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REAL LIFE HORROR: The Man Who Killed Halloween

Most of us love horror. You wouldn’t be at this website if you didn’t. But what happens when fiction becomes fact, or some form of it?  We are going to take a look into real life horror and talk about Ronald Clark O’Bryan, the Man Who Killed Halloween.


Mugshot of Ronald Clark O’Bryan


On Halloween 1974, O’Bryan was out with his two kids, Timothy and Elizabeth, along with another two kids and their dad, Jim Bates, and another child trick-or-treating. Bates and the other kids ran ahead while O’Bryan stayed behind. When he caught up with the others, he had five Pixy Stix and gave them to the children at the end of the night.  When he returned home with his kids, Timothy asked for some candy and chose the Pixy Stix.  The sugar clumped together, so O’Bryan rubbed the candy between his hands and then gave it to his son. After it was eaten, Timothy started vomiting. An ambulance was called, but Timothy was pronounced dead shortly after.  Elizabeth and the other children never ate the Pixy Stix.

News spread like wildfire, many parents gave their candy to the police to see if it had been laced with poison.  The cops promised O’Bryan that they’d find whoever did this.  In the meantime, O’Bryan blamed a particular neighbor for giving him the candy, but the man was at work during Halloween and two hundred people backed up his claim.

Police started growing suspicious of O’Bryan.  Before his son’s death, he had insurance policies taken out on both his kids. He also was deep in debt and couldn’t hold on to a job.  To top it all off, he had talked about spending the life insurance policy that he had collected from Timothy’s death at the funeral, saying that he was going to take a vacation.

Police eventually arrested O’Bryan, although he maintained his innocence.  He was shunned and hated by the other prisoners.  He was given both the nicknames the Candy Man and the Man Who Killed Halloween.  O’Bryan was later found guilty of the murder of his son and the attempted murder of his daughter and the others kids (Police believe that he planned to kill the children that went out with them that night as a way to cover up his crime).  His wife filed for divorce and later remarried.

halloween-apple-razor-bladeO’Bryan died by lethal injection on March 31st, 1984.  People stood outside the building and cheered.  Some even yelled, “Trick or treat!”  Even though O’Bryan was dead, the fear of poison laced candy continued to live on.

I remember as a kid, my third grade teacher told us all to check our candy after trick-or-treating.  Hey, I even remember Nickelodeon telling kids on their network to check their candy, too!  Although it’s always good to be careful, no such incident has ever been recorded. But the fear of the tainted candy will probably live on until the end of days.

Source: Wikipedia & Killer Legends.

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In my early twenties, I was an actress in some horror films and I wrote film reviews on a Christian website under the name Sarah Brock. I'm now happy to explore the world of horror once again.