The Halloween Tree Still Holds Roots.


The time is upon us, residents of Elm Street. The leaves are falling, there’s a nip in the air. Soon the ghouls and goblins will be out in droves.  Children today don’t realize that Halloween is about much more than candy. That’s why I’m glad someone did something to teach children the origins of Halloween. Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree is a perennial favorite of mine. While most people probably haven’t read the book, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen the animated movie.

In the movie, narrated by the haunting voice of Ray Bradbury, on Halloween night in a small town in middle America, Tom Skelton and his friends Wally, Ralph, and Jenny notice something is wrong with their friend Joe “Pip” Pipkin. They go to a haunted house on the edge of town where they discover a large tree with many jack-o-lanterns and meet the mysterious Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud. They soon learn that Pip is dying, and Moundshroud gives Jack and company a chance to save Pipkin through a time traveling adventure to learn the origins of Halloween. The late Leonard Nimoy brings to life the sinister Moundshroud while 90s Teen Idol Andrew Keegan lends his voice to Tom Skelton.

The classic animated special is rarely shown nowadays, luckily it was still shown regularly while I was growing up. It was informative without being too preachy. Though it’s a kid’s movie, The Halloween Tree still managed to have some creepy, intense moments and is something kids and adults both should have as annual viewing to this day.

While I really enjoy the movie version, The Halloween Tree as originally written by the great Ray Bradbury seems to take you to another place that much more. The writing is beautiful and immediately brings an image into your mind from the very first paragraph.

“It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state. There wasn’t so much wilderness around you couldn’t see the town. But on the other hand, there wasn’t so much town you couldn’t see and feel and touch and smell the wilderness. The town was full of trees. And dry grass and dead flowers now that autumn was here. And full of fences to walk on and sidewalks to skate on and a large ravine to tumble in and yell across. And the town was full of…
And it was the afternoon of Halloween.
And all the houses shut against a cool wind.
And the town was full of cold sunlight.
But suddenly, the day was gone.
Night came out from under each tree and spread.”

Bradbury was a truly amazing author that knew how to drag you in. Like almost every book that is made into a movie, there were some things left out or changed from the book. Instead of 4 friends trying to save poor beloved Pipkin there were 8 boys. There was no girl. Not a huge difference, but I believe the book better captured how boys felt about girls at that age. Not only that, but in my opinion the book has a much darker tone, and Moundshroud seems to have a bigger ulterior motive. It is even alluded to that Moundshroud is death himself.

The Halloween Tree

gives a glimpse into the past, from El Dia De Los Muertos, mummies in Egypt, gargoyles in France, witches in England adults and children will enjoy the tale that is weaved.

The Halloween Tree

should be a favorite of any fan of horror and Halloween.

Next: 5 Frightening Novels to Keep You Up At Night: Halloween Edition

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