Halloween

Telling a joke has its roots in the Irish tradition of Samhain

This Halloween Is Scary Enough. Tell a Joke Instead

The tradition in St. Louis is for trick-or-treaters to focus on humor more than horror

Halloween can be a particularly challenging time for families navigating life-threatening food allergies.

Allergic Reactions to Peanuts and Tree Nuts Spike 85 Percent on Halloween

Parents and children can avoid the dangers by taking key precautions and embracing alternative activities

The ogre-faced spider earns its name from its large eyes and mandibles.

How Ultra-Sensitive Hearing Allows Spiders to Cast a Net on Unsuspecting Prey

Sounds trigger the ogre-faced spider to backflip and shoot a silk trap on other insects

From leaf-engineering to complex social circles, there’s more to bats than flying and echolocation.

Smithsonian Voices

Five Reasons to Love Bats

Make Halloween the reason to learn to love and conserve these misunderstood mammals

Jennifer Angus, "In the Midnight Garden," 2015.

Smithsonian Voices

Twelve Artworks and the Spooky Movies They Bring to Mind

Undead animals, creepy kitties, cyanotype cemeteries and other ghouls and creepy stuff to be found at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Halloween features a full moon every 19 years, and it's always a blue moon.

This Halloween, Look for the Hunter’s Blue Moon

The second full moon of the month gives Halloween an extra spooky atmosphere

Halloween 2020 is having its moment, even if it will feel different compared to years past.

From Wider Corn Mazes to Virtual Haunted Houses, Halloween Looks Different This Year

The coronavirus pandemic has destinations around the country getting creative when it comes to celebrating the holiday

A small-banded kukri snake seen with its head thrust inside the body of an Asian common toad. This snake does this to feed on its prey's internal organs, and, perhaps, to avoid the poisonous milky secretions that can be seen on the toad's back.

New Research

This Snake Slurps Organs of Living Toads in Grisly Feeding Strategy

Researchers say no other snakes are known to feed this way, adding that the snakes may feed this way to avoid toxins secreted from the toads’ backs

Christopher Lee as the titular vampire in Terence Fisher’s 1958 Dracula, showing off bloody canines that would prove weirdly influential.

How the Vampire Got His Fangs

An incisive history of a Halloween snarl

It’s Death By A Million Cuts on This Slasher Planet!

Trending Today

NASA Celebrates Halloween With These Interstellar Horror Posters

The artwork highlights the weird world of exoplanets where it rains glass and planets circle zombie stars

The creepiest doll in all the land

A Minnesota Museum’s Creepy Doll Contest Is Here to Haunt Your Dreams

"The doll I disdain handling is the one with human hair," says curator Dan Nowakowski

Collections at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History are filled with all sorts of eerie specimens.

Smithsonian Voices

Six Bewitching Smithsonian Specimens to Get You Ready for Halloween

Check out some of the spookiest (read: coolest) items in the National Museum of Natural History's collections.

Food, Glorious Food

Food, Glorious Food

Smithsonian magazine's coverage of food, drink and their role in our culture

The cast of 'The Addams Family' poses for a publicity shot.

The Cultural History of 'The Addams Family'

As the spooky clan makes a new appearance on the big screen, a look back on the mystery of their longevity

Mexican free-tailed bats near Bracken Cave, Texas.

Halloween

The Best Places Around the World to See Bats (by the Millions)

Bat tourism might sound creepy, but it may be the best way to help bat conservation around the world

From New York to South Carolina, take a trip through the haunts of one of America's favorite authors.

Halloween

Take a Trip Through Edgar Allan Poe's America

From his birth in Boston to his death in Baltimore, check out places that were important to America's favorite macabre author

Baby bats are born tipping the scales at a third of their adult weight, and since mama bats have to carry them until they can fly, at which point they are nearly full-grown, it’s no wonder they start to get a bit physical.

Mama Bats Literally Nudge Their Babies Out of the Roost

Researchers observed mother bats repeatedly prodding their young to motivate them to fledge

Celebrate the spookiest night of the year by participating in a "game" that lets you guide a real person's actions

This Halloween, a Social Experiment Will Allow Internet Users to Control the Actions of a Real Person

MIT Media Laboratory's BeeMe is the love child of ‘Black Mirror’ and psychologist Stanley Milgram’s notorious experiments on free will and obedience

Drawing inspiration from the myth of werewolves, the Nazis inspired real soldiers and civilians to fight at the end of the war.

The Nazi Werewolves Who Terrorized Allied Soldiers at the End of WWII

Though the guerrilla fighters didn’t succeed in slowing the Allied occupation of Germany, they did sow fear wherever they went

Halloween

Where to See the World’s Biggest Spiders

Don’t freak out—our arachnid friends help more than hurt