Have you always had an affinity for the dark and sinister? Maybe you love Halloween strictly because of the candy, pumpkin carving and costume creativity.
Some are so enchanted with the spooky world that they’ve decided to name their kids after famous ghosts, witches and goblins. Alternatively, some scary movies became so popular that some characters name’s became commonplace.
Using data from the Social Security Administration, MooseRoots researched trends for 25 names from the most famous Halloween movies and books, and sorted them by popularity.
Stephen King’s “Carrie” came out in 1974, and the film starring Sissy Spacek followed in 1976. Carrie was the ultimate misunderstood outcast, but the name rose in popularity in the 1970s.
Of course, Chucky is a pet name of Charles, and Chucky is the disturbing ginger doll that stars in all of the “Child’s Play” films. The first film came out in 1988, but Chucky has always been a very uncommon name. There were only five boys named Chucky in the U.S. in 2000. After 2000, the U.S. Social Security Administration does not have a record of any other males given the name.
The ’90s superhero Buffy from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was a tough chick. Although the show was incredibly popular in the late 1990s, the name did not gain much traction because of the show except for 2003, the last year the show aired.
Oddly enough, the name Hannibal actually means “grace,” and comes from a historic Roman general. Anthony Hopkins gave Hannibal a new meaning in his 1991 portrayal of the deranged, cannibalistic serial killer. The name is uncommon in the U.S., although perhaps slightly increasing in popularity as the stigma from the 1991 film fades.
Marnie was the main character in the 1998 kids Halloween movie “Halloweentown.” The name saw a slight increase in 1999, but has mainly been affected by the 1964 Alfred Hitchcock film “Marnie,” and perhaps recently by the HBO hit “Girls.”
Although “The Addams Family” premiered in 1991, it remains a Halloween favorite. Christina Ricci played Wednesday Addams, the dark, yet charming, daughter. The name grew in popularity throughout the 1990s, although the best year for Wednesday was 2013.
While the Harry Potter series is about witches and wizards, it’s certainly a series that can be enjoyed year-round, not just around Halloween. The series greatly impacted the popularity of the name Hermione in the U.S., particularly when the films began in 2001.
“Hocus Pocus” was the Halloween film of 1993, and millennials still wait each October to watch it on ABC Family. Winifred, the star Sanderson Sister, scares children and is hilarious to adults. The name took a dip in popularity in 1994, but has trended upward since 2010.
Most girls had a crush on the hunky blond human version of “Casper the Friendly Ghost” in 1995 (myself included). Casper has always been common in Scandinavia, but the film increased the name’s popularity in the U.S. after 1995.
Although “Psycho” came out in 1960, the film still scares audiences today. The name remained relatively popular in the U.S. throughout the 1960’s, but it is doubtful that the character Norman Bates was the cause.
The 1975 film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” was wildly popular, and still enjoys a cult following today. Susan Sarandon played a feisty Janet, but the movie did not make the name any more popular, and it has been steadily falling in the U.S.
“Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep!” In 1984, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” burst on the scene as one of the first teenage horror flicks. However, the film did not sway the popularity of the name Freddy in the U.S. The name was most popular in the late 1930s, and has become less common ever since.
“The Exorcist” is still known as one of the best horror movies of all time. Linda Blair’s haunting portrayal of Regan as she becomes possessed by the Devil is unforgettable. Regan did become more common in the U.S. after the film came out in 1973, and also rose in popularity in the early 1990s.
“Disturbia” was a 2007 film starring Shia LeBeuof. The film loosely follows the plot of Hitchcock’s classic “Rear Window,” and the film is decidedly better than the Rihanna song with the same title. Kale’s popularity did increase after 2007, but this also might be attributed to the obnoxious crazy for the healthy green vegetable.
Sidney was already becoming a popular name in the U.S. when the film “Scream” debuted in 1996. The popularity of the film and the following sequels helped put the name Sidney in the top 300 from 1997 to 2001.
“Before you die … you see the ring.” “The Ring” is a creepy film directed by Gore Verbinski in 2002 and Samara is the celebrity ghost crawling out of televisions. The film affected the popularity of the name Samara. In 2003 and 2004, there were over 400 more Samaras born than usual, but the name has since decreased in popularity.
Like “The Exorcist,” “Rosemary’s Baby” is another classic horror film. Popularity for the name Rosemary did not change a lot after the film came out in 1968. In fact, the name was most popular in 1946, when it ranked as the 74th most popular name in the U.S.
Sabrina was everyone’s favorite teenage witch in the 1990s, and the name did become slightly more popular in the U.S. after 1996. What affected the name most significantly was the 1954 film “Sabrina” starring Audrey Hepburn.
Damien is the creepy little boy in the 1976 film “The Omen,” which was remade in 2006. Neither movie affected the popularity of the name, but Damien consistently ranks in the top 300 in the U.S.
“Who you gonna call?!”
In 1984, it was Bill Murray’s Dr. Peter Venkman to eradicate your ghosts with flare. Peter is a fairly common name in the U.S., but has steadily decreased in popularity since 1970.
“Edward Scissorhands” is not just a Halloween movie, it’s a Johnny Depp favorite with a strong performance from a young Winona Ryder, as well. The name was very popular at the turn of last century, often ranking in the top 10. The popularity of Edward did not increase after “Edward Scissorhands” in 1990, but saw slight growth in 2009 possibly due to the popularity of the “Twilight” series.
“Corpse Bride” is a very sweet Tim Burton film about a shy character named Victor (voiced by Johnny Depp) and his accidental ghost bride (Helena Bonham Carter). The movie is not as well known as “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” but is still an excellent Halloween movie that both adults and children love. The popularity of the name Victor did not change when the movie premiered in 1995.
The “Friday the 13th” series began in 1980, and has scared teenage camp-goers ever since. The name Jason was the third most popular boy’s name in 1979, so it’s likely that that’s the reason director Sean Cunningham chose the name Jason for the star of the film. Jason is not as popular as it was in the 1980s, but remains a common choice for parents in the U.S. today.
From Jack the Ripper and Jack Torrance (“The Shining”), to Jack Skellington (“A Nightmare Before Christmas”), the name Jack seems to pop up around things spooky and sinister. While Jack did increase in popularity in the early 1990s (“A Nightmare Before Christmas” came out in 1993) there are more probable celebrities who popularized this name such as Jack Kerouac, Jack Nicholson and Jack Johnson.
Samantha is the sweet, spunky witch from the 1960s TV show “Bewitched.” The name shot to popularity in 1965, one year after the show aired, and has been in the top-200 in the U.S. ever since.