Horrific Halloween murders – from poisoned sweets to family butchered in bed

Halloween is the spookiest night of the year, and despite its creepy reputation, the scares are usually innocent and well-meaning.

However, the haunting holiday also marks the anniversary of some of history's most terrifying murders.

Here are some of the most horrific murders to have taken place on October 31.

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A Halloween 'crime of passion'

On the evening of Halloween 1957 Peter and Betty Fabiano were surprised to receive a late-night knock at the door.

Thinking it was a trick-or-treater, Peter brought sweets to the door but was instead greeted by a masked woman who shot him in the chest, killing him.

Police later arrested Goldyne Pizer for the murder, who was convinced to commit the crime on behalf of another woman, Joan Rabel, who reportedly had a sexual relationship with Peter's wife Betty.

Pizer was sentenced to five years in prison and Rabel was convicted of second-degree murder, but both were later released.

Betty was never tried in connection with her husband’s death.

The Candyman Killer

Timothy O’Bryan, eight, was given a sweet by his father Ronald to celebrate Halloween 1974.

Timothy ate the sweet from his dad's hand after coming home from trick or treating and started vomiting soon after.

He died before he even reached the hospital.

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It was later learned that Ronald had poisoned the Pixy Stix – a powdered candy sweet – with cyanide after he found himself in debt and took out life insurance policies on his kids.

A year later, he died in Texas by lethal injection.

Martha Moxley never made it to her Halloween party

15-year-old Martha Moxley was on her way to a fancy-dress party on October 30 1975 when she met her end – and never got to celebrate the creepiest night of the year with her friends.

The New York Times said the teen was found dead in a back garden in Connecticut and appeared to have been beaten to death with golf clubs.

The murder remained unsolved for 25 years until Michael Skakel, also 15 at the time, was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

His conviction was vacated by the Supreme Court in 2018.

The Toolbox Killers killed for the last time

Infamous murderers Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris didn't only strike on October 31 – but their final killing took place during Halloween season 1979.

Known as the Toolbox Killers for their torture methods using simple tools, the pair committed five murders of female hitchhikers.

In 1979, the pair picked up a woman called Shirley Ledford, their final victim, while she was on her way home from a Halloween party.

They tortured and killed her before abandoning her body in a stranger's front garden.

A friend of the two men turned them into the police following the killing.

Bittaker was sentenced to death but died of natural causes before he could be executed, while Norris cooperated with the investigation and was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison.

Unsolved Manhattan murders

Not every Halloween murder has been solved – the deaths of photographer Ronald Sisman and student Elizabeth Platzman in 1981 remain a mystery.

The pair had been in the middle of a photo shoot when an intruder beat them and shot them dead in Sisman's Manhatten apartment.

When police searched the apartment they found it had been ransacked – although nothing appeared to be missing when police investigated the crime.

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Couple stabbed in bed after giving sweets to trick-or-treaters

Leslie Mazzara and Adriane Insogna were lying in bed in their California home when their supposed friend stabbed them to death in the dead of night.

Their housemate, Lauren Meanza, woke to the sound of screaming and ran away from the home they shared.

Eric Matthew Copple turned himself in to police but never explained the motives behind his killing.

He is currently serving a life sentence.


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