The Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree


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In The Halloween Tree, master of fantasy Ray Bradbury takes readers on a riveting trip though space and time to discover the true origins of Halloween.

Originally published in 1972, this striking new hardcover edition features dramatic illustrations throughout by Gris Grimly, giving a new generation of readers a chance to discover the magic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375803017
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 09/28/1999
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 34,507
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 7.56(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Ray Bradbury is considered one of America’s foremost writers of science fiction and fantasy. Among his most popular adult books are Fahrenheit 451 The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Death Is a Lonely Business. He also wrote several books for children, including Switch on the Night. Ray Bradbury died in 2012.
Gris Grimly is the author and illustrator of several books for children as well as an art director, and the founder of Mad Creator Productions. His previous books include The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman and Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein. Gris lives in Southern California with his family.


Los Angeles, California

Date of Birth:

August 22, 1920

Place of Birth:

Waukegan, Illinois


Attended schools in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California

Customer Reviews

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Halloween Tree 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you¿ve ever wondered what inspired our Halloween traditions, this lyrical book will provide some fascinating clues. It all starts when Tom Skelton (who masquerades as a skeleton) and his crew of friends prepare for Trick or Treat on Halloween night. Alas, they are one person short. Pipkin, boy of all boys, is unable to join them in the festivities, but he points them in the direction of a haunted mansion and Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud. While the prose is like taking a trip through the Twilight Zone with all the bizarre twists and turns and difficult plot lines to follow, it is a fascinating enough ride. This is a book that is best read aloud since the language just drips off the tongue. I recommend it for classes related to history or English.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book to me was a very very interesting, spine tingling hororr and I enjoyed every bit of it!! This would be a great book to sit down and really get your eyes glued to the pages. It is absolutely a great book!!!!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Opening this book is like opening a present. Originally published in 1972, publisher Alfred A. Knopf has printed a new hardcover edition. The dust-jacket is beautifully illustrated, the book is of an unusual size. Everything about it says "special."

Inside, I was not disappointed. Bradbury swept me away with his opening scene:

"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."

This scene sets the tone for the entire book. THE HALLOWEEN TREE is as classic a Halloween story as A CHRISTMAS CAROL is for Christmas. It is about a group of boys, all friends, ages 11-12, who dress up for their annual night of Halloween mischief and go trick or treating. The boys find themselves at a particularly spooky mansion in a dark ravine, with a Marley-the-ghost door knocker and a gigantic tree covered with jack-o-lanterns. As the jack-o-lanterns light up one by one, the boys realize they are in the presence of a Halloween Tree, and that something very special is about to happen.

The resident of the house, the mysterious Mr. Moundshroud, takes the boys on a fantastic journey through traditions of Halloween past. This story is part history lesson, but the history is provided in such a compelling way that your average reader won't even realize he or she is learning something.

Perhaps the only downside to this story is that it is so dominantly geared toward a male audience. All of the major characters are male. Though, being female myself, I could get lost in the spookiness of the narrative.

