I love this episode of Pete and Pete. Like Yellow Fever, it's one of my favorites of the series. I love when they take something mundane and make it seem meaningful and important. And I love Big Pete's introverted take on everyday life. This episode focuses on the internal conflict of smashing a pumpkin, and I related to that a lot because it always made me so sad to see a crushed rotting pumpkin on the ground... it was like smashed innocence on the sidewalk to me. So Big Pete's little moral dilemma resonated with me because I too was a quiet kid who tended to overthink just about everything.
Big Pete reflects on losing his Halloween spirit, which Little Pete is pretty pissed off about. He has big dreams of breaking the Wellsville trick-or-treating record by going to the most houses in one night. Little Pete and Nona hear from the local crossing guard that a gang called the Pumpkin Eaters will be out in full force on Halloween night, ready to smash pumpkins and steal candy from kids who haven't gotten old and jaded yet. The crossing guard says that if they don't stop the Pumpkin Eaters this year, this will be Wellsville's last Halloween.
Big Pete tells Ellen that he's sick of Halloween and happy that this year might be the last one ever. They walk into an alley of smashed pumpkins, including one that somehow managed to survive. Pete used to hate the site of a smashed pumpkin, but his growing jadedness is causing him to finally understand the sentiment behind it. The background becomes all blackscreened and Ellen whispers to him to smash it because he knows he wants to and no one's looking. Pete does, and instantly feels guilty. A Pumpkin Eater, who is bully Endless Mike with a jack-o-lantern on his head as a mask, has been watching this entire scene. Endless Mike is endlessly awesome. "Pete Wrigley! You have tasted the dark side!" heehee. And then his sidekick goon adds, "And it tastes like chicken!" A second goon asks if anyone else's pumpkin smells like tangerines, and a third agrees with him and admits to licking his once. Well, then.
Pete and Nona get attacked by the Pumpkin Eaters on the night before Halloween--shaving cream, toilet paper, the whole deal. Big Pete feels like he's somehow to blame because of the bad karma over the pumpkin he smashed. Nona's "Pop" (ha! I love how that reference totally went over my head as a kid) won't allow her to go trick-or-treating anymore, so Little Pete's dreams of breaking the record seem to be shot. (Edit: Nona's dad is played by Iggy Pop.) Big Pete feels guilty and offers to go trick-or-treating with him, even though he must be, like, 16? That is crazy.
Ellen agrees with me. She reminds Pete of Ned Richmond, a kid in their class last year who got caught trick-or-treating at age 15 and wound up tied to a tree by the Pumpkin Eaters with "WEENIE" written across his costume. The fact that he went dressed as a sailor probably didn't help his cause much. Now nobody will go near him, not even in the yearbook, where he is on a page by himself, his photo hanging upside down like he was in the tree, under the caption "Weenie."
The Petes dress up as astronauts, complete with masks covering their faces and technology that allows them to pee in their spacesuits. And walkie-talkies, which I used to think was so cool. Little Pete pees in his suit and proclaims, "ahh, science." Disgusting. They trick-or-treat all over town, and Big Pete starts to feel his Halloween spirit returning.
But the Pumpkin Eaters are out in full force, trashing the neighborhood and scaring little kids. The Petes zig-zag across their neighborhood trying to avoid them. But they wind up at the house of Ned Richmond, the pathetic kid who was caught last year. He answers the door in full costume and recognizes Pete, saying "Maybe we can go together next year Wriggles." I always loved when he called him Wriggles. Big Pete is shaken and wants to give up, which pisses Little Pete off. Little Pete vows to beat the record himself as Big Pete runs home, but the Pumpkin Eaters ambush him and chase him down the street.
Big Pete ducks into a closed haunted house, hoping to lose the Pumpkin Eaters, and scoffs at the lame-ness of all the decorations. Little Pete hears him on the walkie-talkies and calls him a traitor. Endless Mike jumps out at Big Pete and proclaims "tag--you're dead!" and the rest of his gang pops out of the shadows. Endless Mike calls Pete the "biggest Halloweenie of them all" while Little Pete reaches the last house and turns on his walkie-talkie to rub it in Pete's face. He overhears Pete pleading "What do you want from me?" and Endless Mike responding "Nothing... except your soul!" followed by maniacal laughter and knows his brother is in trouble.
The gang wants to tie Pete from the goalpost, or perhaps to the roof of their car and drive him around town all night. That is kind of awesome. But Endless Mike has something special planned for Pete. Pete asks what they're going to do to him, and I'm getting a very "Luke Skywalker vs. the Emperor" vibe from this scene (only that vibe is coming from the original version of the film, not that crappy digitally enhanced version). Endless Mike says that he saw Pete smash the pumpkin yesterday, and now he's here hating Halloween even more. "Just like you?" Pete replies. Yeah, totally a Star Wars vibe. Endless Mike tells Pete to smash the pumpkin he has in his hand and that together they can take down Halloween forever. Pete asks, "And if I don't?" and Endless Mike says, "Two words. Ned. Richmond."
Big Pete is all inner-conflict-y and feels the power he has to destroy Halloween coursing through him, but his inner child wins out and he instead smashes Endless Mike's mask open to reveal his identity. Somehow Pete is shocked to discover that it was Endless Mike, as if it wasn't obvious the entire time. Even Endless Mike thinks that is ridiculous, as he says, "What'd you expect, Mr. Tastee?" He instructs the gang to "fry the weenie," but it is Little Pete to the rescue! He gave up his visit to the last house and, with the help of the crossing guard, came to save Big Pete. Which I never understood. It would've taken two seconds to ring that last house's doorbell first. But whatever.
The next morning, the Pumpkin Eaters are charged with cleaning up the neighborhood they destroyed. Endless Mike is scrubbing Nona's father's front porch, and in quite possibly the most awesome reference ever, Nona's dad comes out, hands him a Q-tip, and says, "You missed a spot. Stooge." Again, totally went over my head as a kid, but great. The Petes didn't break the record, but they managed to save Halloween for years to come and know that they will never again lose their Halloween spirit.
-The crossing guard refers to the night before Halloween as "devil's night." But on Are You Afraid of the Dark they called it "mischief night." I had never heard of either of these before seeing these shows. Which one is more common?
-Big Pete says that his brother is taking the news that this Halloween may be the last "like someone punched his soul." hee.
-The black-and-white "old footage" of the famous kids who broke the record years ago dressed as ghosts is sooo creepy looking. There's something unsettling about it.
-Little Pete tells one of the people at the house they're trick-or-treating at, "You know the routine. Hustle." That was awesome. I wish I'd been brave enough to say things like that as a kid.
-Another awesome Little Pete comment, from after Big Pete has ditched him: "Hey Blowhole... in 45 minutes, I'm going to famous. And you know what you're going to be? ...a blowhole!"
-Polaris' "Waiting for October" runs over the closing credits, and I love that song.