The REAL Legend Behind the Halloween Tree at Disneyland

Hilary White

Image Source: Flickr user harshlight

Learning about Disneyland's storied history is as fun as spending a day getting your thrills on at all of the attractions. From true tragic stories inspiring haunting legends to secrets and facts only the biggest park fans know, there's always something else to discover about the Happiest Place on Earth - the legend of the Halloween Tree included.

Now, fans are probably familiar with the tree. The oak is located in front of the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland. Every Halloween since 2007, the tree is decorated in a special way with jack-o'-lanterns hanging from its branches - but have you ever wondered why? The story goes that author Ray Bradbury, famous for Fahrenheit 451 and countless other fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and horror works, loved Halloween - and had a long history with Disney. Bradbury was a huge proponent of the Walt Disney Company and made his support for it clear throughout the years.

"His deep-rooted fascination with Halloween began as a child after watching a Disney cartoon: the 1929 Silly Symphony short The Skeleton Dance," D23 says. "Decades later, in 1964, Bradbury and Walt Disney met and became friends and collaborators, joining forces on several projects at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, including Spaceship Earth at Epcot. Bradbury also wrote the screenplays for two Disney films based on his work: Something Wicked This Way Comes in 1983 and The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit in 1999."

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In 1972, Bradbury showed his love of Halloween with his novel The Halloween Tree, a story about eight trick-or-treaters who go to meet their friend on All Hallows' Eve at a haunted house. The boys end up encountering a mysterious character named Moundshroud near a tree that's filled with jack-o'-lanterns. Moundshroud then takes the boys through the history of Halloween and its traditions, and more adventure ensues. Bradbury envisioned a "Halloween Tree" at Disneyland just like the one in his story.

On the 35th anniversary of the novel in 2007, the idea actually became a reality! Bradbury was even at the event when the tree was officially introduced to Disneyland. There's also a plaque in his honor.

Image Source: Flickr user lorenjavier

The tree is decorated each year at Halloween Time, so if you've ever overlooked it on your travels throughout the park, make sure to stop by this year to view this special part of Disneyland's history. You can also see iterations of the Halloween Tree on all four of Disney Cruise Line's ships during their special Halloween sailings each year.

Image Source: Flickr user harshlight