A group of eight boys set out to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, only to discover that a ninth friend, Pipkin, has been whisked away on a journey that could determine whether he lives or dies. Through the help of a mysterious character named Moundshroud, they pursue their friend across time and space through ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures, Celtic Druidism, Notre Dame Cathedral in Medieval Paris, and The Day of the Dead in Mexico. Along the way, they learn the origins of the holiday that they celebrate, and the role that the fear of death has played in shaping civilization. The Halloween Tree itself, with its many branches laden with jack-o'-lanterns, serves as a metaphor for the historical confluence of these traditions.

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