Originally authored by Paul Rawlins, Ancestry.com
Who would name their daughter Halloween? According to the 1920 (and 1930) U.S. census, that would be John and Ollie Hildebrand of Freeborn Township, Missouri, for one — or two. In case you think maybe the enumerator got it wrong — twice — it’s right there on Halloween’s marriage license. Typed. Though as of 1940, when she was Mrs. Halloween Waltrip, the tradition had not been passed on to son Franklin John.
Incidentally, according to our count of Halloweens, Mrs. Waltrip was, in fact, only one of more than 40 “Halloweens” listed in the 1940 U.S. Census. Since the census doesn’t record birth dates, there’s no way of knowing if all the Halloweens were born on October 31 and simply fell victim to the spirit of the season, as it were. But Halloween isn’t the only spooky name parents have saddled their children with, either.
In fact, speaking of Spooky, there’s always Spooky King of Mississippi. Or Fright Davis, who apparently took in lodgers, according to the 1920 census. (But did they ever leave…?)
If you thought Dracula was a boy’s name, time to think again. Dracula Taylor was very much a woman, wife of Bert and mother of John R. (No word on who actually talked to the census taker that day and whether Dracula was a given name or simply a loving epithet.)
Speaking of thinking again, you might think twice about trick-or-treating at Ghoul Hall’s place. Or knocking on Witch Hazel Hofling’s door hoping for a treat. Pumpkin Hudgkins’s house sounds much more friendly. Ghoul might have been out with his pillowcase working the neighborhood with Goblin Harris and Skeleton Evans anyway.
If you were in Chicago, for years you could have tried your luck at Victor and Irma Frankensteins’ door. (It’s really, Irma, not Igor—check the record.) Or you could find folks named Boo all over the country, from Boo Boatright in Maryland to Boo Murray in Washington.
And though I was hoping for a “Casper” or maybe even a “Space,” no luck: Ghost Ballias’s siblings were named Georgia, Helen, and Paul. All nice names. But where’s the fun in that?