Wow, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a Book to Screen review, but this Halloween, I thought it would be a great time to bring this series back!
This year, I read Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree for the first time and I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. Below is my full thoughts on the book, the movie, and a quick comparison of the two!
Also sorry this is a couple of days late, I fell asleep finishing the movie like the grandma I am and figured since I missed Halloween, this would be fun for Film Friday 😅
**Disclaimer: To accurately discuss the similarities and differences between the two, several plot points from the books will be discussed. However, I tried my hardest not to completely giveaway the ending. That being said, consider this your spoiler warning.**
When their friend Pipkin is snatched away, eight friends, with the mysterious Mr. Moundshroud go on an eerie adventure through ancient traditions that have inspired the modern day Halloween.
Mini Book Review:
This was a fun Halloween read that did a great job capturing the spirit of the holiday.
I loved the err of mystery there was surrounding the stories of the tree and Pip’s fate.
Further, I did really enjoy how the different locations the characters were transported to corresponded with the costumes. Learning the history behind the costumes was definitely fun, but it felt a little rushed. I feel like if you didn’t already have background on the traditions or history being discussed, you would have been a bit lost.
That being said, I did love the ending of this one, finding out what has been going on with Pip and the sacrifice the friends made to help their friend.
While not for everyone, The Halloween Tree is a fun and quick read for those who want a little extra something spooky on Halloween.
This movie was dripping with Halloween atmosphere!
I’m actually a little sad I didn’t see this special as a kid. While it was a bit slower paced, it’s one that, like the book, covers some fun history behind Halloween costumes.
The movie definitely has more mystery behind it as the motivations and true identity of Mr. Moundshroud aren’t as explicitly revealed. That being said, many viewers can probably figure out who he was supposed to be, though it can be interpreted in several ways.
I’m trying super hard not to say “just like the book” for this entire review. Overall, I actually thought the visuals really helped bring this story to life. Though I did wish the story overall covered more of the history behind classic Halloween traditions such as the Jack-o-Lantern or veil between the worlds being thin hence why costumes are worn.
Nitpickiness aside, this really was a fun holiday special and one I’m definitely going to watch again.
Book vs. Movie Comparison:
As adaptations go, this one was incredibly loyal! With the exception of some minor changes, the movie adaptation was a near perfect recreation of the story, down to some of the narration/dialogue.
The first noticeable change was that in the book, there were 8 friends trick or treating, waiting for Pip and they were in all boys. In the movie, they lowered this to four friends, one being Jenny.
The next big change is that the friends learn of Pip’s appendicitis pretty early on in the movie, while in the book this one of the last things the characters learned about, after the events of the book. Further, I’m pretty sure in the book, the kids knew the “haunted house” they went into belonged to Mr. Moundshroud, while in the movie they didn’t know who the owner was and they needed to be introduced to the character.
With the exception of removing the costumes and history that corresponded the friends that weren’t included in the movie, the interpretation of the characters, and a little padding to get the short novella up to an hour run time, the rest of the movie was damn near identical to the book!
I’m not going to give you guys a play by play of the plot, in case you’d like to read it relatively spoiler free. But, if you don’t think the book is for you, the movie is a great alternative way to enjoy this classic Halloween tale.
I think for this one, I actually preferred the movie. I mentioned this above, but the film medium really helped bring the eeriness of Halloween to life! The audiobook helped with this too (well the version I listened too, it was basically a radio play with sound effects and other additions as well).
I personally think this is the wrong story to just read as a lot of the magic can be lost.
Also mentioned above, I think that adding more of the history of Halloween to this would have really strengthened the narrative overall, but this is a fun little introduction for younger kids or those who love the holiday!
I hope you guys enjoyed this Book to Screen adaptation review.
Have you seen or read The Halloween Tree?
Which version is your favorite?
I hope you all had a Happy Halloween!