The Man Who Killed Halloween

Timothy O'Bryan's name may have faded from popular memory, but in1974 his death shocked the country and earned the culprit the nickname "The Man Who Killed Halloween."

The 8-year-old Deer Park, Texas, boy died Oct. 31, 1974, after eating trick-or-treat candy laced with cyanide. Within days, his father, Ronald Clark O'Bryan, stood accused of staging the crime as part of a life insurance scheme.

With his wife testifying for the prosecution, O'Bryan was convicted and sentenced to death. Dubbed the "Candy Man" by fellow prisoners, he was executed by lethal injection in 1984.

Halloween has lived on. But not the way it was.

The case horrified parents and helped usher in an era in which carefree costumed trick-or-treating has given way to X-rayed candy bags and tightly controlled Halloween parties and festivals.

The decades-old idea that depraved strangers are targeting children with tainted Halloween candy, however, is more fiction than fact.