Halloween gives kids the chance to dress up as their favorite characters, celebrities and athletes while collecting buckets full of candy. What can be better?
In many cases, watching the players who inspired the costumes.
Halloween is far from the most prominent sports holiday. The NFL has Thanksgiving. The NBA has Christmas. Baseball has the Fourth of July. Still, Oct. 31 is at a point of the sports calendar where each of these leagues and more are in full throttle, providing some iconic moments. In fact, this Halloween marks the 29th sports equinox, a day where the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all have games.
Before trick or treaters start ringing doorbells, let’s look back at 10 of the most iconic Halloween sports moments in history:
Billy Cannon's Halloween run
Billy Cannon’s Heisman moment from the 1959 season came on Halloween.
No. 1 LSU faced No. 3 Ole Miss in a battle of stifling defenses at Tiger Stadium. Trailing 3-0 in the fourth quarter, Cannon gave the top-ranked Fighting Tigers all the scoring they would need with an 89-yard punt return touchdown as they earned a 7-3 win.
Frank Mahovlich nets NHL’s first Halloween hat trick
It’s clear what Frank Mahovlich would choose between trick or treat.
The Detroit Red Wings forward got his first hat trick with the franchise and seventh of his career on Oct. 31, 1968, in a 7-5 victory over the Boston Bruins. He was the first player in NHL history to score three times on Halloween.
Wayne Gretzky and Kevin Stevens score matching hat tricks
Wayne Gretzky and Kevin Stevens made Halloween hat trick history of their own in 1989.
With three goals from each player in a matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins, it was the first time two players netted hat tricks in the same game on the holiday. Gretzky added three assists and propelled his Kings to an 8-4 thrashing of Stevens’ Pens.
Packers beat Bears in soggy Chicago
Mother Nature wreaked havoc with rain and wind at Soldier Field on a night where the Bears honored two franchise legends. The Packers were able to make plays on the ground, as Edgar Bennett scored three touchdowns and Brett Favre picked up a 36-yard score in a 33-6 win over their longtime rivals.
Derek Jeter becomes Mr. November
This moment may have ended on Nov. 1, but it started on Halloween, so we’re counting it here.
Game 4 of the 2001 World Series between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks was the first Major League Baseball game to be played on Oct. 31. Derek Jeter earned a new nickname with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning after the clock struck midnight, evening the series 2-2.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers could have been spooked by the New England Patriots heading into their Halloween matchup in 2004. Instead, they beat one of the NFL’s scariest teams and put an end to history.
The Patriots entered the Week 8 matchup riding a 21-game winning streak, which dated back to the 2003 regular season and included their playoff run through Super Bowl XXXVIII. That record-setting run came to an end against the 5-1 Steelers and their rookie quarterback, who helped his team build a 24-3 lead late in the first half en route to a 34-20 win.
Manu Ginobili swats bat out of the air
— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 6, 2019
Manu Ginobili didn’t want anyone to become a vampire on Halloween in 2009.
A rogue bat was flying around the AT&T Center during a game between the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings. The Hall of Famer decided to take matters into his own hand and knocked the bat onto the court.
Steph Curry drops 53 points on the Pelicans
Coming off his first NBA MVP and first NBA title, Steph Curry took his game to an even higher level to start the 2015-16 season.
In just the Golden State Warriors’ third game of an eventual 73-9 campaign, Curry scorched the New Orleans Pelicans with a 53-point eruption that set the NBA’s single-game Halloween scoring record. He also contributed nine assists in a 134-120 win.
Royals rally past Mets in Game 4
Kansas City trailed 3-2 entering the eighth inning of Game 4 at Citi Field. They tied the game thanks to a Mets error and then took a two-run lead thanks to RBI singles from Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez. The team won the championship the next night with an extra-innings victory in Game 5.
Derrick Rose turns back the clock with 50-point game
Derrick Rose put together one of the most memorable performances of his career on Halloween in 2018.
The 2011 NBA MVP scored a career-high 50 points to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 128-125 win over the Utah Jazz. The scoring output tied Adrian Dantley and Rashard Lewis for the second-most points in an NBA Halloween game. After the final buzzer, Rose gave an emotional interview and was fully embraced by his Wolves teammates.