John Candy Was Born (and other historical Halloween happenings)

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Today we're treating you to some of the more interesting and coincidental events to occur on this day in history. While you all know today is Halloween, you may not know that on this date...

-Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation, nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Palace church in 1517.

-John Keats, who later wrote a sonnet titled "Written in Disgust of Vulgar Superstition," was baptized in 1795.

-Nevada, a state now known for the revelry and costumes of Las Vegas, became the 36th state in 1864. (===>)

-Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" was published in 1892.

pooh.jpg -In 1912, Oliver Martin Johnson, Jr. was born. As one of Disney's "Nine Old Men," Johnson worked on films such as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland," "Peter Pan," "One Hundred and One Dalmatians," "Robin Hood," and "The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh," all of which have inspired hundreds of Halloween costumes around the world. (===>)

magician.jpg-The master of magic, Harry Houdini died of peritonitis in 1926.

-In 1933, many cities in America suffered great destruction at the hands of mischief-making adolescent boys. The day became known as "Black Hallowe'en," and many cities formed committees to prevent such destruction from happening again.

-Orson Welles, in 1938, expressed "deep regret" for the confusion caused by his presentation of "War of the Worlds" on the previous day. He was also bewildered, though, that people actually believed the alien invasion was real.

woodsy.jpg -Chicago once attempted to abolish Halloween, with the City Council voting unanimously for October 31, 1942, to be declared "Conservation Day." (Nobody declared you should dress up as Woodsy the Conservation Owl. But it's an option. ===>)

-Canadian comedian and actor John Candy was born in 1950.

-In 1964, Helen Pfeil distributed ant poison, steel-wool pads, and dog biscuits as Halloween "treats" to older children in New York. Her case is the first recorded incident of Halloween candy tampering.

-Ronald O'Bryan poisoned his child's Halloween candy in 1974. He was indicted for his 8-year-old son's murder, as well as for the attempted murder of his 5-year-old daughter and three other children. Supposedly, he did it for the $38,000 insurance on his children.

-Marijuana-stuffed Snickers bars were accidentally handed out to children in Hercules, Calif., in 2000. The candy had landed in the dead-mail office and was handed out by an employee, who was unaware that the candy was an attempt to mail marijuana to San Francisco.

Previously on mental_floss:

"¢ Don't miss your chance to win a Gummi Bear-inspired light!
"¢ What's your Halloween Giveaway Strategy?
Ten Epic Costumes
Gruesome Party Food
DIY Decorations.

October 31, 2007 - 7:18am
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