10 Halloween Pranks That Went Horribly and Tragically Wrong

By: Jack Sackman

Halloween is fast approaching, and with it comes a number of traditions. From carving a jack-o-lantern to donning costumes, bobbing for apples and handing out candy to neighborhood kids. But there is one Halloween tradition that does not get enough attention, and that is the annual All Hallow’s Eve prank. Yes, each October 31st pranksters young and old set out not only to score tons of free candy, but also to inflict some mischief on their community. From toilet papering houses and lighting bags of dog poop on fire, to scaring the hell out of people and pulling the school fire alarm—Halloween pranks are common and the best ones are legendary. But what happens when the prank doesn’t go as planned? What happens when the prank goes horribly wrong? Here are 10 examples of epic Halloween prank fails that left everyone involved with egg on their face—some literally.


10. Dangling From Roof Trick Results in Fire Department Visit

A few years ago, a family in North Carolina decided to hang a dummy from their second storey roof to make it look like a person had slipped while cleaning their gutters and was now holding on for dear life. The dummy was apparently dressed in real jeans, a sweater and tennis shoes. However, mirth quickly turned to mayhem when a neighbor, who was out walking their dog, spotted the dummy hanging from the roof, freaked out and immediately called the local fire department. By the time the family that perpetrated the prank realized what had happened, the fire department was set up in front of their house and had a ladder extended all the way to their roof while shouting “Hang on. Help has arrived.”

9. Police Assume Man Was Really Run Over by His Lawn Mower

In the vein of domestic accident pranks gone wrong, how about this one. Another family decided to use a dummy to stage a horrifying accident involving their ride-on lawn mower. The merry pranksters placed the dummy underneath the lawn mower on their front lawn so that only the arms and legs were visible from underneath the machine. They then covered the arms and legs with red paint to simulate blood so that it appeared to everyone who passed by that the homeowner had been cut up and mangled by his own lawn mower. So good was the staged accident that neighbours who saw it in broad daylight had no idea it was a hoax and promptly dialed 9-1-1. The police arrived and, terrified, launched into action—not realizing that the person in distress under the lawn mower was a dummy until one of the cops attempted CPR.

8. Man Keeps “Armed Robber” Costume on While Going to Starbucks

Not all Halloween costumes are ghosts and skeletons. Take, for example, the man from Lansing, Michigan, who went to a neighbor’s party dressed as an armed robber, complete with a skull mask, bullet proof vest and fake M-16 assault rifle. The party went great, but after a few drinks, the man, while walking home, decided to stop in at the local Starbucks for a non-fat latte to help him sober up. Unfortunately, the semi-drunk man was still wearing his armed robber costume. Customers screamed, the barista hit the floor and the cashier raised her hands above her head—but not before triggering the store alarm. The startled man was left explaining himself to police who arrived on the scene. After seeing that the man had money in his wallet to pay for his coffee, and that the M-16 was fake, police let the Halloween reveler head home—but only after they confiscated his very believable costume.

7. Dad Decides to Scare Kids by Pretending to Kill Their Mom

Domestic violence should never be taken lightly. Which is what one father found out the hard way after he decided to give his young children, ages six and eight, a good Halloween fright by pretending to kill their mother. Dad of the year apparently donned a Michael Myers mask from the Halloween movie franchise (classic) and then proceeded to strangle his wife in front of their two kids. The whole thing was fake, of course, and mom was in on the prank. However, the kids freaked out in spectacular fashion, ran to a neighbor’s house and had them frantically call the police. The Sherriff’s office was dispatched and dad was left with some pretty detailed explaining to do. And, while no charges were filed, the children are said to still have trust issues to this day.


