The quiet streets of Haddonfield. ? photo by Tony Hoffarth
HADDONFIELD, Ill. ? For the first time since 2002, the children of Haddonfield, Illinois will be allowed to wear costumes and go trick-or-treating for Halloween. The town council of Haddonfield voted 5 to 4 to lift the 15-year ban on Halloween festivities that was put into place following decades of murder and mayhem in the small town at the hands of notorious serial killer Michael Myers.
?We?re proceeding with caution,? said Mayor Debra Carpenter. ?We don?t want a repeat of ?78 ?88, ?89, ?95, or ?02.?
Many of Haddonfield?s children aren?t familiar with the ritual of going door-to-door for candy. Most were too young or not even born the last time the town celebrated Halloween.
?It?s strange to see pumpkins being hauled into town again,? said resident Carol Bell. ?I haven?t seen a pumpkin since I was in high school.? Bell plans on bringing her six-year-old daughter trick-or-treating.
?Gun sales are up,? said another local resident who declined to give her name out of fear Myers is still out there and knows how to read. ?People are carrying pepper spray and tasers, but none of that is going to stop Michael Myers.?
?People are still a little on edge around here,? said Haddonfield comptroller Mike Fedler. ?But the general consensus is that if [Michael Myers] is still out there, he won?t come home this year. Fifteen years isn?t anything to write home about. Twenty years, that?s a little more disconcerting. There?s already talk of suspending Halloween in 2022. Just in case.?
The town had considered lifting the ban last year but decided to play it safe one more time. 2008 marked the thirty-year anniversary of the first time Michael Myers ?came home? and nothing happened then.
?It was a ghost town that year, more than usual,? said Mayor Carpenter. ?A town-wide curfew was in effect. State and local police were on every street corner. The National Guard was even on standby. We were cautious. But in this town, you can never be too careful.?
On October 31, 1963, six-year-old Michael Myers murdered his fifteen-year-old sister Judith Myers with a large kitchen knife at their home in Haddonfield. His parents arrived home moments after to find young Michael in a trance-like state.
Myers was incarcerated in Smith?s Grove Warren County Sanitarium, where he was placed under the care of child psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis. Eight years of treatment and psychological evaluations convinced Dr. Loomis that Michael was pure evil. Loomis then spent the next seven years trying to keep Michael locked up.
On October 30th, 1978, 21-year-old Michael Myers was to be transferred and prosecuted as an adult. When Loomis and his assistant, Nurse Marion Chambers, arrived at Smith?s Grove to take Myers to court, Michael attacked them, nearly killing Marion. Myers then stole their car and escaped. Loomis pursued the psychopath, assuming, correctly as it turned out, that Myers would return home to Haddonfield. When he arrived in Haddonfield, Loomis discovered that Judith Myers?s tombstone was missing.
On Halloween night, Michael Myers went on a killing rampage through the town of Haddonfield in a relentless pursuit for his sister, Laurie Strode, who had been adopted following the death of her older sister, Judith Myers. Michael Myers murdered four teenagers, including Laurie Strode?s best friend, Annie Brackett, the daughter of Sheriff Leigh Brackett, before being shot six times by Dr. Loomis and falling from a second floor balcony.
The nightmare didn?t end there. Despite his injuries, which also included a wire coat hanger gouged into his right eye, Myers fled and once again tried to get to his sister, who had been taken to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. Myers went on to gruesomely murder ten more people that night, including four nurses and a doctor, bringing his killing spree total to fifteen people.
Michael Myers was shot several additional times, including once in each eye by his sister, before finally being stopped by Dr. Loomis, who blew up an entire wing of Haddonfield Memorial Hospital with both himself and Myers trapped inside. The building burned to the ground. Remarkably, Dr. Loomis survived with third-degree burns on more than half of his body. Michael Myers was assumed dead, though his body was never recovered.
Laurie Strode survived the ordeal but was scarred psychologically. She later had a daughter, Jamie, who she was forced to give up for adoption after being declared unfit to raise the child. Still fearing her brother to be out there somewhere, Strode faked her own death and moved to California under an alias.
October 31, 1988 ? ten years after Michael Myers killed 14 people on Halloween night in a relentless search for his sister ? Myers came home to Haddonfield in search of his niece, Jamie Lloyd.
?I remember it all too well,? said lifelong Haddonfield resident and historian, Bill Stevens. ?Myers crippled the entire town. Before he even made it to Haddonfield he had already killed six people and blown up a service station. The explosion took down a section of phone lines, leaving the surrounding area without telephone service. He didn?t stop there. Once he reached Haddonfield, he blanketed the town in total darkness by throwing the body of a DPW employee into a transformer. Horrible way to die.?
?Myers single-handedly took out a number of police officers and deputies with an assault on the sheriff?s station,? said town drunk Clyde Lumbergh. ?With no phones or electricity or cops, the town was his. All for one little girl. Shoud?ve just given her up.?
