Let me start by saying that this is one of my favorite Halloween movies and I watch it every year. Hanna Barbera adapted this cartoon from Ray Bradbury’s Halloween novella of the same name, changing what they needed to and maybe a few things they didn’t need to. This little movie won an
Emmy. Both book and film trace the history of Halloween and Samhain and how they effect present day Halloween traditions.
The film is narrated by Bradbury himself and a lot of the lines that are lifted directly from the book are read by him. Much of the beautiful description that make the book so good would have been lost without him.
In the original book I believe there are 8 boys, not including Pipkin. Here, they have reduced that to 3 boys and a girl. Somehow I doubt a bunch of boys around this time would drag a girl around (because it’s not set in the present) but I understand that they need a character for the girls to relate to. As for the omission of the rest of the boys? Eh, I didn’t miss them that much except for the fact that it meant some of the histories were cut.
In the book the kids visit Ancient Egypt, Roman, and Greek times, Medieval Notre Dame in Paris, the Celtic Druids, and Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival. The film cuts out the Greeks and Romans, probably for time. There are plenty of little changes but I don’t think many of them have huge bearing on the heart of the story.
I love this movie and how it shows the pieces that our Halloween has taken from all these histories. I recommend both reading the book (if you can find it) and watching the cartoon. It did win an Emmy after all, and features the voice talent of Leonard Nemoy as Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud.
Happy Halloween and Keep Reading!