Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree” is easily one of the greatest Halloween movies ever made. It’s not just a movie about the holiday, but it’s a celebration of what the holiday stands for. For years Halloween has been incorrectly identified as a holiday that celebrates Satanism and evil, when in reality, Halloween is about observing death and celebrating life. Even the famous colors black and orange represent the ideas of death and life. The fantastic adventure we witness in “The Halloween Tree” is absolutely compelling while also helping to destroy the stigmas that often come with the ancient holiday. Mostly though, Bradbury’s story is about how we should learn to accept that there is a certain beauty in the concept of death as well as the concept of life.
“The Halloween Tree” is teeming with the love and essence of Halloween and Ray Bradbury celebrates this holiday and everything wondrous about it by helping to contribute to what is an excellent production. “The Halloween Tree” garners a healthy bit of menace and eeriness to it, but it’s also a personal journey that author Ray Bradbury guides us on. “The Halloween Tree” is set on Halloween night where four friends are preparing to go trick or treating. Deciding to go out that night at the behest of their friend Pip who is sick from appendicitis, they venture out in to the night after seeing him carrying a jack o lantern in to a deserted mansion. There they meet the mysterious Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud (Leonard Nimoy) who is chasing after the ghost of Pip to bring his pumpkin back to the Halloween Tree.
The mythical tree is filled with the pumpkins of many other souls that Carapace tends to every single year. Bargaining with Carapace, the foursome decides to go on a chase through time and various other places with Carapace to learn about the significance of Halloween and their various costumes. If they can keep up with him, they can probably catch his pumpkin and save Pip. “The Halloween Tree” is narrated by author Ray Bradbury who enthusiastically helps build on the energy of the journey the four kids go on, as they also try to outwit Carapace who is very committed to bringing Pip’s jack o lantern back to the Halloween Tree. We manage to gain some interesting facts about how various other countries celebrate the concept of new life and death, especially with Mexico.
The film takes a considerably extended tour through Dia De Los Muertos, and how the Mexican culture uses candy and costumes to pay respect to the dead and souls of their loved ones. Death isn’t as scary in other places as it is in Western culture, and Bradbury’s story depicts the fragility of life, and how the four friends are willing to do whatever it takes to grant Pip more time on Earth. As with most Bradbury tales the world he builds is vivid and enchanting, with the personal mission the kids take ending on a very good surprise twist. “The Halloween Tree” has barely aged at all and is still an essential for Halloween, bar none. It might even give already obsessive Halloween observers something new to take away in the end.