Halloween is the spookiest time of the year, without a doubt. And it is often the time when strange stories and Halloween urban legends begin to circulate – some new, some old. For most people, these are just stories, a little eerie fun for the occasion. But what are the some of the famous and are there are real roots in the myths?
One of the classic Halloween urban legends has to be the story of Bloody Mary – in fact, it is so old and has so many variations that no-one really knows exactly where it came from! One of the original versions was tied to the belief that a young woman could walk up a flight of stairs backwards with a candle and a mirror in a dark house. When they reached the top, they looked in the mirror and would see the face of their future husband – or the skull of the Grim Reaper if they were never to marry.
In more recent times, the story has become connected with Bloody Mary – stand in front of a mirror and call her name three times. The spirit of Mary would then appear and sometimes try to stab the person, strange them or even scratch out their eyes. Some connect the story with Queen Mary I, who was known as Bloody Mary for her violent religious reforms.
Mall-o-ween terrorist attacks
One of the worst urban legends in recent years was the story that terrorists were planning an attack on a shopping mall somewhere in the US on Halloween. Nicknamed the Mall-o-ween attacks, the stories came from a series of emails that seemed to travel from one person to another with no clear creator. The story was that someone’s friend of a friend had received a note from a boyfriend telling her not to go to the mall on Halloween because something bad was going to happen. The story says the emails were forwarded to the FBI but they claim never to have received a credible threat of this nature. Of course, there’s nothing to say they would tell us if they did…
Campus murders and the psychic
A similar story is the one that tells of a ‘prominent psychic’ who goes on a well know chat show and foretells of a campus mass murder on Halloween. It surfaces each year in the US and routinely scares students around the country. Yet there has never been an attack and the psychic is never identified. There’s always a butcher’s knife involved, the classic Halloween murder weapon and later stories included the spooky mask from the Scream movies. Of course.
Other Halloween urban legends
The idea that there could be evil candy in a trick-or-treat bucket is one of those weird stories that gained a life of its own. It is believed to be connected to the phrase ‘don’t take candy from strangers’ which was used back in 1874 when a young girl was lured into a horse-drawn carriage by the promise of candy and never seen again. The urban legend includes the idea that there is arsenic laced candy and that you should be careful who you take sweets from.
Another legend warns against using those temporary Halloween tattoos that kids love. This is because some evil person has laced them with some kind of hallucinogenic that causes the children to go a little nuts and can even kill them. No evidence for where this one came from or that it ever actually happened to anyone!
If you are going out for a drive with your boyfriend or girlfriend on Halloween nights, watch out for a guy with a hook for a hand. Apparently, there is a legend of a guy who really doesn’t want people to be happy and will attack them if he seems them parked. He’s quite noticeable because he had a hook in place of one of his hands and will scratch it down the bonnet of the car.
Halloween has come a long way from its roots as a Celtic festival and acquired many strange stories and myths along the way. Most of them are true urban legends, without a single basis in fact – or are they? Doesn’t every good myth or legend have a gem of truth in there somewhere?
If you have a Halloween urban legend or story you love, why not share it in the comments? Or send it to me on email and I can update it – we could have a database of spooky stories for Halloween!