7 Bad Things That Really Happened on Halloween

By Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times
October 31, 2013 Updated: June 24, 2015

Bad things happen every day of the year, but when they happen on October 31, they take on a particularly disturbing quality.

Here are some bad things that really happened on Halloween.


1. Horrific Finale to “Holiday on Ice”

On Oct. 31, 1963, skaters at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum were finishing a medley titled, “Mardi Gras,” as described by the Indy Star.

A rusty tank had been leaking propane, slowly filling the room.

The skaters prepared for a pinwheel formation to finish, when an electric popcorn machine ignited the gas.

An explosion shot some 40 feet, describes the Star, “catapulting people and chairs through the air.”

“Concrete chunks and body parts rained down.” 


2. Mussolini Comes to Power

Dictator Benito Mussolini was elected to power on Oct. 31, 1922.

(ARCHIVE/AFP/Getty Images) 


3. Child in Costume Mistakenly Shot

Last year, in New Sewickley Township, Pa., an 8-year-old girl dressed up for Halloween was shot by her cousin, who thought she was a skunk.
The girl was injured in the shoulder and abdomen, but survived. She was wearing a black costume that included a black hat with a white tassel.


4. Harry Houdini Dies

On Oct. 31, 1926, famed escape artist Harry Houdini died of a ruptured appendix at the age of 52.



5. Flu Kills 20,000 Americans

During Halloween week 1918, the flu killed more than 20,000 Americans, according to PBS. Starting in the fall of 1918, an influenza pandemic extended for two years, popping up in pockets around the world and killing more people than the world war that preceded it. 

October was the deadliest month in the history of the United States, according to PBS. Nearly 200,000 Americans died of the flu over the whole month.


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6. River Phoenix Dies

Actor and musician River Phoenix died of a drug overdose at the age of 23 on Oct. 31, 1993.

(Alan Light/Wikimedia Commons)

 RELATED: River Phoenix Remembered: Star Surrounded by Girlfriend Samantha Mathis, Brother in OD 20 Years Ago


7. Teen Dies in Halloween Trick

William Anthony Odem, 15, put together a Halloween haunted house with friends in the basement of a North Carolina home in 1990.

He accidentally hanged himself while staging a gallows scene.

*Graveyard image via Shutterstock

MORE Halloween articles:

10 Happy Ghost Stories for Halloween

Curious History: Halloween Transformations

9 Easy Last Minute Halloween Costumes