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How to watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for free online

Good grief! Longtime Peanuts fans feel Apple's move was a trick, not a treat.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, and generational studies Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Plenty of Peanuts fans are upset about the specials moving to Apple TV Plus.


You'll still be able to watch It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, for free this Halloween -- though the delivery format might be a little different. Although Apple announced last week that Apple TV Plus will now be the home for the famed Charles Schulz Peanuts specials, they'll still be free for a few days to anyone able to watch on a browser or the Apple TV app .

Not everyone was thrilled to hear that the iconic Peanuts specials, along with new Peanuts content, have found a home on Apple TV Plus rather than broadcast TV, where the shows aired for more than a half-century. The Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas specials will all be viewable free for a few days each, according to Apple's press release. While no special Apple equipment or subscription is required, viewers must be tech-savvy enough to seek out the specials via browser or app during their brief window of free availability, plus have a device that can show them. Even in 2020, that's not universally true.

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Viewers can go to tv.apple.com or to the Apple TV app from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 to watch Charlie Brown get rocks in his trick-or-treat bag in It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will be free to watch on the site from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27, and A Charlie Brown Christmas from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13, according to Apple Insider. All the specials will be available for longer periods of time for Apple TV Plus subscribers.

Taking the specials away from their longtime broadcast TV home felt like more trick than treat to many.

"How do you expect elderly people to watch these beloved specials?" wrote one Twitter user. "Majority of them don't have streaming devices. My mom, who passed away last year, was like a little kid watching these specials. I'd call to remind her when they were coming on tv. How can you take away tradition?"

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown began streaming for Apple TV Plus subscribers on Oct. 19. Apple TV Plus will also be the home to new Peanuts shows, including the second season of the Snoopy in Space series, plus new specials that will mark Mother's Day, Earth Day, New Year's Eve and going back to school.

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