toronto cemetery tours

Spookytown! My Halloween Traditions

Welcome to Spookytown! A weekly blog post about, you guessed it… all things spooky. Ghost stories, books, hauntings, movies, music, history and so much more!

Ever since I was a kid, there were several things that would happen as part of the lead up to Halloween. Figure out our costumes, go with our Mom to buy the Halloween candy, figure out where Mom hid the Halloween candy (which we never found, she was really good at hiding it. I’m sure she still has to), help Mom bag the candy while trying to steal some of the candy and watch lots and lots of Halloween cartoons. Of course my Dad had a tradition of raiding our candy as soon as we went to bed after Trick or Treating. “Reeses Peanut Butter Cups… no kids, you didn’t have any of those in your Halloween candy…” Anyone else’s parents do that? I’m sure all families have one parent that does.

That feeling I had as a kid has never left me… ever. Each year I do a bunch of things starting October 1st. I already mentioned that I still watch cartoons (in this post), especially, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, I also like to watch several movies leading up to the night, but for a really, really long time viewing Carrie the Halloween Eve tradition, along with The Exorcist, and Halloween.

A few other cartoons/animation I didn’t mention in my previous post are Mad Monster Party (I highly recommend this one), The Nightmare Before Halloween and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

I also love to read gothic horror throughout the month October, starting with my all time favourite Edgar Allan Poe. I still read The Raven, every single year!

I also still love to plan my costume and dress up, even if we aren’t going to a party. Heck, one of my all time favourite things to STILL do, is walk around my neighbourhood to see all of the decorations and check out what the kiddies are dressed up as. I’ve lived in apartments for such a long time, that I haven’t given out candy for decades. Maybe one day we will finally be able to afford our dream house, a spooky Victorian, then I can dress it up and give out bags of sugary loot! A ghoul can dream!

Another tradition growing up, was to carve a pumpkin! (then leave it out for the local critters to munch on afterwards) Another down fall from living in an apartment is I had no where to put our orange art piece. I’m considering carving a few this year and leaving them out front anyway. Considering the year we’ve been having, I need to ramp up a bit this year for my favourite day.

Another tradition, has been to take a stroll or two in a cemetery. I haven’t been able to do it for the last few years and I really miss it. Two years ago, we got married in October, so we were a bit busy, then last year we were in Japan for the month of October. I’m hoping this year we can squeeze a walk in. I’ve mentioned it in a few other posts, but our good friend runs the Toronto Cemetery Tours and she will be doing a few walks over the next month.

I’m looking forward to our Halloween traditions and to adding a few new ones. What are your Halloween traditions?

Stay The Fuck Home Guest Post by Chantal!

Hi there!  My name is Chantal and I run a nifty little business called Toronto Cemetery Tours.  I help people relive history while walking through the city’s beautifully landscaped graveyards.  Most of my tours are themed and I like to focus on people and facts that are not always easy to find out in just a simple Google search.  Think Victorian diseases, Escapes Slaves, Murder, and the Women who built our fine country.  There is so much history buried beneath our feet and I have a passion for digging it up and sharing it with you.  Including this little-known tidbit…. 

In these strange times, let’s wish a strange happy birthday to Herman Webster Mudgett, born this day, May 16th  in 1861. You may better know him as the serial killer H.H. Holmes.

Holmes is recognized as one of the United States’ first serial killers. He built a hotel in Chicago now better known as “The Murder Hotel”. During the 1893 World’s Fair he would lure people there, then kill them after they became lost in the hotel’s confusing and labyrinthine rooms and hallways. He is said to have killed anywhere from 50 to 200 people, mostly young women. 

His connection to Toronto stems from an insurance scam Holmes tried to capitalize on. He killed Ben Pitezel, a long-time conspirator, and stole away with his wife and children. Through a bizarre series of events, the con-man ended up in Toronto with two of the Pitezel girls, Alice and Nellie. Here, Holmes killed them and buried their bodies in the cellar of the house he was renting at No 16 Vincent Street. The building has long since been demolished and the street itself was incorporated into Bay Street. 

Not long after, the killer returned to Chicago and his unthinkable crime was discovered. Upon his capture, he has this to say of his life, “I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing. I was born with the evil one standing as my sponsor beside the bed where I was ushered into the world, and he has been with me since.” For his multiple crimes, H.H. Holmes was executed by hanging in Philadelphia on May 7, 1896. 

The bodies of his two Toronto victims were buried in an unmarked grave in St. James Cemetery, one coffin above the other, in a space not far from the front gates. 

If you’re interested in reading more about serial killer H.H. Holmes pick up the book “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson. 

To learn more about Toronto Cemetery Tours or to book your own private tour when we no longer have to stay the fuck home, email or check out my social media:  


Instagram:  @TorontoCemeteryTours 

Twitter: TOCemeteryTours  

See you in the cemetery!