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The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Yearling
Published: 1999
Review Posted: 2/3/2009
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10

The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury

Book Review by Alex Telander

Have you read this book?

I read this book every October because it's the perfect Halloween book. It's taken me a couple of readings, but I now finally realize that The Halloween Tree is the equivalent for Halloween what A Christmas Carol is for Christmas: an enchanting journey into the history of Halloween where one leans much and is changed by it.

A group of eight boys are on their way out to trick or treat on Halloween, all in different costumes -- skeleton, mummy, gargoyle, etc. -- and head over to the final friend's house, Pipkin. Pipkin is sick, doesn't look well at all, but is essentially the leader of the group and has never missed a Halloween, so he tells them to go on ahead to a specific house and he will catch up with them.

The house turns out to be the quintessential Halloween mansion, with many rooms and black windows. Beside the mansion they find a great and ancient oak with many branches and hanging from those branches are many carved pumpkins, swinging in the breeze. This is the Halloween tree, and as the boys watch, each of the pumpkins light up. At the door they ask for trick or treat, and the man on the other side tells them not treat, but trick. Terrifyingly, he appears from a pile of leaves. He is tall. He is skeletal. He is Mr. Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud.

After the boys get over the initial terror, they are invited on a journey by Mr. Moundshroud. They see Pipkin being taken into the past, weakened by his sickness, and it is up to Moundshroud and the boys to rescue Pipkin from time. And so the boys begin their journey, forming the tail of a giant kite controlled by Moundshroud and they pass back through time and visit the Halloweens of history: Ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, medieval Britain, Notre Dame, and El Dia de Los Muertos.

It is an incredible story where one learns the history of Halloween seen through the eyes of many different cultures, told in the unique style of Ray Bradbury. Afterwards you will feel as if you've actually experienced many different Halloweens and be all the more ready to experience your own on October 31st.

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