Without a police force, a posse of drunken rednecks armed with shotguns, led by local bar owner Earl Ford, began hunting the deserted streets of Haddonfield for Michael Myers against the wishes of Sherriff Ben Meeker. Meeker?s concerns were validated within minutes as Ford and the Gateway brothers accidentally gunned down a local man, Ted Hollister, who had been lurking in the bushes in the town square.
?It was an accident, sure, but Hollister had a reputation for being a peeping Tom,? said Lumbergh. ?If he were alive today, he?d probably be a registered sex offender. Whose to say Myers wouldn?t have killed him anyway? And it?s not like there was a police force left to hold Earl or the Gateways accountable for their actions.?
Even if there had been, Earl Ford and the rest of his drunken posse of vigilantes were all killed by Myers as they escorted Jamie Lloyd and her stepsister, Rachel Carruthers, outside of town.
?They say Myers was hiding under Ford?s pickup,? said Lumbergh. ?How they didn?t see that coming, I?d never know.?
The two girls had barely escaped an earlier assault at Sherriff Meeker?s home, where Myers claimed three more victims, including Meeker?s daughter, Kelly.
?Kelly had a reputation for being?real friendly like,? said a high school friend of Meeker?s who asked that we not reveal her name. ?I think deep down her dad knew, but he didn?t want to face the fact that his little girl was the town hussy. Everyone had a taste. Hell, that drunk Lumbergh fucked her and he?s gross.?
?Sure did,? said Lumbergh. ?It was just my turn. Funny thing about Kelly: She was the only one of Myers? victims killed with a shotgun. But he didn?t shoot her; no, guns weren?t his style. She was impaled in the stomach. Guess you could say Kelly Meeker was so easy, even Michael Myers took a shot? Too soon??
State and local police executed Myers with a barrage of gunshots before his bullet-riddled body collapsed into an abandoned mine shaft. Not taking any chances, the police then dropped dynamite down into the shaft. The explosion buried Myers? body under 20 feet of earth.
All in all, Myers murdered eighteen people and one dog that year, including four police officers. Haddonfield?s long nightmare was over. Or so they thought?
Just one year later, on Halloween night 1989, Myers resurfaced, very much alive, and once again attempted to reach his niece, who had been committed to a child psychiatric hospital. Dr. Loomis ultimately stopped Myers but not before he murdered another dozen Haddonfield residents.
Myers was taken into police custody, but escaped yet again, following an explosion inside the sheriff?s station. Myers gunned down the entire police force, including Sheriff Ben Meeker, with a machine gun and vanished.
However, some Haddonfield residents aren?t convinced Myers acted alone. Several eyewitnesses reported seeing a mysterious man dressed in black and cowboy boots enter the sherriff?s station moments before the explosion.
?It?s a conspiracy theory,? said local nut Lumbergh. ?Where?d he get the machine gun? Where?d he get the dynamite? Myers couldn?t?ve done it! He didn?t shoot them people. You can bet whoever did is probably dead. Michael Myers works alone!?
Six years later, Halloween 1995, Myers returned to Haddonfield. Again. This time Myers succeeded in killing his niece, Jamie Lloyd, but not before she gave birth to a baby girl, who Myers then set out to kill. Myers failed, once again stopped by Dr. Loomis along with the help of local hero, Tommy Doyle, who Laurie Strode babysat as a boy on Halloween night in 1978.
Dr. Sam Loomis died that very same night. Some suspect at the hands of Michael Myers, whose body was once again never recovered. Myers killed 17 more people that year, bringing his seventeen-year mass-murdering spree total to 70 souls.
Just three short years later, on October 29, 1998, Michael Myers went to Langdon, Illinois and murdered Marion Chambers, Dr. Sam Loomis?s former colleague, and two teenagers who lived next door, after ransacking Chambers? home office. Myers fled the scene just as the police arrived, taking Laurie Strode?s personal file with him.
Two days later, on Halloween night, Myers tracked down his sister, who had faked her death years earlier and was now living under the assumed name Keri Tate in northern California. Tate was the headmistress at the posh Hillcrest Academy High School, where her son, John attended. Myers killed six people before being impaled by an ambulance and decapitated with an axe at the hands of his sister.
Finally, after a body count of 76, Michael Myers was dead. Or was he?
Laurie Strode was committed to a psychiatric hospital after it was discovered that she had beheaded a paramedic instead of Michael Myers. The paramedic had located Myers?s body in the dining hall of Hillcrest Academy, but Myers had attacked the paramedic, crushed his larynx, and forcefully switched clothing and his mask.
Three years later, Halloween, 2001, Myers finally found and murdered his sister, along with two others ? 23 years to the day he began his relentless pursuit. But Myers didn?t stop there.
One year later, Myers returned to Haddonfield once more only to discover that his once condemned boyhood home was now being used as the setting of an Internet reality show contest directed by radio shock jock Freddie Harris. One by one Myers killed most of the contestants and the crew ? seven in all ? before being electrocuted to death by Harris.
Myers? body was transported to the morgue, where it was immediately incinerated. The following morning, authorities found a box of remains with ?Mykal Mayers? crudely scribbled on it in blood. The coroner was nowhere to be found.
An earlier version of this story misidentified the name of the town where Marion Chambers was murdered as Haddonfield.