The month of October is traditionally a scary one, and you might get into the Halloween spirit by indulging in a horror movie or two.
But for some, the night of Halloween brought a very real terror into their lives, and some of the most terrifying killings on record have happened on 31 October.
These are 10 of the most chilling murders to occur at Halloween…
A father poisoned his eight-year-old son with a Pixy Stix
After a night spent trick-or-treating, eight-year-old Timothy O’Bryan was given one last sweet by his father Ronald.
Timothy ate the Pixy Stix straight away and soon began to vomit – he died before he reached the hospital.
Police learned that Ronald, who repeatedly changed his story, had poisoned the Pixy Stix with cyanide.
Ronald was revealed to have been in serious debt and had taken out life insurance policies on his children.
He was given a lethal injection a year later.
The 1981 New York killing which remains unsolved to this day
Police have yet to solve the mystery behind the murder of photographer Ronald Sisman and college student Elizabeth Platzman.
The Manhattan apartment the two shared was found to be totally ransacked, although nothing was missing.
Both were beaten before being shot dead, The New York Times Reports.
A 15-year-old was murdered on her way home from a fancy-dress party
On the night before Halloween 1975, 15-year-old Martha Moxley was on her way to a fancy-dress party in Connecticut when she was killed.
According to The New York Times, the teenager was found dead in the back garden, having been beaten to death with golf clubs.
It would be another 25 years before Michael Skakel, who was also 15 at the time, was convicted of her murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Skakel maintained his innocence and his conviction was vacated by the Supreme Court in 2018.
The Toolbox Killers killed for the last time
Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris were an infamous duo known as the Toolbox Killers, named so after picking up a series of young female hitchhikers and torturing them with simple tools.
In 1979, the pair killed a woman named Shirley Ledford while she made her way home from a Halloween party.
Ledford was tortured and killed before her body was left in a stranger’s front garden.
She was the Toolbox Killers’ fifth and final victim.
A friend of the two men turned them into the police, after which Bittaker was sentenced to death, though he died of natural causes before his sentence was carried out.
Norris cooperated with the investigation and was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison.
William Liske killed his mother, brother and stepfather
In 2010, Devon Griffin, 16, returned from church to find his stepfather, mother and brother had all been brutally murdered, according to The Sandusky Register.
Devon’s stepbrother, William Liske, was eventually found responsible for the murder.
The killer beat his older stepbrother Derek with a hammer, shot his father five times, then sexually assaulted his stepmother before fatally shooting her.
To avoid the death penalty, Liske pleaded guilty to three accounts of murder, however in 2015 he was found dead in prison with a self-inflicted wound, the Port Clinton News-Herald reports.
A Japanese exchange student was killed while on his way to a Halloween party
Yoshihiro Hattori was on his way to a party in New Orleans when an address mix-up led to his death.
Hattori, unfamiliar with the area, mistakenly knocked on the door of Rodney Pearis, who claimed to have been scared by the student.
Pearis, thinking Hattori was trespassing with criminal intent, shot the student with a revolver.
Charged with manslaughter, Pearis evoked “castle doctrine,” by which Americans are permitted to apply lethal means to defend their homes.
The jury found him not guilty.
Speaking to Japan Today in 2012, Hattori’s father said: “Sometimes I feel like he’s still in America.
“Someday he’ll come back home, I say to myself.”
A husband killed in a ‘crime of passion’ in the 50s
On Halloween night in 1957, Peter and Betty Fabiano were woken by a knock at the door.
Thinking it was a late trick-or-treater, Peter brought some sweets ready to give them.
When he opened it, he was greeted by a woman wearing a mask, who raised a hand wrapped in a paper bag and shot him in the chest – killing him instantly.
Police later arrested Joan Rabel, a woman who reportedly had a sexual relationship with Peter’s wife Betty, The Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the report, Rabel talked another woman, Goldyne Pizer, into committing the murder.
Pizer was sentenced to five years in prison, while Rabel was convicted of second-degree murder.
Betty was never tried in connection with her husband’s death.
Pizer and Rabel were later released.
A couple were stabbed in bed after a night spent giving sweets to trick-or-treaters
In 2004, Leslie Mazzara and Adriane Insogna, who lived together in California, were stabbed to death in the middle of the night by someone they thought was their friend.
Their housemate, Lauren Meanza, woke to the sound of screaming and immediately fled the house.
Eric Matthew Copple turned himself in to the police, but never explained his motives for killing Mazzara and Insogna, the Nappa Valley Register reports.
Copple is currently serving a life sentence, with no possibility of parole.
A 21-year-old was killed by teenagers after they egged his car
New Yorker Karl Jackson was with his girlfriend on his way to pick up her son from a Halloween party when he was killed by a group of teenagers.
According to The New York Times, the gang had been egging Jackson’s car when Jackson got out and yelled at them to stop.
In response one of the youths pulled out a gun and shot Jackson through the head, killing him instantly.
Curtis Sterling, then 17, was charged with second-degree murder and is currently serving a 20-year sentence.
Every year at Halloween, according to The New York Times, Sterling receives a card from Jackson’s mother which reads, “I’m glad you’re still there.”
A nun was strangled to death
In 1981, eyewitnesses spotted a man running away from a convent in Texas in the middle of the night.
Nuns noticed a broken window in the community room and soon found the body of Sister Tadea Benz.
The nuns immediately called the police, who later found Benz’s clothes under a bed along with a knife.
The man’s name was Johnny Frank Garrett – and an autopsy revealed he had stabbed and sexually assaulted Benz before strangling her.
Garrett was sentenced to death – reports say his last words were: “I’d like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me. The rest of the world can kiss my a**.”