The Halloween Tree is an animated Halloween TV Special from Hanna-Barbera, based on a story by Ray Bradbury.
The Halloween Tree is about a group of friends, 3 boys and a girl, who each dress as a classic horror character on Halloween night. After seeing their friend Pip taken away in an ambulance, they are confronted by a mysterious figure named Moundshroud (voiced excellently by Leonard Nimoy) who owns a haunted house.
Moundshroud, tells them that Pip has been taken by the ghosts of Halloween past and they must save him. The four close friends must face their greatest fears as they travel through time to save their dear comrade. Along the way, Moundshroud teaches them about the origins of this ghostly holiday. He takes them from the burial chambers of ancient Egypt to the Mexican Day of the Dead, to the All Hallows Eve celebrations of medieval England. They also learn what true friendship really means, and must make a huge personal sacrifice if they want to save the soul of their friend.
I probaby jumped the gun on that. My bad…
Except Moundshroud DOESN’T WANT TO SAVE PIP. He’s chasing Pip because the boy stole a Jack-o-Lantern (in his own likeness) from Moundshroud’s tree. The Lantern is Pip’s soul. Moundshroud is actually Death (it’s never outright stated, though). The kids don’t know that until much later. They all give Death a few years off their lives to give Pip some more. I loved the end of the book. One of the boys is suspicious of Moundshroud’s identity so he stops to ask “What’s your real name”. Moundshroud tells him “I think you already know that”. When the boy asks if he’ll ever see the man again, he’s told something along the lines of “sooner than you think”.