Bradbury uses his trademark short sentences which are short on exposition but long on crafting a mood. The story is spooky without ever being scary, and is sure to delight kids of all ages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Would you risk your life to go trick-or-treating? That¿s how it is for Tom Skeleton In the book the Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. There is a 13 year old boy named Tom Skeleton. He is always afraid of the house neat house. There is always lightning and thunder around the haunted house. Inside the house are black walls that are so black it looks like coal. Beside the house there is a humongous tree one-thousand feet tall. The tree has more than two-hundred pumpkins on it, and has four- hundred eyes, with two-hundred smiles smiling at you. He comes up to the house and rings the doorbell. A mummy comes up to the door, Tom says trick-or-treat. What happens to Tom you will have to read this book to find and what the mummy does. I love this book because it kept me turning pages and pages. At the end of the book it gets very spooky. I would recommend this book for people that love scary books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is not you're average book. It is a history lesson (but don't let that scare you away)and a fantasy. Not his best work, but over all a good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great adventure this book is! This is a tale of eight small town boys who enter a scary supernatural world after they meet a spooky old fellow by the name of Mr. Moonshroud. Mr. Moonshroud has otherwordly powers and shows the boys the mysterious and terrifying Halloween Tree, a huge old tree laden with Halloween Jack 'O Lanterns that sway in the chilly night air. The boys are taken on a breathtaking journey beyond space and time where they learn the secret customs and folklore of the world. I can think of no other author who is able to evoke the wonder of childhood better than Ray Bradbury, and this story is one of his best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have ever read about Halloween and the legends and lore behind it. It is really interesting and you learn a lot in a very entertaining way while reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book every fall, just to remember when Halloween was about ghosts and goblins and not Wal-Mart costumes and poisoned candy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its the best book i've ever read. It's full of haunts and laughs plus it's during halloween which gives it a special scary feeling
Guest More than 1 year ago
Of all the Ray Bradbury books I've read, and there's a lot, The Halloween Tree is definately one of the greatest. Ray Bradbury's prose read like poetry and engage the reader in a fantastic journey through time and space to learn of the origins of Halloween. This novel is full of laughs, frights, and suspense. What's more, is this novel is perfect for kids and adults. I've read it every year at Halloween for the last 10 years, and will continue to do so for many to come. It's that good!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ray Bradbury never ceases to amaze me! This book is wonderful not only for the story but how it's told. Mr. Bradbury has an incredible gift with words and descriptions! The characters are wonderful. An excellent book for all ages. Best read before a warm fire with hot cider on a chilly autumn evening
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is great for all ages and if you see the movie (cartoon) it's great for kids as well as parents to read and to watch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember reading this book in Jr High back in Waukegan, IL. Ray Bradbury is a wonderful writer for young children and older. I wish I was able to buy the earlier copies back then because now it's expensive to have! This book is a must-have to pass down to your children. I don't have any yet, but I'm definitely buying this book. :)
Anonymous 11 months ago
perfect october read. ray bradbury's use of language is genius.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this book as a kid, and later as an adult. Loved it both times.
kaida46 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Halloween Tree by Ray BradburyA co-worker of mine told me that he reads this every year to get ready for Halloween. I decided to read it this year, too, to get me into the spirit of the season. This book is suitable for family reading or reading out loud in a classroom. This a delightful tale about a group of neighborhood friends who go out trick or treating and come upon a spooky house in the neighborhood occupied by a mysterious Mr. Moundshroud. He has an exceptional tree in his yard; it is huge and filled with hundreds of jack-o-lanterns. As they search for their missing friend Pipkin, Moundshroud leads the group on an amazing journey through time and places in the world and they learn about customs relating to the Halloween holiday. They travel to ancient Egypt, to Britain with the Druids, to Rome, to Paris, and to Mexico where they experience a celebration of the Day of the Dead. This book is eerie, informative, and enjoyable, at the same time, a great way to get into the Halloween spirit.
RBeffa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked up "The Halloween Tree" for a change of pace, and as a book of the season. It was one of Bradbury's books that I had not read previously. Although noted for ages 12 and up this really struck me overall as a children's book, even for 1972 when it was first published. It has a good story idea and Bradbury attempts to write with exuberance and very playfully, but it didn't really capture my imagination like many other works of Bradbury. A potentially interesting little story of children learning about All Hallow's eve through history. A group of boys go out for trick or treat and one of them gets carried off in the dark of night, perhaps by Death. A big adventure ensues. and then, kerplunk. Rather than a wild adventure, the story very quickly became tedious with it's mannerisms, and only picked up a bit at the very end. This is probably the weakest Bradbury I have read. Not recommended.