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Best Halloween Stories, Movies & TV Shows Involving Pumpkins

Published by Merlin Leachman

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“Pumpkinhead” & “Halloween” Round Out Best in Pumpkin Portrayals

Pumpkins. They are giddy gourds of glory. They’re the bright orange gleaming globes of gloom come Halloween. Fetch a sharp knife, and they’re carefully carved and transformed into a merry smiling or nightmarish grinning evil pumpkin twin – a Jack O’Lantern. Of course for many more they mean tasty pumpkin pie or plastic replicas filled with yummy Halloween candy and treats.

Halloween movies, stories and television shows preoccupy themselves with scary things like ghosts, goblins, zombies, vampires, witches and the like. However, most don’t prominently feature a pumpkin in the plot or as a character. Here now are some of the scariest, coolest and most pumpkin plump Halloween stories, feature films and TV shows.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

Perhaps the most famous and popular example of a Halloween themed motion picture where the title character never makes an appearance.

Creator Charles Schultz is on record saying he never intended to create some Halloween icon, but that’s pretty much what happened. The Great Pumpkin never being seen of course this is half the charm of wishy washy Charlie Brown’s and Peanuts gang funniest TV special. Here however, blanket loving Linus is more at center when he entices Charlie Brown’s puppy love obsessed sister Sally to follow him into a grungy pumpkin patch to await the great one’s arrival. When the pumpkin prince fails to show up, Sally is indeed powerfully pissed off. The geek loving genre twisting show Robot Chicken portrayed a version of what the Great Pumpkin might look like and they certainly convinced me he’s indeed the real deal.

Halloween (1978)

John Carpenter’s horror masterpiece may star Michael Meyers as lead ghoul cool enough to spawn a host of sequels and remake, however in many ways the star of this movie is a pumpkin.

From the opening credits and throughout the movie, pumpkins are on full display. In fact, in my mind, the credit sequence remains one of the most underrated disturbing aspects of the film. Later installments would also play around with pumpkins and although it’s not a listed character, make no mistake that pumpkins rule Halloween – the holiday and the movie franchise.

Pumpkinhead (1988)

The late special FX titan Stan Winston directed this horror gem, his first turn behind the camera as a movie director.

Lance Henriksen (Aliens) delivers a full bodied performance as a man pushed into murderous revenge and then consumed by the act and his own now corrupted heart. The supernatural connection between him and the title creature is weirdly compelling and though the movie may not be a true classic, Winston’s design of the creature and the overall production is fantastically memorable. A few mediocre sequels followed and it’s clear this one is due for a proper remake which could re-introduce the character to a new generation turning them into Pumpkinheads.

The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow 1820

American author Washington Irving penned the tale of the Headless Horseman back before there were movie blockbusters. Taken from his collection of stories The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Irving wasn’t the first to write about the Headless Horseman.

In different versions, the headless horseman is found in many stories throughout the world, but it may be Disney’s 1949 animated version narrated by Bing Crosby that most famously uses a pumpkin for extra punch. As the nerdy Ichabod Crane is outwitting and outracing the Headless Horseman, he’s finally foiled by a flaming Jack O’Lantern thrown by the phantom rider.



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