The Halloween Tree (1972) by Ray Bradbury is a fantasy novel that is centred around the festival of Samhain and Halloween, and follows the adventures of eight boys (led by Tom Skelton) whilst out trick-or-treating. They discover that another friend, Pipkin, has been taken on a journey that could result in the end of his life; they understand he has vanished for they can no longer feel his presence. The boys track their friend through different times and places, including Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, into Celtic times when the Druids ruled, onto Medieval Notre Dame, and even reach Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival. The boys are assisted by the strange Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud. Throughout the story they come to understand the true meaning of Halloween, the supernatural, and how death itself plays a significant role in our varying cultures ... and the Halloween Tree is used as a metaphor for the joining of all of these diverse cultures and traditions.
There are many conflicts within the story: a battle against the Celtic God of the Dead, Samhain, in the British Isles; another inside an Ancient Egyptian tomb; the Notre Dame conflict; and the Mexican catacomb conflict. These and other conflicts lead the boys to eventually understand that you must always be ready and willing to learn something new in life and it is this understanding in itself that inevitably helps them to save the life of Pipkin. Saving their friend is the biggest conflict they will have to face throughout the story. Each branch of the Halloween Tree holds a jack-O'-lantern, each one representing a stage in their journey, the lanterns together representing the convergence of each part of time and space they encounter. In the end the boys are provided with a full understanding of their favourite tradition, Halloween. Bradbury scripted an animated version, The Halloween Tree (1993) which features the voices of Bradbury, Leonard Nimoy, and Lindsay Crouse.