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: One Halloween, in lieu of trick-or-treating, a bunch of costumed young boys sneak down to the haunted house in the ravine outside of town. They meet Mr. Moundshroud, who - true to his promise of "no treats, only tricks" - takes them on a strange journey into the past and around the world, in an attempt to teach them the origins of the holiday... and what there truly is to be afraid of.Review: I've been a fan of Ray Bradbury's for almost longer than I can remember, and I'm really surprised I'd never come across this one before. The setting - a small Midwestern town populated (seemingly) by the nostalgic ideal of boyhood - and the writing style are pure Bradbury. But I think this is the first time that I can remember that Bradbury really tackles mythology and culture so directly, and the effect is a little disconcerting, almost like Bradbury got stuck writing a Neil Gaiman story. It's an interesting idea, to ask why the symbols that we choose to represent fear things that scare us in the first place, and Bradbury handles it well. Its dark and unflinching approach to the real origins of the holiday is also a refreshing counterpoint to the more familiar "true meaning of Christmas" treacle.I was a little disappointed, though; for all it was about death and scary things, I wanted it to be... well, scarier. It can't be because of the author or the format, because there are moments in some of Bradbury's short stories that are creepy beyond words. I don't read enough horror to be jaded enough that nothing scares me any more. The atmosphere and the story are right on, but there was a just something that was missing, something that failed to give me a good, seasonally-appropriate case of the shivers. 3.5 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: I can definitely see this becoming a yearly re-read, and I think it would be good for people or families who like traditions of that sort. It's definitely a seasonal read, though... don't pick this one up on a sunny day in April.
jenreidreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bradbury's use of language in this book is my favorite part about this book. He really evokes the feel of Halloween. However, there was just something I didn't love about the plot¿eight boys have to rescue their friend, Pipkin, who is lost in time on Halloween. Reading about the different holiday traditions was cool, but I suppose I was expecting something more from this book. It's creepy and worth a read, but I think I'll stick to Poe for my Halloween reading tradition.
MartyAllen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tom and his friends must save Pip while learning about the history of Halloween. Bradbury has a gift for writing from the child¿s perspective. Readers, including girls and adults, will find themselves seeing with the eyes of a young boy. They will feel the excitement of the approaching holiday and the love for the children¿s friend. The story is creepy, and may prove too scary for some, but the author manages to generally keep it to a thrilling yet safe level. Illustrations are uncommon, but show up everywhere they should¿from the masks adorning each chapter title page, reaffirming the setting and purpose of the story, to the image of the pieced together kite, to the final portrait of a spectral Moundshroud. The book is fast-paced and exciting as the characters race to save their friend, facing dangers and unexpected twists along the way. Information is not always accurate, but for a fictional book, actually provides a solid base on the history of Halloween and intrigues enough to pique the reader¿s curiosity.
RachelPenso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book for kids. I love how the characters visit other times and cultures.
LauraT81 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I remember watching an animated film version of this when I was young and thinking it was wonderful. I would love to find that film. This is considered a children's book, but is really perfect for halloween. Yet again, I love Bradbury's writing style.
VioletBramble on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A group of eight neighborhood boys go trick-or-treating on Halloween.Their friend Pipkin - the best boy - is missing. When they arrive at Pipkins house they discover that he is ill. Pipkin tells the boys that he will catch up with them in a little while. The boys head to the largest house in town - the haunted house. In the yard is a Halloween tree: 100 feet tall and hung with a multitude of jack-o-lanterns.They meet the occupant of the house, Mr Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud.Mr Moundshroud takes the boys on a trip back through space and time to discover everything that Halloween ever was. Traveling via the Kite of Autumn, the boys learn the myths, customs and history of Halloween. The boys visit ancient Egypt during the Festival of the Dead, caveman times, the Celtic New Year with Samhain, Druid God of the Dead, view the witches of Europe, hang out with the gargoyles of Notre Dame and spend El Dia de los Muertos in Mexico. Early in their travels Pipkin shows up but he gets carried away by the spirits of Halloween. As they travel through time the other boys try to find and save Pipkin.This book is a great Halloween read for middle school aged children. It's atmospheric but not scary.
Nickelini on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In The Halloween Tree, some pre-teen neighbourhood boys gather to trick or treat and instead find themselves whisked off on a time-travelling romp through Halloween history. The book invokes the mythical mid-twentieth century world where there were no parents, or girls either, to get in the way of your fun. Despite a certain charm and some wonderful phrasing by Bradbury, the dialogue¿with its unwavering barrage of excitement¿and endless run-on sentences was exhausting to read. In the end, this book completely fell flat for me. Recommended for: I don¿t actually recommend it, but if you like andocentric worlds where boys are named Ralph and Wally and say ¿shucks!¿ and ¿gosh,¿ well you might like this book better than I did.
amandabrent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book absolutely captures the magic, essence, and wonder of a child's Halloween. Bradbury's writing is flawless and flowing; it sends shivers down your spine. Beyond perfect to read during October, and ending on Halloween night!