Mummies, Skeletons, and Bradbury, OH MY!
October 23, 2012
Ray Bradbury died earlier this year, and it was a sad day for science fiction fans like me. Most people know him from his famous adult novels like The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451. But one of my favorite Bradbury books is one I didn’t discover until recently because it isn't in the adult aisle. It is a juvenile book, and it's called The Halloween Tree.
Have you ever wondered why we do the things we do on Halloween? Where did the idea of ghosts and witches come from? In The Halloween Tree, eight trick-or treating youngsters meet the mysterious Moundshroud, who takes them on a journey from Ancient Egypt to Mexico in search of their missing young friend, Pipkin. Along the way, they learn the origins of the traditions we now take for granted, as well as the true meaning of Halloween.
This eerie tale takes a look at how civilizations across the centuries have dealt with death and the afterlife. It is fascinating to learn how all the different cultures viewed the otherworldly realm. We can sometimes forget with all our candy collecting and dressing up that this holiday’s roots reach back to ancient times and that for many of our ancestors, these were not things to take lightly. It also shows how our current American customs are a combination of many different countries and peoples, reminding us of the truly diverse roots of our country.
So, while the kids are out blackmailing for sweets (trick-or-treat is technically a threat remember), take some time to learn a little about the meaning of those costumes being worn. Of course I’m speaking of the ghouls and goblins costumes, not those Obama and Romney masks. So, have a spooky and fun ride with Bradbury's characters. It really is a treat.
Don’t forget the Halloween Party for kids at the Antioch Branch this Friday, October 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.