Halloween

Houdini exposed fake Spiritualist practices by having himself photographed with the "ghost" of Abraham Lincoln.

For Harry Houdini, Séances and Spiritualism Were Just an Illusion

The magician spent years campaigning against fraudulent psychics, even lobbying Congress to ban fortune-telling in D.C.

According to the American Library Association, Scary Stories were the most challenged books between 1990 and 1999.

Why 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' Frightened So Many Parents in the 1990s

Launched 40 years ago, Alvin Schwartz's spooky series pitted school administrators against PTO members pleading to ban the books

During the Middle Ages, dragons more often figured in accounts about the lives of saints and religious figures than stories of heists and adventures.

Why Dragons Dominated the Landscape of Medieval Monsters

The mythical beasts were often cast as agents of the devil or demons in disguise

The nearly century-old Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco is run by the Boy Scouts of America Northern New Jersey Council.

The 1980 Slasher Movie 'Friday the 13th' Was Filmed at This Boy Scout Camp in New Jersey

In the off-season, Camp-No-Be-Bo-Sco alumni bring in props and lead tours for freaked-out fans

The tablet depicts a male ghost being led back to the afterlife, curator Irving Finkel says.

Cool Finds

3,500-Year-Old Babylonian Tablet May Contain Earliest Known Depiction of a Ghost

A curator at the British Museum details the spooky find in a new book

A plaster cast of a "ghost turnip" carving from Donegal, Ireland

When People Carved Turnips Instead of Pumpkins for Halloween

Revelers in Ireland transformed the root vegetables into lanterns designed to ward off dark spirits

The Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, Maine, hosts an "All Souls Walk" at the town's Hope Cemetery.

In Cemeteries Across the Country, Reenactors Are Resurrecting the Dead

Gravesite readings and performances keep the stories of the dearly departed alive for a new generation

Vote for the creepiest doll via the center's Facebook and Instagram pages.

Which Historical Doll Will Be Crowned the Creepiest?

A Minnesota museum's third annual contest invites the public to vote on which of nine antique toys is the most unsettling

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.

loading icon