I’d only ever read one Ray Bradbury book before picking up The Halloween
Tree this year. It was Fahrenheit 451 and I read it in middle school as assigned reading, which is quite a bit of time ago. It was perhaps my first taste of dark, satire filled literature that showed me there was more to the world than what I had previously thought possible. That the things I held to be givens, to be true, weren’t guaranteed to stay that way. It blew my twelve year old mind. As much as I enjoyed The Halloween Tree I wish I had read it back then, as a bookend to that book, a sort of lightening of the overall mood, even though it’s a meditation of death and what we’ll do for a friend.
It may be strange to think of this book as light reading, but that is how I would describe The Halloween Tree to an adult reader. Clocking in at just under 150 pages this YA title follows the paranormal adventures of eight boys who are lead through the various histories and beginnings of the holidays and events which led to Halloween and the costumes they are wearing. And they’re on a mission to save their friend Pipkin, who they are chasing through said histories. You have a neat little history lesson intertwined with a chase and it comes together fluidly.
I don’t know whether it’s because of its author or the time it was published, but The Halloween Tree has darkness to it, a sense of consequence that wouldn’t be found in a similar book published today. And the line drawings by Joseph Mugnaini are stylistically beautiful and creepy. And to me, that was lovely.
I came across this title from a commenter on Pajiba, Andrew, so thanks for the heads up!