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It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown back on public TV after a year away

Charlie Brown's Halloween special will air on PBS and PBS Kids, in addition to Apple TV Plus. Here's how and when to watch.

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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, 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
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The Peanuts gang is back this Halloween.

Apple

Halloween last year was the equivalent of Charlie Brown's trick-or-treat bag full of rocks. Costume parties and trick-or-treating were put on hold in many places, and to top it off, the Peanuts special, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, didn't air on regular TV. Well, now it's back. This Halloween season, the 1966 animated special will air on PBS and online at PBS Kids, in addition to streaming on Apple TV Plus.

When and where to watch

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown will air on PBS and PBS Kids on Oct. 24 at 7:30 ET/PT. This is the first time the Halloween special will air on the PBS platforms, although A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas aired on them in 2020. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will air on PBS and PBS Kids on Nov. 21, and A Charlie Brown Christmas will air on both platforms on Dec. 19.

Apple TV Plus subscribers will be able to see all three of the holiday specials for longer periods of time.

How did we get here?

In 2020, Apple announced that its streaming service, Apple TV Plus, would now be the home for the famed Charles Schulz Peanuts specials. That includes not only It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, but also A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

But not everyone chooses to pay for Apple TV Plus, or has the ability or desire to use a streaming TV service. Many people were angry about this iconic tradition disappearing. The holiday specials had aired for more than a half-century on broadcast TV. Facing a pumpkin patch full of bad publicity, Apple worked out a deal where PBS could show the holiday specials, but the agreement came too late for the Halloween special to air in 2020, although the Christmas and Thanksgiving specials did air on PBS last year.

Now, however, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, has joined the PBS lineup, so Peanuts fans without Apple TV Plus can mark their calendars and start working on the sincerity of their pumpkin patches.

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