The History of Halloween Monsters and Myths

Harper Ruderman, Contributor

It’s the spookiest month of the year and you know what comes with spooky: Zombies, Vampires, and Scarecrows!

First up on the chopping block, zombies, the brain-eating monsters that have taken over the world through media. The origins of zombies dates back to the Ancient Greeks when graves were found with skeletons pinned under rocks for fear of reanimation. In places with prominent Voodoo culture, there’s a belief that a practitioner called a Bokor is able to bring people back to life.

Speaking of being brought back to life, there have been several medical records of people coming back from the dead. According to, in 1962 a young Haitian man entered a local hospital with respiratory issues and later slipped into a coma. He was pronounced dead and buried soon after. Then 18 years later a man walked up to the victim’s sister and claimed to be her brother who had died 18 years earlier. Apparently, he had been dug up soon after he was buried and sent to work on a distant sugar plantation.

Another great classic monster is the  Vampire. These blood suckers have been made more and more popular throughout history, but in the 1800’s it wouldn’t be too fun to be called one. If you were labeled as a vampire, even after death, you would have a wooden stake thrust through your heart or you would be beheaded. Townspeople would also often burn the corpses of people assumed to be vampires.

One of the most popular vampires, Count Dracula, has been associated with Vlad Dracul aka Vlad the Impaler due to their unprecedented similarities such as Vlad enjoyed killing his enemies with a wooden stake and as you probably know, Dracula must be killed by being impaled by a wooden stake to the heart. There was a legend that Vlad would dip his bread into the blood of his enemies. Although Bram Stoker denies any relation between Dracula and Vlad the Impaler, you can’t overlook the similarities.

What’s human-shaped, watches over corn, and is stuffed with hay? If you are thinking anything other than scarecrow you’d be wrong. Scarecrows, as the name suggests, have been used for hundreds of years to keep birds away from crops. However, they have a sinister side to them that connects to the boogie man.

You may only know the boogie man from the movie Nightmare Before Christmas, but the history behind the monster that we call the boogie man is much more extensive. According to, not only would scarecrows keep birds away from crops, but they could also scare children away from the fields where there might be strange things hiding. 

Keeping that in mind, make sure to keep safe and warm this Halloween, and don’t let the boogie man bite!