When my informant was younger, she was told a story by her brother that he had apparently heard in school. It was an urban legend about a young man who had hung himself a night before Halloween in a tree in a nearby neighborhood. Apparently, since it was Halloween nobody took the body seriously, believing to be just another gruesome prop. A few days later people realized it wasn’t a prop thanks to both the smell and the birds coming to eat away at his body.
This legend is fairly disconcerting to my informant, who believes this legend to be real. When she had asked her father if it was real, he had replied in the positive, citing his cousin as a source. Apparently the boy it had happened to was the son of a distant relative. This story may or may not be true.
This story seems like a warning against complacency for a holiday that has become a mockery of what it used to be and still is for some people. The fear that some props used on this night may actually be flesh and blood instead of plastic and paint is deep seated in superstition, and that is why so many people really do get a good fright from haunted houses and the like.
It could also be seen as a warning against suicide, as the boy didn’t recieve a particularly pleasant death and his body was desecrated by the local wildlife and exposed to the elements for quite some time.
This story seems to hold a particular significance for my informant, who has told me previously that her best friend attempted to commit suicide when they were much younger, and that to this day he lies in a coma as a result.