Chilling Tales


Halloween isn’t known for it’s creepy jack-o-lanterns, candy, and costumes alone. The holiday is also known for horror and sometimes the horror is real. Here’s a list of ten real Halloween horror stories.

jack_o_lantern75x75A case of mistaken identity

In 2012, an eight-year-old girl from Pennsylvania was shot. The girl, wearing a Halloween costume with a black hat and white tassel, was playing on a hillside. Her panicked cousin, thinking she was a skunk, fired a shotgun, striking her in the shoulder and abdomen.

She was rushed to the hospital where she underwent emergency surgery. Amazingly, she survived.


jack_o_lantern75x75Murder on his mind

On Halloween night, 1974, Ronald Clark O’Bryan from Pasadena, Texas gave potassium cyanide-laced Pixy Stix to his son, daughter, and four other children. About $100,000 in debt, he’d hoped to cash in on life insurance policies he’d taken out on his children. He gave the other children the poisoned candy in order to cover his crimes. But his plan didn’t turn out how he’d hoped.

Only his son, Timothy, ingested the candy. The boy died an hour later. O’Bryan, who became known as the “Candy Man,” was found guilty of murder and executed in March 1984.



Sixteen-year-old foreign exchange student, Yoshihiro Hattori, was shot and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1992 on Halloween night. He’d hoped to go to a Halloween party with fellow exchange student, Webb Haymaker, but they went to the wrong house.

When no one answered the door, they decided to go around to the back. Home owner, Rodney Peairs, thought they were burglars and shot Hattori dead.


jack_o_lantern75x75Self-inflicted horror

In October 1990, Jewell, 17, was working as part of a Haunted Hayride attraction in Lakewood, New Jersey when he decided to up the scare factor for patrons of the park. As part of his portrayal of a hanging victim, he would stand on the gallows and recite a chilling speech to the carts that came by. Sometime during the night, the noose that hung limply around his neck became cinched and choked him to death. His dead body was discovered by a tractor full of patrons.


jack_o_lantern75x75An artistic touch

Neighbors and guests marveled at the authenticity of the dummy prop on Mr. Zayed’s balcony in Marina Del Rey, California. For days, it had fascinated onlookers, but someone finally thought the life-sized dummy looked suspicious and called the police. The police discovered that it was no Halloween prop but the body of 75-year-old Zayed. He’d been dead for nearly four days after a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.


jack_o_lantern75x75Thoroughly chilling

One of the most horrific events that happened on Halloween took place in Napa Valley, California in 2004. Housemates Adriane Insogna, Leslie Ann Mazzara, and Lauren Meanza had spent the evening handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Later, Lauren, who slept downstairs, awoke at 2 A.M., hearing footsteps, breaking glass, and terrifying screams. In a panic, she fled the house and hid in the backyard. After hearing another scream, she saw a man flee the house via a window. She rushed back inside to discover that both of her friends had been brutally stabbed.

She called 911, then fled in her car, but her friends were already died.

The killer was Eric Copple, the fiancee of another friend. He’d committed the murders, because he was jealous of the friendship between Adriane and his fiancee.


jack_o_lantern75x75Beware of the eggers

On Halloween night in  the Bronx, 1998, Karl Jackson, 21, went with his girlfriend to pick up her nine-year-old son from a party. As they waited outside, a group of teenagers started throwing eggs at their car. After Jackson got out to speak to the teens, an argument ensued. As he got back into the car, one of the teens pulled out a gun and shot him in the head.

He died at the scene, and the killer was never caught.

Halloween eggings have a violent legacy. Since 1984, in New York City alone, at least 24 people have been seriously wounded or killed in stabbings, shootings, beatings, or accidents resulting from egg-throwing confrontations on Halloween. All 24 cases were similar to Jackson’s murder: a group of teens hurling eggs, a confrontation, and then an eruption of violence.

It would be wise not to confront Halloween egg-throwers.


jack_o_lantern75x75Triple terror

In 2009, three teenage girls were abducted in Woodbridge, Virginia during a night of trick-or-treating. Aaron Thomas threatened the girls with a gun before sexually assaulting two of them.

The third girl was able to use her cellphone to call her mother. Frightened, Thomas fled.  Two years later, he was caught. Known as the “East Coast Rapist,” Thomas was responsible for more than 17 attacks across Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  He was sentenced to three life terms plus 80 years.


jack_o_lantern75x75A living nightmare

In Connecticut, 1997, a car hit Kimberley Kitrinos outside of a haunted house called “The Nightmare at Floydville Road.” The many people who passed by thought Kimberley, who laid on the dark roadside screaming, bloody, and reaching out for help was just part of the act.  Kimberley eventually died from her injuries, and police were able to track down the driver who claimed that he hadn’t realized that he’d hit someone. He was sentenced to five years in prison.


jack_o_lantern75x75The masked man

On Halloween, 1982, 69-year-old Marvin Brandland and his wife, Ethel, handed out candy to trick-or-treaters from their Fort Dodge, Iowa home. At one point, they were surprised to open the door and see a man wearing a mask. He said: “Trick-or-treat. Give me your money, or I’ll shoot.”

The Brandlands thought it was merely a Halloween prank, but the masked man pulled out a gun and forced his way into the house. He demanded that the couple take him to the basement and give him the money they had in their safe.

The request was suspicious as few knew about the basement safe. For this reason, Marvin remained convinced that a friend or family member was playing a Halloween trick on them. When the masked man led the Brandlands toward the basement, Marvin tried to grab the gun. As a result, the man shot Marvin in the throat. The killer then fled the house, leaving his mask behind.

Ethel was so traumatized by her husband’s death that she died a few months later.

The killer was likely an acquaintance as he had allegedly bragged about committing the murder. DNA tests on the mask, however, were inconclusive so the suspect was never charged. To this day, the murder remains unsolved.



–Bobette Bryan, 2016