Whether you’re snacking on candy that has a registered trademark, reading a scary book that has been copyrighted, or carving pumpkins with a patented tool, this month you are very likely to come in contact with a variety of Halloween-themed intellectual property (IP) firsthand.

While there are many inventions that are focused on children celebrating Halloween, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has also issued many strange and spooky patents and trademarks. To celebrate Halloween this year, we’ve put together 5 of the creepiest patents we could find.


1. Natural Creeping Baby Doll (U.S. Patent Number 118,435)

In 1871, George Pemberton Clarke was granted a patent for “creeping dolls.” According to his patent, Clarke wanted to improve the construction and operation of creeping (crawling) dolls. He wanted to mimic the natural movement of a baby’s head and limbs by “means of certain mechanical devices and the application of a peculiarly-constructed lever to operate the leg, in contradistinction to the arm on the same side.”


2. Improvement in Coffins (U.S. Patent Number 369,252)

In 1879, James Shannon created a fastener to “prevent the displacement of the corpse in a coffin during the transfer of the remains down a flight of steps or stairway to the ground floor of a house, when the corpse is apt to slip to the lower end of the coffin and to steady the remains in the casket while in the hearse and on the route to the cemetery or place of interment.” 

While Shannon’s belt fastener was useful for keeping a corpse in the coffin, his patent also noted that the fastener “aims to frustrate the efforts of persons who, from motives of cupidity, attempt to remove the remains from the grave.”


3. Jack-A-Lantern (U.S. Patent Number 369,252)

In 1889, George A. Beidler received a patent for his model of a jack-o’-lantern which was constructed out of “sheet metal, papier-maché, glass, or other material capable of being stamped-up, molded, or otherwise.”

Beidler wanted to “provide a new article of manufacture of unique appearance which would form an attractive, desirable, and amusing toy for children, supply a long-known want, and could be used as a campaign-torch, for celebrations, torch-light processions, political meetings, and other like occasions where an effective pyrotechnic display is desirable.”

The patent also noted the faces on the lanterns “may be of any grotesque or ornamental design; but for political campaigns it is intended to have the faces represent those of the candidates of the political parties for whom the celebration is held.”


4. Ventriloquist’s Dummy (U.S. Patent Number 2,114,851)

In 1938, Martha McCown was granted a patent for her new and improved ventriloquist dummy. According to the patent, McCown wanted to create a dummy that was durable and could be manufactured at a low cost. She also tried to make the inside parts of the dummy simple and conveniently assembled so that children would be able to manipulate the dummy easily.


5. Device for Collecting Treats (U.S. Patent Number 6,419,541)

In 2002, Surasak Apichom created a device for collecting Halloween candy that was designed to spook treat givers on Halloween. The invention had a handle that could be pulled by the trick-or-treater which would inflate a toy rat or snake quickly, shocking the treat giver.


As Halloween quickly approaches, we hope you enjoy a safe and spooky Halloween!


Suiter Swantz IP is a full-service intellectual property law firm providing client-centric patenttrademark, and copyright services. If you need assistance with an intellectual property matter and would like to speak with one of our attorneys, please contact us at info@suiter.com .