The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury (1967)
Tuesday’s Tale for Halloween September 29, 2020
Halloween is one month away. If you’ve not read Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, it’s a MUST READ for Halloween fans. This is an adventure story about a group of boys on Halloween night. Tom and his mates must search the Halloween world to find their missing friend Pip, who has been abducted into the Land of the Dead.
At some 160 pages, longer than a typical short story but not quite a novella, you can settle in for a spooky and nostalgic ride. What is so wonderful about this story, aside from all the little horrors along the way, is that we discover some of the oldest Halloween traditions from Egypt, Greece, Rome, Mexico, Irish Druids, and much more about the Land of the Dead. Here’s a peek as the boys come upon a haunted house.
“Then the darkness within the house inhaled. A wind sucked through the gaping door. It pulled at the boys, dragging them across the porch. They had to lean back so as not to be snatched into the deep dark hall. They struggled, shouted, clutched the porch rails. But then the wind ceased. Darkness moved within darkness. Inside the house, a long way off, someone was walking toward the door. Whoever it was must have been dressed all in black for they could see nothing but a pale white face drifting on the air.”
At this house they come upon the Halloween Tree …
The pumpkins on the Tree were not mere pumpkins. Each had a face sliced in it. Each face was different. Every eye was a stranger eye. Every nose was a weirder nose. Every mouth smiled hideously in some new way. There must have been a thousand pumpkins on this tree, hung high and on every branch. A thousand smiles. A thousand grimaces. And twice-times-a thousand glares and winks and blinks and leerings of fresh-cut eyes. And as the boys watched, a new thing happened. The pumpkins began to come alive.
Ray Bradbury at his best! Rich language, vivid imagery, and so eerie on our most famous dark autumn night of the year. I loved the mysterious Mr. Moundshroud.
Read the story free at the EnglishOnlineClub.com (Illustrated by Joseph Mugnaini):
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