Ogunquit Great Pumpkinby Robert Gillis
Published in the Boston City Paper 2007, Foxboro Reporter 2008

It’s Halloween and my one of my favorite Holiday TV specials is, “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” I was two years old when it premiered in 1966 and I never missed an airing, and the DVD is watched at least twice a year. But upon closer inspection, Charlie Brown’s world is a little odd, and that got me thinking (never a good thing on a slow news day) what if Charlie Brown and his world was real? How would a newspaper report the events of that fateful Halloween night? Wonder no more…

Pinecrest, November 1 — State and local authorities are investigating why two young children nearly died of hypothermia in a Birchwood pumpkin patch on Halloween night.

Linus Van Pelt, 7, and Sally Brown, 5, both of the area, were found in the Shultz Farm pumpkin patch about five o’clock this morning. Both were wearing summer clothes and neither was wearing a coat, despite temperatures dropping to the low 30s overnight.

Discovered by a passing beagle wearing World War I flight goggles, the pair was rushed to the local hospital where they are expected to make a full recovery.

Van Pelt’s sister, Lucille, 9, explained that her brother makes an annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch each Halloween to, “Wait for the Great Pumpkin.” According to Linus’ Myspace.com blog for October 31, “…Tonight the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch. He flies through the air and brings toys to all the children of the world.”

The Van Pelt family pediatrician confirmed that Linus Van Pelt has been under medical care for some time and suffers from delusions.

This newspaper’s elite team of medical investors spent hours researching “delusion” and learned from two very respectable medical websites (Wikipedia and WhatsWrongWithMe.org) that a “delusion” is an unshakable belief in something untrue. These irrational beliefs defy normal reasoning, and remain unyielding even when overwhelming proof is offered to dispute them. Delusions are a common symptom of several mood and personality-related mental illnesses.

But is Linus Van Pelt delusional, or a victim of religious persecution? The ACLU has expressed interest in the matter, citing that the Great Pumpkin case could be groundbreaking, adding that delusions are distinct from culturally or religiously based beliefs that may be seen as untrue by outsiders (see also: Santa Claus, Zankou, Gozer the destructor, Britney Spears, etc).

Adding fuel to the “religious” aspect of the Great Pumpkin is Van Pelt’s BFF Charles “Charlie” Brown, who explained, “I asked him, ‘You must be crazy, when are you going to stop believing in something that isn’t true?’ and he replied, ‘When you stop believing in that fellow with the red suit and the white beard who goes ho, ho, ho.'” Brown grimaced. “We are obviously separated by denominational differences.”

Lucille Van Pelt went on to say that her annual tradition is to wake at, “About 4:00 am” on November 1 and to retrieve ” … that stupid brother of mine in the pumpkin patch making his yearly fool of himself.” But this year, her alarm clock failed to wake her due to the wind storm that knocked down power lines and a kite-eating tree.

Also puzzling investigators is why Sally Brown returned to the pumpkin patch. Witnesses state that Brown had elected not to go trick or treating or to a Halloween party, remaining in the pumpkin patch with Van Pelt. When the “Great Pumpkin” failed to appear, she got into a heated argument with Van Pelt, shouting, “Trick-or-treats only come once a year, and I missed it by sitting in a pumpkin patch with a blockhead! What a fool I was! You owe me restitution!” Several witnesses questioned why a five year old would even know — let alone use — a word like “restitution” — but all agreed that Sally Brown then left the pumpkin patch with them. Apparently, she returned later, perhaps to exact revenge or reconcile with the young man she refers to as, “her sweet baboo.”

Linus Van Pelt regained consciousness in his hospital bed and issued the following statement: “Hypothermia. I’m doomed. One little slip like that can cause the Great Pumpkin to pass you by.” He then asked for more Demerol.

The Department of Social Services has taken temporary custody of Sally Brown and the Van Pelts until their parents have been located, a task that may prove daunting:

Pinecrest has been under intense media scrutiny since at least the early 1950s because of an apparent lack of adult supervision, or for that matter, any adults at all. All of the children this reporter interviewed explained that they have never seen an adult and that their parents are often spoken of but never seen.

Counselors were dispatched to Pinecrest Elementary School this morning to counsel the children and reinforce that while religious diversity is important, it’s necessary to receive parental permission before staying out all night in a pumpkin patch, and to check the weather first.

Van Pelt’s teacher at Pinecrest Elementary School, Miss Othmar, speaking to reporters, summed up everyone’s feelings with a heartfelt, “Mwah wah wah mah, wha wahhhh.” The school principal added, “Wah. Mwah wahwah Mahwah wahhhhh mah.”

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