Manhattan act of terrorism happened on Halloween, while it may be coincidence, there are other gory acts over years on the day of the dead.
At least eight people were killed and around a dozen more seriously injured in a "particularly cowardly act of terrorism" after a rented truck ploughed through people on a bike path in lower Manhattan on Halloween.
While the act in itself is heinous, this is not the first time that murderous incidents have taken place on Halloween. While some might argue that it is perhaps just a coincidence, one cannot deny that the day dedicated to the dead has seen a number of sinister and often macabre occurrences.
We list 13 such stories of macabre murders that took place on Halloween.
Man kills girlfriend over missing bag of Halloween candy: The incident took place in Chicago’s South Side in 2011 when a man, Ledell Peoples blames his girlfriend of stealing his bag of Halloween treats, and following an argument, stabbed his girlfriend Maria Adams multiple times, killing her. He was 55, and still fighting over Halloween candy.
Man confronts kids who shoot him dead, on Halloween: Computer programmer Karl Jackson was driving his girlfriend and her son home through South Bronx on Halloween in 1998, when his car was egged by a couple of kids. After a brief confrontation, he left the spot, only to be pursued by the kids who caught up with him a few blocks later and shot him in the head.
Seven-year-old shot dead while trick-or-treating: Another macabre incident from 1994, seven-year-old Tony Bagley was wearing a skeleton costume and trick-or-treating with his sister, mother, and aunt on the north side of Las Vegas when a man in a hooded sweat suit leaped out of nowhere and fired at the family before hopping in a getaway car, which peeled away with its lights off. Bullets hit Tony’s sister in the liver, his aunt in the leg, and his mother in the chest, but they all survived. Tony did not. Tony’s murder remains unsolved.
Man answers front door, is shot to death: A case from 1957, Peter Fabiano from Los Angeles was having marital issues that led to his wife Betty leaving the house briefly to live with a woman named Joan Rabel. After the couple had reconciled, she moved back leaving Rabel consumed with jealousy. She conspired with another woman, Goldyne Pizer, to murder Fabiano on Halloween, reasoning that it was the best night of the year to wear a mask without engendering suspicion. Rabel put together a costume for Pizer consisting of red gloves, face paint, and a mask. The pair sat for two hours outside the Fabiano residence on Halloween night waiting for the house’s bedroom lights to be turned off. When the lights went out, Pizer walked up to the house and rang the doorbell. Fabiano answered, probably anticipating a late-night trick-or-treater. Pizer shot him dead in the chest.
Trick-or-treaters knock on man’s door and he kills them with an AK-47: A 2008 case, convicted drug dealer Quentin Patrick of Sumter, SC heard a knock on his door. Assuming it was rival gang members, he grabbed his full-auto AK-47 and blasted at least 29 bullets through his front door at them. Eleven of those bullets hit 12-year-old trick-or-treater T. J. Darrisaw, killing him.
Preacher strangles woman to death, then dresses her son up for Halloween: John D. White became romantically involved with a female resident a few trailers down and would frequently babysit the woman’s three-year-old grandson. On Halloween night 2012—while the three-year-old boy was in the trailer—White knocked the boy’s mother out with a rubber mallet and strangled her to death with a plastic zip tie. He stuffed her in a garbage bag and dumped her in the woods. Then he returned to the trailer and dressed the boy in a Halloween costume, whereupon the boy’s father came by to pick him up. After being arrested for murder, White told police his crime was part of a lingering fantasy to have sex with a corpse, but that he’d “forgot” whether or not he completed that act.
Teen allegedly rapes elderly nun and stabs her to death, on Halloween: In 1981 when Garrett was 17, a 76-year-old nun in Amarillo, TX was raped and stabbed to death in the early morning hours of Halloween. Garrett’s fingerprints were found on her headboard. In a statement that he refused to sign, police quote him as confessing to the murder: Garrett later denied murdering her and instead claimed to have burglarized the convent a few days before Halloween. Still, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. While later there were contradictory reports on the event, Garrett was still executed in 1992.
Man stabs and kills woman in Betty Boop costume: A drifter and self proclaimed ladies’ man, Jeremy Bryan Jones befriended a woman who allowed him to stay at her home. On Halloween night 2012, after dolling up the woman’s 12-year-old son and the boy’s friend in makeup so they’d resemble Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons of the rock group KISS, Jones went to a popular tavern in Douglasville, GA, where he stabbed a woman wearing a Betty Boop costume to death in the parking lot.
Man wearing Scream mask shoots and kills Brooklyn teen: A man wearing a ghost-face mask that resembled the killer in the movie Scream shot and killed 19-year-old Anthony Seaberry on the streets of Brooklyn, NY. The case remains unsolved.
Man rapes, tortures, and kills nine-year-old girl: Another one from 1973, nine-year-old Lisa French of Fond du Lac, WI dressed up as a hobo and went trick-or-treating. After she rang the doorbell of neighbor Gerald Turner, he took her into his house and shut the door behind her. He raped her, killed her, stuffed her body in a plastic bag, and dumped it in a field. Although he was convicted of her murder, he was later paroled and would go on to file a discrimination complaint when Waste Management of Madison refused to hire him.
Serial killer cuts girl into three pieces, buries her: The man, Richard Biegenwald had a childhood stuffed to the gills with beatings and trauma. Very early on, he also displayed psychotic behavior of his own. At five, he set fire to the family house and at nine, he received electroshock therapy. At eleven, he attempted to set himself on fire.
One of his estimated five murders occurred on Halloween night in 1981. Seventeen-year-old Maria Ciallella of Brick, NJ had been out trick-or-treating late at night. Shortly after midnight, a patrolman spotted her walking alone on Route 88 in the direction of her house. Around 10 minutes later he had turned around back to offer her a ride, but she was already gone. Her corpse was later found chopped into three pieces and buried in the yard of Biegenwald’s mother’s house on Staten Island.
“Tool Box Killers” torture a female hitchhiker to death while tape-recording it: Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris were known as the “Tool Box Killers” because they routinely employed implements such as pliers and hammers in their unconscionably vicious series of kidnap/rape/torture/murders of five teenage California girls in 1979. The last of these was that of 16-year-old Shirley Ledford who was picked up in their van, and over the course of hours, they bound and gagged her, smashed her elbow repeatedly with a hammer, sodomized her with pliers, and finally strangled her to death with a wire coat hanger before dumping her on a random front lawn. During the course of Ledford’s murder, they tape-recorded themselves taunting her while she screamed for mercy.
Father poisons his son with Halloween candy: This old case from Texas involves a father who laced his son’s Pixy Stix with cyanide with the intent of killing him for insurance money. It was 1974, and Ronald Clark O-Bryan fell so deeply in debt that he thought up this macabre way of clawing out.He purchased potassium cyanide, sprinkled it inside five Pixy Stix straws, crudely stapled them all shut, and handed them out to his son, daughter, and three other neighbourhood kids. To avoid suspicion, his plot was to kill them all and blame a neighbour.
11-year-old Timothy, apparently at his father’s urging swallowed the treats and was soon vomiting uncontrollably and was dead before reaching the hospital. O’Bryan was found guilty of murder and died via lethal injection. He is best remembered as “The Candy Man” and “The Man Who Killed Halloween.”