I believe in The Great Pumpkin. I always wished The Great Pumpkin would show up just once for Linus. All those times I watched the Peanuts Halloween special, I hoped that somehow this one time things would turn out different.
Every Halloween my son gives up most of his candy and leaves it out for the Great Pumpkin in exchange for cool presents like a Lego set or animation classes. This year he’s getting a new skateboard to replace the one that’s mostly now, the duct tape that’s held it together.
We introduced my son to the Great Pumpkin because we like that my son has little magical things to believe in like Santa and the Easter Bunny. For parts of his life his best friends were made from cloth and stuffing, with plastic eyes and stitching. They were as alive as you and me, and he learned to talk in part by speaking with them. That same magic is what gave my son friends, when there were none to be had.
We’re also glad he believes because it’s a great way to steal his candy without feeling too guilty. The candy my son leaves behind for The Great Pumpkin feeds our sweet tooth and jolts us awake when we’re running on fumes. In fairness our thievery isn’t completely greed motivated. We also don’t want him sugar-charged and spinning around the house like a tornado destroying family heirlooms. We can also do with him breaking bones or throwing up a river of chocolate vomit in the middle of the night.
Like most kids my son gets really excited in anticipation of the holiday season. The first leg of the holiday celebrations is Halloween, and it seems everyone starts to celebrate it with sugary treats, days before hand. No matter where you go there are bowls of candy out, and my son will take advantage of the free bounty to start collecting his offering to the Great Pumpkin.
This weekend, just days before Halloween, my son and I went to a car dealership looking to buy a new car for me. There was a huge bowl of Halloween candy next to each bright and shining vehicle. My son grabbed a fist full of candy from the bowl next to a blood red Honda Fit, climbed into the front seat and started munching on a mini Snickers bar. He crawled around the black leather interior like a spider with his muddy sneakers.
By the time he had finished off two Almond Joys, a pack of Starbursts and another small Hershey bar, he was bouncing back and forth between the front and back seat. All that jumping around set off the cars alarm, and the loud “BEEP BEEP BEEP” echoed off the bare walls and floor. It took ten minutes for the salesmen and a couple of guys from the service department to figure out how to turn off the “fucking alarm.” All it took my son was to make that kind of racket, to finally get a salesman over and help me out. But the salesman referred me to a different dealer up the road, and told me they probably had what I wanted, even before I told him what I was looking for.
We took his hint and left, but went to Barnes and Noble where my son knocked over a rack of books, and then to K-mart where he climbed to the top of a tall stack of toilet paper and knocked that over too. On both occasions, sales associates told us there was probably someplace else we would rather be shopping. Of course my son was more than happy to keep shopping there. My son is always happiest doing exactly what he’s doing now.
On every stop along the way we failed to accomplish what I set out to do. I still had no car of my own, I never got my coffee and magazine, and we were still running low on diapers and tampons at home. Although I’d venture to guess that if you asked my son if our mission was successful, he’d likely say “totally, we got thrown outta every place we went to.”
It didn’t seem to bother my son that after being out all day, we didn’t have even a single pack of pretzels or roll of Smarties to tempt the Great Pumpkin with. My son had his fun, while I pulled out the last of my hair that I could ill afford to lose. The Great Pumpkin would have to wait, but my son would hook him up I’m sure, with the candy he collected on Halloween. My son is smart and can feel the nasty effects of indulgence before most of his do. Plus as much he likes candy, he likes presents so much better. The Great Pumpkin would be more than happy with his take, because my son is a generous soul. But he’s not stupid and expects to be compensates for his generosity.
I believe in the Great Pumpkin and thankfully so does my son.