It’s the one time of year when everyone lets their guard down and expects the ghouls and goblins to be out playing pranks and gobbling free candy. If someone comes creeping up on you in a dark street you expect it to be a friend or local having a laugh. The graveyards are teaming with the living and the dead. And we send out kids out to knock on strangers doors. And before the witching hour is even close to approaching most people are back indoors supping on spiced hot chocolate and scoffing a token gesture hot dog before digging into the candy. But sometimes on Halloween unsuspecting individuals meet real monsters. The following seven Halloween Murders are examples of those monsters.
The Halloween Candy Poisoner
Now, we sometimes hear about poisoned Halloween candy and those Facebook posts start flying around warning parents to be careful of this candy or that one. But most of the time they are completely made up stories with the purpose of scaremongering.
This case, however, really did involve poisoned candy and the first of our Halloween Murders happened on Halloween 44-years-ago in Texas. Using Potassium Cyanide in Pixy Stix straws (those coloured straws filled with sherbet), Ronald Clark O’Bryan attempted to murder his son. Deeply in debt, he decided to attempt to claim on the life insurance and gave his son, daughter, and three local kids the “special candy” when they came trick or treating. Then, when his son got home that night he urged him to eat the candy. It wasn’t long before his son started vomiting. And he was dead before he reached the hospital.
O’Bryan didn’t get away with it though, and was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection.
She Stole My Candy!
A domestic dispute over a bag of Halloween treats took place in Chicago in 2011. Ledell Peoples blamed is girlfriend for his missing bag of treats which started an argument. His girlfriend, Maria Adams, threw a plate at Peoples head which caused a gash above his right eye. And resulted in her death, when Peoples picked up a knife and stabbed her repeatedly.
More than one Doorstep shooting
- People walking around in a costume was one of the main reasons Joan Rabel and Goldyne Pizer picked Halloween to murder Peter Fabiano. Peter’s wife Betty had recently stayed with Rabel during a break up with her husband. But the couple had made up and she’d returned home, which infuriated Rabel. When Peter answered the door Pizer shot him to death.
- Quentin Patrick, a drug dealer, of South Carolina heard a knock at his door on Halloween but he wasn’t expecting trick or treaters. He expected it to be a rival gang. So he grabbed his AK-47 and fired through the front door. Killing 12-year-old TJ Darrisaw and injuring his dad and brother.
Unsolved Newcastle Halloween Murder
Not found until November 1st, 1963, Katherine Lilian Armstrong had 28 stab wounds around the head, a nylon stocking around her neck, and defensive wounds to her hands. Discovered by her cousin the police were alerted. But despite detectives working 18hrs a day, questioning thousands of people, and with very little evidence to go on they found no leads.
In a small Michigan Church, John D. White became a pastor. Whilst living in a trailer park he began a relationship with a woman living a few trailers down and regularly babysat her grandson. One Halloween, White knocked his girlfriend unconscious and strangled her as her grandson sat in the next room. Stuffing her in a rubbish bag and dumping her in the woods.
He helped the grandson get ready for Halloween with his father, who came by to pick him up not long after.
White had previously been jailed on two separate occasions for the murder of one woman and the stabbing of another. And when he was caught for this murder he told the police that he couldn’t remember whether he’d had sex with the corpse or not but that it had been a lingering fantasy.
The Texas Nun
The seventh of our Halloween Murders occurred in the early hours of Halloween 1981, a 76-year-old nun was raped and stabbed to death. And Johnny Lee Garrett’s fingerprints were found on the headboard. After he was arrested he told police he had seen the nun in bed and she’d acted as if she were about to scream so he’d put his hand over her mouth. He choked her until she passed out then had sex with her before leaving. But he later denied murdering her and instead claimed he had, in fact, been there days earlier to rob the place.
But despite it seeming like an open and shut case, doubt was cast on his guilt, an investigator who had falsified evidence in a number of cases, and a convicted murderer who claimed responsibility for the crime. But despite this doubt, Garrett was executed for the crime in 1992.
Halloween Murders are little different from murders that occur on other nights of the year. The perpetrator takes advantage of the situation to do what they would probably have done anyway.
If you’re looking for something to read on the run up to Halloween please consider my recently released novellas Stars (A wannabe ghost hunting team & Vampire Brides) and the second book Moon (Werewolves & Witches). There’s also a sneaky way to get Moon for free when you buy Stars for 99p.
Horror and Fantasy Author – Also writing as K.T. McQueen. Love Western Horror, cowboy boots, my cactus Collin, & my Demon Cat.
Moths – I hate moths, the way they flutter at your face!