6. Teacher Bursts Into Classroom While Revving a Real Chainsaw

A teacher at Taunton High School in Massachusetts thought he figured out a great way to get students into the Halloween spirit. He brought a real chainsaw to the school, pulled the rip cord and then burst into a classroom of 15-year-old students wearing a ski mask and revving the chainsaw to max throttle. The stampede of students that ensued was so bad that one person broke his leg while clambering over a desk. Once apprised of this stunt, several parents of the traumatized students launched a lawsuit against the school board, high school and teacher who perpetrated the prank. Apparently the family of the kid with the broken leg settled out of court for $100,000. Trick or treat!

5. Teen Eggs Local Electricity Station and Cuts Power to 8,000 Residents

Eggs are one of the oldest and most popular Halloween pranks. Who among us hasn’t egged a house at least once in our life? But this tried and true prank took an ominous turn for a 15-year-old Pennsylvania youth in 2006. For some inexplicable reason, the teen in question thought it would be funny to egg the local electric company substation in his town at Halloween. However, the combination of egg splatter and rain that was pouring down at the time caused a massive explosion that practically destroyed the electric substation and knocked out power to 8,000 people in the local community. Fortunately, the boy escaped relatively unscathed. He had to be treated at the local hospital for ringing in his ears. Maybe it was the sound of his brain being fried?

4. Woman Successfully Sues Neighbor for Defamation Over Halloween Yard Display

A woman in Florida ended up successfully suing her neighbour for defamation, harassment and emotional distress after the man next door set up a Halloween display that made her the butt of jokes. The offending neighbor put a sign on his lawn for an insane asylum that pointed to the woman’s yard and erected a plastic tombstone with an epitaph that made fun of the fact that the woman was still single in her late 40s. The tombstone read: ‘At 48 she had no mate, no date. It’s no debate, she looks 88.’ However, the woman had the last laugh after she sued the pants off of her rude neighbor and got him to promise in court that he would not erect anymore Halloween displays while living next door to her. Some people!

3. Man Wearing Sheep Costume Accidentally Set on Fire

A man in England made the unfortunate decision to head to a Halloween party dressed as a sheep. His sheep costume had him covered in cotton balls. While riding the subway in full costume en route to the party, a fellow traveler thought it would be funny to flick his lighter near the cotton ball covered costume. The costume burst into flames and the Halloween partygoer was badly burned. Worse, the man’s costume-clad friends on the train tried to put out the fire using the alcoholic beverages they were bringing with them to the party, which only made the fire worse. Fortunately, the person who set the fire was the heir to a large estate and used his inheritance to cover the sheep costumed man’s hefty medical bills.

2. Prankster Spikes Halloween Punch With Visine Eye Drops With Tragic Results

In 2009, a woman in Granville, New York, was charged with a misdemeanor after her Halloween prank ended up killing her friend. Inspired by a prank she had seen on television, a 49-year-old woman decided to spike the punch at a Halloween party she was attending with Visine eye drops. Apparently, the prankster through the Visine would make her friend woozy and ill. However, Visine causes serious medical issues for people who drink it, including respiratory failure. The woman who was pranked had no idea what happened to her, but she quickly collapsed after drinking the Visine and later died. Several other people at the party became seriously ill. The woman who spiked the punch with Visine was later charged with misdemeanor assault causing bodily harm. Sad, but true.


1. Teenager Hangs Himself to Death in Front Yard While Trying to Prank His Sister

It doesn’t get more tragic than this one. In 2013, a teenager in Kentucky accidentally hung himself to death while trying to stage a Halloween prank. Jordan Morlan, aged 16, of Louisville was apparently trying to prank his sister on Halloween by pretending to hang himself in a tree on the family’s front yard. However, the prank turned to tragedy when Jordan slipped and hung himself to death for real. Sadly, the family didn’t believe Jordan was in trouble when they initially saw him hanging in the tree as they assumed he was pulling another in a series of Halloween pranks. By the time they realized the prank had gone wrong it was too late. Paramedics were unable to revive Jordan, and after spending several days in a coma, he died. An honor student, Jordan had planned to join the Marines after high school.