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11 True And Truly Horrific Halloween Horror Stories

This year you might just want to lock your doors and pray for daylight.

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1. The trick-or-treater who died after being given cyanide-laced candy.

In 1974, 8-year-old Timothy O’Bryan died on Halloween evening after eating candy laced with cyanide. But the story has an even more horrific twist.

It turned out the candy was poisoned by Timmy’s father, Ronald, who was in financial trouble and had taken out insurance policies on his children. In addition to Timmy, Ronald O’Bryan gave poisoned candy to four other children, including his daughter, Elizabeth. Thankfully, none of them ate it. O’Bryan was executed by lethal injection in 1984.

2. The suicide mistaken for a Halloween decoration. / Via Creative Commons

In 2005, a 42-year-old woman in Delaware committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree across the street from a residential area. Though the body was easily visible to passersby and passing vehicles, no one called the police for hours. Why? They assumed the woman swaying in the wind was a Halloween decoration.

3. The man who showed up at a Halloween party dressed as Freddy Krueger and went on a rampage.

New Line / CBS News

A Halloween party in San Antonio, Texas was in full force last year when a man dressed as Freddy Krueger showed up uninvited. He opened fire on the crowd, shooting five people.

4. The son who decapitated his mother and left her body in the street.

One night in Long Island just before Halloween 2014, a decapitated body laid in the street five feet away from a severed head. To many passersby, the horrific site appeared to be a Halloween prank, but the truth was far more disturbing. 35-year-old Derek Ward had used a kitchen knife to kill and decapitate his mother, Patricia, then carried the body and head out of their apartment. After leaving the body and head in the street, Ward jumped in front of a commuter train, killing himself.


5. The unspeakable explosion at a holiday performance.

In 1963, many Hoosiers decided to spend Halloween night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum watching a “Holiday on Ice” skating exhibition. Unbeknownst to them, a rusty tank in the concession area began to leak gas. The room — which lacked ventilation — quickly filled with gas.

As the skaters performed their grand finale, the gas reached an electric popcorn maker, triggering a huge explosion. Seventy-four people were killed, and nearly 400 were injured.

6. The Japanese exchange student who knocked on the wrong door.

Discovery Channel / Via

Twenty-five years ago 16-year-old Japanese exchange student Yoshihiro Hattori dressed up as John Travolta’s character from Saturday Night Fever, then headed out to a Halloween party in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Tragically, he was mistakenly dropped off at the wrong house, and the homeowner, panicked by this unexpected visitor, shot and killed Hattori. The homeowner was later acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Hattori’s mother, Mieko, commented on the twentieth anniversary of her son’s death, "I've been observing American society for the past 20 years. The ongoing situation there has been incomprehensible to Japanese. I want to encourage more ways to adopt gun control."

7. The assailant who — wearing the same mask the killers wore in the film Screammurdered a man.


In Scream, killers wearing Ghostface masks callously murdered the people in their town. Chillingly, on Halloween night, 2013, someone wearing the same Ghostface mask shot and killed 19-year-old Anthony Seaberry before disappearing into the New York night.

8. The Kew Beach Riot, where thousands of high schoolers fought police throughout Halloween night. / Via Creative Commons

In 1945, teenagers in Toronto spent Halloween night rioting and building large bonfires that they stoked with gasoline. When police descended upon the scene, the teenagers fought back, throwing rocks and blocking the fire department from putting out the fires. Soon police arrested 14 of the rioters, but instead of calming things, this lead to a mob of thousands of teenagers gathering in protest. The teenagers were only dispersed after being dowsed with water canons and tear gas. The impetus for this uprising is unknown.


9. The man who opened his door to find a trick-or-treater who would end his life.

sdcostumeguy / Via

in 1982, 69-year-old Marvin Brandland was getting ready for bed after a night of handing out Halloween candy when there was one more knock at his door. Brandland opened the door to find someone wearing a pillow case over their head with the holes cut out for eyes. The figure said, “Trick-or-Treat. Give me your money or I’ll shoot.” He then pulled out a gun and ordered Brandland into his basement where Brandland kept a safe. Brandland — figuring this was a prank since only family members knew about the safe — grabbed for the gun. The person in the pillow case fired, hitting Brandland in the throat, killing him. The killer fled, leaving the pillow case at the scene.

In 2010 the pillow case was tested for DNA, but there wasn’t enough DNA on it to make a match.

10. The haunted hayride employee who — when pretending to hang from a gallows — hanged himself for real. / Via Creative Commons

In 1990, Chicago-area teenager Brian Jewell’s job was to give hayride customers a scare by pretending to hang from a gallows. Jewell had pulled off the stunt just fine earlier in the day, but that night something went terribly wrong. When the hayride approached Jewell, who was hanging from the gallows with his feet touching the ground, the tractor driver began to worry. The driver's worries only grew when Jewell failed to deliver his usual speech. According to the prosecutor, there were no signs of foul play.

11. The boy whose life was forever altered on Halloween because of his stepfather from hell. / Via Creative Commons

On Halloween in 1984, 8-year-old Brian Massey should have been enjoying a night of trick-or-treating with his sisters, Tiffany, 11, and Tamara, 10. Instead, he was subjected to a real-life horror film when his new stepfather, 26-year-old David Andrews, stabbed his mother to death before chasing his sisters down the hall and murdering them as well. Andrews then came into Massey’s room, covered in blood, and kidnapped the boy. Two days later police found Massey alive after apprehending Andrews, who had tried — and failed — to kill himself.

Disturbingly, Andrews struck a plea deal in exchange for a reduction of charges. He is eligible to be paroled next month, which the now 41-year-old Massey vehemently opposes.