The air is crisper, the leaves are turning and the ubiquitous pumpkin lattes have returned to the coffee shops. Which means it’s my favorite season–and it’s time to dip into some magical, dark or otherwise Halloween-y books. I’ll share a few of my favorites as we draw nearer to October 31st, starting with one of my all-time childhood favorites, The Halloween Tree. While I eat this delicious fun-sized Nestle Crunch Bar. Because you clearly can’t have Halloween without candy.
If all you’ve read of Ray Bradbury is Fahrenheight 451, you’re missing out. Provided that you like somewhat sinister fantasy tales. I first stumbled across The Halloween Tree at Tenley Library in elementary school, and have read it almost every autumn since. The Halloween Tree tells the story of a group of boys heading out for a night of trick or treating when their friend Pip is kidnapped by a grim, unidentified force. Assisted by a mysterious gentleman named Mr. Moundshroud, the boys travel back in time to bring Pip home. As they journey through ancient Egypt, druidical Britain, and a Mexican Day of the Dead celebration, among others, they learn how our modern-day holiday of Halloween came to be.
I adore Bradbury’s writing. Here’s a sample for you, from where the kids meet Mr. Moundshroud:
The huge man in dark clothes soared up out of the leaves, taller and yet taller. He grew like a tree. He put out branches that were hands. He stood framed against the Halloween Tree itself, his outstretched arms and long white bony fingers festooned with orange globes of fire and burning smiles. His eyes were pressed tight as he roared his laughter. His mouth gaped wide to let an autumn wind rush out. “Not treat, boys, no, not Treat! Trick, boys, Trick! Trick!”
The Halloween Tree is best enjoyed with a steaming mug of hot chocolate, while the windows are opened to let in the aroma of dry leaves and wood fires.