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.
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.
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)
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
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