Can you imagine Halloween without trick or treating? It almost came to an end after one Texas guy killed a kid.

The Real Candyman


If you're a horror movie junkie, you probably have seen Candyman. Where you say Candyman three times into a mirror and then you're stalked by a man with a hook. Today though, we're talking about the REAL candyman named Ronald Clark O'Bryan. Also known as "The Man Who Killed Halloween".

October 31, 1974 Pasadena, Texas

Growing up, we all heard the story of checking your candy. "Be careful trick or treating because someone could be trying to poison you." That is all because of Ronald O'Bryan. Back in 1974, he took his kids trick or treating with some of their friends. Apparently, five kids in total were a part of the group, two of which were Ronald's kids. Ronald apparently brought along some pixie stixs that he had laced with cyanide.

News Report of O'Bryan on Trial

Sadly, One Child Died from the Poisoned Candy

Timonthy O'Bryan, yes Ronald's own child was killed by his father with the poisoned candy, but why?! Well...Ronald was in severe debt. Police estimate at least $100,000 at the time. A few months prior, Ronald took out life insurance on his children and investigators believed he attempted to kill his children to get the money. Ronald claimed a house in the neighborhood gave him the Pixie Stix, but the homeowner had an alibi for Halloween. He was working at the Houston airport that night and had 200 people who work with him confirm his whereabouts that night.

Ronald is Convicted on Five Charges

Looks like the nail in the coffin for Ronald's case was a chemist that Ronald had contacted. The chemist claimed Ronald contacted him about the amount of lethal cyanide for a human person. On June 3, 1975, a jury took 46 minutes to find O'Bryan guilty of capital murder and four counts of attempted murder. The jury took 71 minutes to sentence him to death by electrocution.

Not So Fun Fact, Ronald O'Bryan Was Almost the First Lethal Injection

Yes, O'Bryan was almost the first person in Texas to receive the lethal injection as a death penalty. This became legal in Texas in 1977. He was going to be put to death on August 8, 1980. His lawyer successfully appealed a stay of execution a few times, but he would receive the lethal injection on March 31, 1984. The first lethal injection in Texas took place on December 7th, 1982. If O'Bryan's lawyer did not get that appeal, the story of The Candyman would probably be more famous.

It's Sad, But This Is Why You Check Your Kids Candy

Yeah, those stories of folks poisoning trick or treaters all started because this guy was trying to kill his own kids. Be safe out there on Halloween and just remember, this Candyman legend is real.

LOOK: How Halloween has changed in the past 100 years

Stacker compiled a list of ways that Halloween has changed over the last 100 years, from how we celebrate it on the day to the costumes we wear trick-or-treating. We’ve included events, inventions, and trends that changed the ways that Halloween was celebrated over time. Many of these traditions were phased out over time. But just like fake blood in a carpet, every bit of Halloween’s history left an impression we can see traces of today.

Gallery Credit: Brit McGinnis

LOOK: 34 spooky dessert recipes for this Halloween

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