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"Arthur's New Year's Eve"
Season/Series: 1
Number in season: 30B
Original Airdate: United States November 15, 1996[1]
Canada February 14, 1997[2]
Germany January 23, 2002[3]
Written by: Joe Fallon
Storyboard by: Darren Brereton
"Arthur's First Sleepover"
"Arthur Meets Mister Rogers"
Read transcript

"Arthur's New Year's Eve" is the second half of the thirtieth episode in the first season of Arthur. It is the season finale.


On New Year's Eve, Arthur and D.W. are determined to stay up until midnight to see what occurs.


Arthur has never stayed up until midnight on New Year's Eve, because his parents have always told him that he is too young. He has tried a couple of times on his own to stay up, but has fallen asleep before midnight each time he tried; therefore, this year he chooses not to even try to stay up until midnight.

Arthur's New Year's Eve

On New Year's Eve, Arthur is making his bed when Pal jumps on it, wanting to play. Jane comes in and tells him that she and David are going out for New Year's Eve, and that Grandma Thora will be babysitting. D.W. comes in and asks Jane if she can stay up until midnight and Jane tells her that she's too young. She, however, gives Arthur permission to stay up until midnight, but he says that he is not going to.

Arthur and Pal then go outside to play in the snow and Prunella stops by and asks Arthur if he is going to stay up to see the green flash. She explains that at midnight on New Year's Eve, there is a green flash in the sky, which is a sign that the new year has successfully started. However, if there's no green flash, it has to stay the same year again.

After Prunella leaves, Arthur goes and tells Francine about the green flash, but Francine tells Arthur that there is no green flash. She says that on midnight on New Year's Eve, everyone has to throw out last year's calendar, because they become officially illegal. She adds that the New Year's Police will check on people, and anyone who still has last year's calendar will be arrested. Arthur then imagines that the New Year's Eve police come to his house and find that Grandma Thora still has last year's calendar, and arrest her.

Arthur then goes to the Barnes' house and tells Binky about the New Year's Eve Police, but Binky says that there isn't any New Year's Eve Police. He says that on New Year's Eve at midnight, there's this wrestling show that comes on T.V. where this baby (representing the new year) and this old man (representing the previous year) fight and if the baby wins, the New Year begins but if the old guy wins, the baby has to go and live with a groundhog and there's six more weeks of winter. (Binky obviously is mixing it up with Groundhog Day.)

Arthur then goes to Buster's condo and tells him about the wrestling show to which Buster says that's the silliest thing that he's ever heard. Buster then shares his theory on where all the parents go to on New Year's Eve. He says the parents talk about all the rotten things they did to their kids the past year, and plan new awful things to do to kids the next year.

Back at home, D.W. develops a plan to stay awake till midnight which involves pinching herself and dropping ice cubes down her back. Later that evening, their parents go out, leaving Grandma Thora in charge of Arthur and D.W. D.W. gets out her alarm clock and ice for her plan, and begins to hypnotize herself with her clock. Meanwhile, Grandma Thora and Arthur are thumb-wrestling when thew see D.W. getting a glass of water. Later, Thora and Arthur are playing Go Fish when D.W. goes to get another drink of water. Back in bed, D.W.'s feeling tired, so she sends an ice cube down her back, which makes her jump around and yelp. Meanwhile, Grandma Thora and Arthur are using their noisemakers for a practice run when D.W. comes in, saying she had a nightmare. Thora lets D.W. join her and Arthur to await midnight. Arthur falls asleep on Grandma Thora's shoulder at 11:30. Half an hour later, Grandma Thora is unable to wake up Arthur, and it reaches midnight, without anything fancy happening, much to D.W's chagrin. However, she feels better when Arthur wakes up and she gloats to him, telling him about all the amazing things that he just missed.

Arthur is sad he missed New Year's, but he cheers up after Grandma Thora tells him that as long as he remembers all the things he did in the past year, he didn't miss a thing, because that is what New Year's Eve is really about. Arthur thinks about all he and his friends experienced, and feels better. He even wishes Pal a Happy New Year, and adds that maybe next year, they will see all the cool stuff his friends mentioned (like the green flash, the wrestling and the New Year's Police).





  • Morals:
    • True value of New Years is not about the specific events that take place, or being awake when it happens. It is about remembering and appreciating the moments you have been through from the past year.
  • After Buster tells Arthur the story of parents' New Year's Eve meetings, a UFO pops out of a toaster as a transition to the next scene. Arthur and Buster react to the UFO as it pops out, breaking the fourth wall.
  • Pal is seen nearly licking Arthur's hot chocolate, even though chocolate is poisonous to dogs (in large quantities).
  • D.W., when she was complaining about not being able to stay up on New Year’s Eve, she says: “What if this is a time loop and I never get any older?”, referencing how the show goes in various time loops until Arthur's First Day.
  • In April 2024, PBS Kids rereleased this episode and 18 other titles with the addition of an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter on screen, allowing individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to fully immerse themselves in the program. For more information about all of the ASL-interpreted episodes, see American Sign Language.

Episode connections

Production notes

  • PBS traditionally re-airs this episode (and "Arthur's First Sleepover") every December 31 (or the Friday prior if the 31st is a weekend), including during the 2010s decade, a period where Season 1 episodes very rarely appeared in reruns.
  • This is the last episode to air in 1996. Some TV providers incorrectly list this episode's original air date as June 2, 1997.


  • During the "green flash" sequence, the crowd's reaction, "Ooh! Ahh! Green!" is misinterpreted in the closed captioning as, "Ooh! Ahh! Mmm!"
  • D.W.'s glass of ice would have melted into water by nighttime, unless her bedroom was freezing cold.
  • Although Arthur wakes up only seconds after midnight, the alarm clock reads 12:05 when he holds it up.

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