The Halloween Tree By Ray Bradbury: Tis the Season of Scary Delights

Oct 18, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Fantasy & Fangs, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sharon Tucker

by Sharon Tucker

Halloween will be here soon. Even if you haven’t gone trick-or-treating for some time, remember the deliciousness that you felt at this time of year as a child? The beginning of cooler weather in late October takes me back to remembering classrooms festooned with pumpkins, scarecrows and witches, all cunningly cut from construction paper.

Who can forget the anticipation of Halloween night when we would all run from door to door in the neighborhood and abscond back home with an untold variety of treats to glory over for days afterward? I particularly loved the autumn fair at my school that always coincided with the Halloween holiday. We had pony rides, cakewalks and even a few classrooms set aside for a funhouse. We all knew those dimly lit, eerie rooms didn’t really have bowls full of eyeballs, intestines or severed extremities that we were dared to sample, but we plunged our hands into peeled grapes or cold spaghetti or Jell-O and howled with glee! book

I seem not to attend as many autumn festivals these days as I once did, so I picked up Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree to get into the appropriate holiday mood. After reading it, I will enjoy decorating and handing out treats even more than usual this year.

Bradbury’s fanciful and highly lyrical tour of the origins and history of the Halloween tradition reminded me of the delights and extremes of childhood. Although his story has no major female characters, I didn’t mind. It was easy for me to identify with his gaggle of pre-adolescent boys. They were so delighted with the license Halloween allows that it came as a shock to them, gathering to go trick-or-treating, that one of their number was missing–everybody’s pal, Pipkin. Rushing to his house, they see him emerge from his front door, not in costume and obviously not well. Good sport that he is, Pip sends them on ahead to an adventure at the house of the Haunts, telling them he will catch up, and they go, embarking without him on the scariest adventure of their young lives.

The Halloween Tree begs to be read aloud to a circle of children who are eagerly anticipating the joys of Halloween. Although the images Bradbury conjures are from a century gone by, his imaginative history lesson and the search for the elusive Pip will surprise and intrigue adventurous young minds. Brace yourself to experience the kind of pleasant tingle this master has been famous for conjuring throughout his lengthy and highly awarded career.

Check out other mystery and fantasy related articles, reviews & short stories in our Books & Tales category. You can also find a lot of Halloween fun this entire month!

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Sharon Tucker is former faculty at the University of Memphis in Memphis TN, and now enjoys evening supervising in that campus library. Having forsworn TV except for online viewing and her own movies, she reads an average of 3 to 4 books per week and has her first novel—a mystery, of course—well underway.


  1. Sounds good, will see if my library has a copy! Thanks for info!

    • Prepare yourself, Lynn, for liberties with sentence structure and the use of fragments. An English teacher writing a review on really disliked the format, but it works a real treat when read aloud.
      Hope you found a copy and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


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