Howdy ya’ll! Super Hubs here again with another entry of How Have I Not Read This! Today we’re talking about something that I’m legitimately angry I’d never heard of. See, for the first ten or so years of my life I, like everyone else, was a stupid child with practically no say in what books were presented to me. I relied on my parents to make sure I experienced the best possible entertainment for my growing mind. I trusted them. They were all I had in life…and they betrayed me.
See, there’s a book, a wonderous, magical book written by one of the greatest authors of all time. A book that is a celebration of all things Halloween. And I had never heard of it until just a few months ago. It’s a book called The Halloween Tree written by Ray fucking Bradbury! Take that in. Read that sentence. Read it again. Read it eight times. Take in every single word and realize just how much of an outrage it is that I had never heard of this book or read it. Worse, it’s a children’s book which means my parents should have read it to me. They should have made it a yearly ritual. Instead they shoved the fucking Great Pumpkin down my throat and made me think THAT was the best Halloween had to offer. That notion was eventually destroyed when I saw Garfield’s Halloween Adventure but that special didn’t get much play in my home.
Written as a direct response to Great Pumpkin and it’s distinct lack of an actual Great Pumpkin, Ray Bradbury wrote this book to celebrate all its many flavors. It’s a magical time-travelling adventure that explores the origins of Halloween (some origins may be less factual than others) while a bunch of kids say weird things and hope their friend isn’t dead. It’s pretty weird.
This will, by necessity, be a pretty short little post since the book is a children’s book and very very short. I won’t call it a review because it’s a book called The Halloween Tree written by Ray fucking Bradbury. If that doesn’t sell you on the book, nothing will.
So the main character is a boy named Tom Skelton who is dressed as a Skeleton because of course he is. He’s meeting up with some friends to go trick ‘r’ treating. They’re waiting for their friend Pipkin who the book goes to great lengths to paint as the greatest little boy to ever live in all of time ever. He’s fun and smart and awesome and strong and cool and everyone loves being around him. Basically he’s a big hit at parties and he’s awesome at Halloween. So when he doesn’t show up to meet the rest of the group they’re all understandably distressed. They go to his house and he seems down in the dumps. He tells them to meet him later at the big ol’ haunted ass house that everyone knows is haunted. They do this – after trick ‘r’ treating of course – and they meet a weird old dude named Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud and he shows them his Halloween Tree which is just a big ass tree covered in thousands of jack o’ lanterns. He talks to them about Halloween and how awesome it is then they see Pipkin disappear.
Being a responsible adult, Moundshroud tells them to rip up the side of his house and make a kite out of it, also the side of his house might be made of dinosaurs. So they make a kite and Moundshroud uses it to take them through time and explore the dubious origins of Halloween. Each time period is relevant to one of the children’s costumes and it all basically boils down cavemen were scared when the sun went down and when it started to get cold and that fear stuck with us as we evolved. It gets pretty weird and I love every page of it.
In the end they find Pipkin in Mexico being held prisoner by a bunch of mummies and the only way they can save him is if each of the children gives up one year from the end of their life. This is…very troubling but they agree and Pipkin is saved! In the end, it turns out that Pipkin had appendicitis and was at the hospital getting an appendectomy. Which…makes me feel like Moundshroud didn’t need them to give up a year from their lives to save him but oh well Halloween is great and everyone loves it. Moundshroud communicates with Tom Skelton telepathically and is like “yo bro, I’m Death btw lol byeeeee!” All the people extinguish their jack o’ lanterns and the Halloween Tree goes dark and the story ends.
This book is amazing and I can’t wait to read it to my children every year. And possibly every day. Shut up and go read it. You have no excuse. It’s 144 pages and the font is big and it’s written by Ray fucking Bradbury. Shut up and read it!
Happy Halloween! Only 365 days to go before it comes around again. Go forth and be spooky my friends.