7 Scary Things That Actually Happened on Halloween

These nightmarish events sound like they're from a horror movie, but tragically, they're real.

Scary things - house with Halloween decorations
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This freakish Halloween decoration was real

If there were a prize for most morbid Halloween decoration in Frederica, Delaware, in 2005, it would have gone to the body hanging from a tree. It would have beaten out the fake witches, skeletons, and jack-o-lanterns dotting the neighbourhood. For hours, people passed by admiring it. Of course, it had an edge over the other decorations: This was a real body. Police believe it was that of a woman who had committed suicide the night before. Read on for more scary things that happened in real life–all on Halloween.

Scary things - handcuffed man
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A vicious attack

Note to self: Not everyone’s wearing a costume on Halloween. When a tutu-clad Marine spotted a uniform-clad man in a wheelchair, he thought the man’s costume was a weak attempt at mocking the military. So he attacked him. As the Marine learned upon his arrest, the man’s wardrobe was not a comment on American servicemen and women: He was, in fact, a disabled veteran.

Don’t miss these other outrageous news stories from around the globe.

Halloween candy - scary things
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There really are monsters

It’s every parent’s nightmare: Your child comes home from a night of trick-or-treating with spiked candy. One event that helped propel this fear was the murder of Timothy O’Brien in 1974. The eight-year-old from Deer Park, Texas, died Halloween night after ingesting poisoned candy. Making this crime more horrific is the fact that the perpetrator was not a neighbour, but the boy’s own father, who sought to cash in on his son’s life insurance.

Warning: these true crime podcasts are so chilling, you shouldn’t listen to them before bed.

Man writing note in pencil
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The note

The only scary thing about the graveyard kit bought at Kmart was the note an Oregon woman found inside. It was written by a Chinese factory worker who claimed he and others were tortured and enslaved in a forced labour camp making toys 15 hours a day with no pay or days off. He went on to plead for the letter to be forwarded to the World Human Rights Organization. The woman did just that, and the Chinese worker was freed when the camp was exposed months later.

Discover 13 creepy facts about Canada.

Delivering mail in mailbox
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Neither rain, nor sleet, nor…

It’s tragic enough to have collapsed and died alone on your own porch steps. To make things worse, the next morning, the Denver mail deliverer, assuming the body was an excellent Halloween decoration, sidestepped the deceased on his way to delivering the corpse’s mail.

Read up on Canada’s most baffling unsolved mysteries.

Scary Halloween mask
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The trick-or-treat murder

The year was 1957. Halloween night. A couple was getting ready for bed when the doorbell rang. It was late, but the husband answered the door, ready to dole out more candy. Instead, an adult wearing a mask shot him in the chest, killing him. Was it a trick-or-treater dissatisfied with the candy selection? Not quite. The murderer, it turns out, was the girlfriend of a woman who had had an affair with the murdered man’s wife. The woman convinced her girlfriend to do away with the husband in order to have the wife for herself.

For more scary things that actually happened, add these true crime movies to your watch list.

Woman on street with car at night
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A devastating prank

Halloween is known for both tricks and treats, but some pranks just go too far. In 1998, a Bronx man was in the car with his girlfriend to pick up her nine-year-old son from a Halloween party. When a group of teens started egging the car, the man got out and an argument started. After he sat back down in the car, though, one of the teenagers shot him fatally in the head.

Next, check out the most notorious cold cases in Canadian history.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest