Bradbury, Ray

Bradbury, Ray (1920– )—American author best known for the classic science fiction novels Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and The Martian Chronicles (1950); Bradbury has also written more extensively about Halloween than any other major literary figure. His 1972 novel The Halloween Tree is a fictionalized account of the history of Halloween, as the mysterious Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud leads a group of small boys through the EGYPTIAN FEAST OF THE DEAD, SAMHAIN, and the Mexican DAYS OF THE DEAD. His renowned 1962 dark fantasy Something Wicked This Way Comes, about a mysterious carnival which preys on the dreams of the residents of a small town, makes ingenious use of the holiday by setting its story in the week before Halloween, suggesting that on this “strange wild dark long year, Halloween came early.”

In his novel From the Dust Returned (2001), Bradbury collects fifty years of short stories involving “the October People” (or the Elliott family) into one novel, about a magical clan of ghosts, winged men and mindreaders who reunite at Halloween (in the novel’s afterword, Bradbury mentions the autobiographical nature of the family, which resides in his home state of Illinois). Bradbury’s 1964 short story, “Heavy-Set,” takes a non-supernatural look at the holiday, with a melancholy depiction of an obsessed bodybuilder who turns to his mother after a disappointing Halloween party. In the most frightening of his Halloween ventures, the 1948 short story, “The October Game,” (from the collection Long After Midnight), Bradbury uses the fall season as a metaphor for a dying marriage, and depicts a particularly gruesome version of the classic Halloween game “AUTOPSY.” That same year, Bradbury wrote “The Candy Skull,” a short story set in Mexico during Days of the Dead. Bradbury has also written poetry about Halloween.

Both Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Halloween Tree have been adapted to film (both featuring screenplays by Bradbury), the former as a theatrical feature in 1983, directed by Jack Clayton and starring Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce, and the latter as an animated television special in 1993. In November 2000, Bradbury was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.


The Halloween Encyclopedia Second Edition written by Lisa Morton © 2011 Lisa Morton. All rights reserved