Posted by Paul Rawlins on October 30, 2012 in Collections, Website

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?



  1. Betty Dahlstedt

    These parents did not give their child a Halloween name They gave her almost every other name:
    Selma Maria Elisabet Tyra Asta Anna Konstantia Agnes Ester Barbro Margareta Axelsdotter
    She was born in Karlstads Stadsförsamling in Värmland,Sweden on 13 March 1900. Her parents were
    Karl Axel Nerman and Zelma Julia Maria Olin.
    He had been married previously and had five children from that marriage. The second marriage
    produced a son and then this child. All the other children were given two or three names. Either these names were a leftover collection or all the other children had a hand in naming her. They are all in my family tree.

  2. Paul Rawlins

    That’s got to be rough when the toughest part of every school assignment is instruction #1: Write your name at the top of your paper…

  3. Debbie WORKMAN Adkins

    About the second photo down: I do believe the is Ursula instead of Dracula….I could be wrong but that is what it looks like to me.

  4. Paul Rawlins


    Hmm. The capital D could go either way. It’s close to other Ds on the page, but there is a subtle difference. It does look like a lowercase c rather than an s, though. Handwriting’s always a bit tricky. But, in favor of your interpretation, there are 3 Tennessee Ursulas in the 1920 census–and no Draculas. I don’t know if the soon-to-be Mrs. Taylor was in Tennessee still in 1920, but Dracula doesn’t seem to be.

Comments are closed.