Where to Stream All the Charlie Brown Specials This Fall

Summary

  • Since 1965, Peanuts has aired holiday specials for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • The Peanuts holiday specials are no longer broadcast on television, with Apple TV+ as their permanent home.
  • There is a way for non-Apple TV+ subscribers to view the specials without a subscription.


It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! As the holiday season rolls around, everyone’s favorite gang is coming back to the screen to celebrate the festivities in October, November and December. The first holiday to cross off the list is Halloween, which Peanuts is bringing to streaming as it has in previous years. Originally based on the comic strip of the same name by Charles M. Schulz, the Peanuts holiday specials hold a special place in the heart of millions of people around the world. There’s nothing like the lovable joy of children having philosophical and psychological crises during the holiday season.

The first special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, was released in 1965 and has since expanded to Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter and even smaller holidays like Arbor Day. Charlie Brown makes sure everyone is represented in his group of pals, especially in the modern releases. No matter how many times one watches a Peanuts special, the magic still remains among this goofy gang of animated comic strip buddies. But those who’ve watched the specials on broadcast television since childhood might’ve noticed that they’ve mysteriously disappeared from syndication. That’s because to celebrate the holiday season, one streaming service has all the Peanuts humor to bring out everyone’s inner child in just under 30 minutes.

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Where to Stream It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

The Peanuts gang judges Linus in the pumpkin patch on Halloween night

For October, viewers can stream It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on Apple TV+. Subscribers can watch the 1966 special at any time, in or out of the holiday season. The specials were previously available to watch on broadcast television on CBS and ABC for years, but given streaming has dominated the entertainment industry for the past several years, a change was required to keep newer generations in love with the Peanuts friends.

Apple TV+ struck a programming deal with Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Productions in 2020 to exclusively stream the holiday specials, new specials and a new animated series. Thus, if It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown isn’t enough to fuel criticism for consumerism and analyze the psychologically complex relationships between the friends, there are plenty of older and newer Peanuts programming to click “Play” on. Perhaps the adventures of Charlie Brown and Snoopy are a brief, but tranquil moment to turn the brain off and escape into a childlike mindset with no adult worries.

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Do I Need an Apple TV+ Subscription to Pay for the Special?

There is one drawback to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown being a streaming exclusive now: there’s nowhere to watch it on broadcast television despite having aired on PBS in 2020 and 2021. As popular as streaming is across generations, there are still those out there who still solely rely on broadcast TV or cable for leisurely purposes, which is entirely okay. Even those who do predominantly use streaming might not have Apple TV+. Thankfully, there is a temporary solution to this problem.

Apple TV+ is offering It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for free for non-subscribers on the weekend of October 21-22. So while non-subscribers can’t actually watch the special on Halloween, there is a chance to get in the spooky spirit just a week ahead. Additionally, those who have recently bought new Apple products have three free months of Apple TV+. With the new iPhone 15 recently on the market, there are likely many people who will be taking Apple up on that offer.

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What It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Is About

Having It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown free for a limited time is an exciting prospect, but is the special anything to get worked up about? In fact, it is. It’s known as one of the best Peanuts and Halloween specials of all time, just beat out by the original that started it all: A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is another one of Linus’ dreams to find the mythical Great Pumpkin, whereas the other children are preparing to celebrate the scary holiday.

The special, on the surface, is a classic tale suited for people of all ages to enjoy. After all, that was the appeal of the Peanuts cartoons in the first place. But in classic Charles M. Schulz-style, the special also incorporates a steady theme of religion that Chuck cleverly points out as a separation of “nondenominational differences.” Linus being critical in his belief in the Great Pumpkin holds strong throughout the special, which many may not have initially interpreted as maintenance of faith.

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Other Peanuts Holiday Specials Coming Soon

When the Halloween season is over, there will be other Peanuts holiday specials to look forward to. Like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, subscribers can watch the other specials on Apple TV+ right now. The next one to look forward to in November is A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in a chaotic display of children attempting to put together a dinner that adults are most often responsible for.

The Peanuts gang sitting around the table for Thanksgiving

In December, there are several Peanuts Christmas specials fans can watch. The most famous is A Charlie Brown Christmas, in which a vulnerable Charlie Brown attempts to cure himself of his depressed patch by joining the annual Christmas play. The other two Christmas specials worth tuning in for are 1992’s It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown and 2002’s Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales. The Peanuts gang also rings in the new year with the special Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, as Charlie once again hits a mental low as he struggles to write an essay on War and Peace. Here are the two-day weekends that non-subscribers can find the major Peanuts holiday specials:

  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: October 21-22
  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: November 18-19
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas: December 16-17

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