe the features are of an actual great pumpkin. A great pumpkin is large and has a bright, but also deep orange color. Also, it has a dark green, solid, thick stem with a good amount of length to it. It should have well-defined lines around its sphere and a nice shine to it as well. 

On How The Great Pumpkin Could Get Some Better Publicity 

Jelinek: Showing up would help with his publicity. Let’s just start there — that’s step one for The Great Pumpkin’s publicity. 

Jewett: They can redo the cartoon in modern CGI so children will actually pay attention to it. Oh, and actually reveal The Great Pumpkin. Then they can sell it as a toy. 

Anderson: The Great Pumpkin needs an Instagram!

On What It Means to Have a Sincere Pumpkin Patch

Jelinek: I’d say you have to have really nice-sized pumpkins, that’s the most important thing. 

Anderson: I’ve been to some pumpkin patches where they make the experience about family events. You get there and they give you free reign and you spend hours there without realizing it.

Jewett: I just rewatched the special, and the one line I really connected with was when Linus said, “Oh, the sincerity,” in regards to his pumpkin patch. And I thought, “That’s really accurate,” because I think a good pumpkin patch does have a sincerity to it. People associate pumpkins with good memories, so there can be a real sincerity to them. 

On What They’d Do if They Spotted The Great Pumpkin

Jelinek: I mean, if he’s like Santa, I don’t think I’d want to bake him into a pie! I guess I might ask him if he has any good recipes, but I might be a bit worried to meet him because I’ve made so many pumpkin pies in my life — maybe he wouldn’t like that.

Anderson: I would not carve up The Great Pumpkin. I would not want to be the guy who killed The Great Pumpkin.

Jewett: See, now you’re forcing me to get fantastical. I only watch documentaries and true crime, I’m not a fantasy-based person. But since you’ve tapped into it, now I have to imagine some sort of pumpkin creature crawling around my orchard.

Okay, so, I think I would consider shooting it, but then I wouldn’t go through with it. Then I would consider running away but I probably wouldn’t. The first thing I’d probably do is take a picture of it so that people wouldn’t think I was crazy.