The structural and electronic properties of fluorine- and bromine-intercalated graphite fibers and HOPG are summarized. In contrast to the bromine intercalate, which is purely ionic for any experimentally attainable intercalate concentration, fluorine has a dual ionic and covalent behavior in graphite. Furthermore, whereas bromine-intercalated graphite is ordered, fluorine-intercalated graphite is disordered. The stiff graphene planes are buckled and islands of various fluorine concentrations are formed. A thermodynamic model is proposed that accounts for the differences between fluorine- and bromine-intercalated graphite materials. The model describes the competition between ionically bonded and covalently bonded intercalate phases of fluorine in graphite. Covalent bonding is more favorable energetically, but an important nucleation barrier exists due to strain and to the destruction of the conjugation of the double bonds.