'The Halloween Tree'
Published on Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 8:51am
"Boys. And it was the afternoon of Halloween. And all of 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."
Thus begins The Halloween Tree, a wonderfully chilling story by Ray Bradbury. On a chilly Halloween night, eight boys are running to meet their friend Pipkin at the haunted house in their neighborhood. While they are standing under the Halloween Tree, hung with glowing jack-o-lanterns, they see a dark "something" whisk Pipkin away into the night.
They are met by the eerie, otherworldly Mr. Moundshroud, who becomes their guide. Mr. Moundshroud takes them on a journey through space and time as they search for their friend. They learn about Halloween traditions all over the world on their quest to save Pipkin. Their first destination is ancient Egypt, where they learn about the god Osiris. Mr. Moundshroud leads them inside a tomb, and as they walk deeper inside, they see Pipkin, who has been mummified and prepared for burial! The friends are desperate to stop the funeral procession, but suddenly Pipkin is whisked away to their next destination.
The friends race off to Paris, where they hear a voice calling out for help. With each step they take in the air to reach the voice, a stone is put in place, and, in this way, Notre Dame is built. Mr. Moundshroud notices that something is missing...gargoyles! He tells the boys to whistle to call the gargoyles, and soon there is a gargoyle on each turret. They find Pipkin trapped inside a gargoyle statue, and try to talk to him. The boys try to find out what's happening to Pipkin, and where he's going next.
Suddenly, a storm breaks out, and Pipkin is snatched away when lightning flashes. The next destination is Mexico, on the Day of the Dead. The boys visit a graveyard, and pay their respects to their relatives. They find sugar skulls with their names on them, and visit the catacomb of a different graveyard. Pipkin is in the catacomb, surrounded by mummies! The friends ask Pipkin to walk over to them, but every time he tries, the mummies stop him. Mr. Moundshroud tells the boys they will have to make a drastic choice to save their friend.
Will the boys be able to save Pipkin from the mummies? Will they ever get back home?
If you want to read an exciting, scary story and learn about Halloween traditions around the world, this book is for you!