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Halloween Themed Baby Names
Need some baby name inspiration? If Halloween is one of your fave holidays, look no further! We dug into our favorite scary movies, books and TV shows -- including True Blood, Twilight, Hitchcock classics and more -- to see which names gave us a thrill.
First Name Only: Freddy, Jason, Michael and Dexter
Some horror characters are so well known in pop culture only their first name is needed as a calling card (think Madonna or Cher, only scarier). Freddy brings to mind the gruesome villain from Nightmare on Elm Street. Jason was the hockey mask-sporting slasher from the Friday the 13th flicks. And, of course, Michael, was the mass murderer in the Halloween series -- although apparently his ghastly deeds weren't quite horrific enough to scare folks away from the name: it's currently the third most popular name for boys in the U.S., and had consistently ranked in the top two for the five decades prior. Celeb fans of the name include actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who passed on the name to their son Dylan Michael in 2000, and TV host and actress Kelly Ripa and actor hubby Mark Consuelos, who named their firstborn Michael Joseph in 1997.
Dexter, the character from the eponymous Showtime series, is a blood-pattern analyst by day and the serial killer version of Robin Hood by night -- his code dictates that he only kill murderers. Fittingly, an actor named Michael (Hall) plays Dexter, and the name Dexter has also enjoyed a steady ascent since the series premiered in 2006, climbing almost 400 spots to number 545 in 2009, when Hall won a Golden Globe award. Years before it made such a jump in popularity, actress Diane Keaton bestowed the name on her daughter Dexter Dean, whom she adopted in 1996.
Harry Potter: Harry, Ron, Hermione and more
J.K. Rowling's extraordinary boy wizard, whose story has sold more than 400 million books, actually has quite an ordinary name: Harry. The fairly common name was in the top 100 from 1910-1957; it now ranks at 650) -- but it's certain to be long associated with the eponymous series. Famous celeb kids with the name include Prince Harry (the younger son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, born in 1984), whose full name is actually quite a mouthful: Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, and Harry Joseph Letterman, son of late-night television host David Letterman and Regina Lasko, born in 2003.
Although Rowling introduced some quirky monikers in her books (like Dumbledore, Hogwarts and Dobby), Harry and friends were christened with names known to Muggles (non-magic folk). Harry's best friend is Ron, full name Ronald; the latter, ranking at 341 in 2009, enjoys greater popularity than Ron, which barely scraped in the top 1000. Ron's siblings are named Bill (no longer in the top 1000 as of '93), Charlie (rising steadily and now at 274), Fred (in decline, now at 881), George (slipping but firmly in the top 200 since 1910) and Ginny (like Bill, the name dropped out of fashion -- and the top 1000 -- in '83). Celeb fans of the name Charlie include golfer Tiger Woods and then-wife Elin Nordegren, who named their son Charlie Axel in 2009. Less common is Percy, also one of Ron's brothers (though it does suit his pompous character, the old-fashioned name dropped off the Social Security radar in '88), and Hermione, Harry's other best friend, whose name hasn't ranked in the past 100 years.
The Twilight Saga: Jacob, Isabella and Edward
The Potter series may enjoy the wider fan base, but it's Twihards who are so deeply devoted to the saga they'll name their children after two of the main characters. Isabella, the human heroine in the books, and Jacob, the werewolf/love interest, are currently the number one name for girls and boys in the U.S., respectively -- and both names were also top-searched on Parenting.com last year. Jacob has always been fairly popular (it's had a firm hold in the top 300 in the past 100 years), but Isabella and the character's nickname Bella (now 51) had been out of the top 1000 names for several decades until 1990 and 2000, respectively. Celeb fans of the name Isabella include Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who bestowed it upon their adopted daughter Isabella Jane in 1992, and former Dancing with the Stars winner Drew Lachey and wife Lea, who welcomed daughter Isabella Claire in 2006.
Less popular today are the old-fashioned names of the vampire Cullen clan -- although Cullen, Emmett and Jasper were all in the top ten names with the highest popularity jumps from 2008-2009. Edward, Bella's perpetually 17-year-old true love, was born in 1901 -- a time when his name ranked ninth in popularity, but in 2009, it was at 137. Edward's siblings have similar rankings: Rosalie peaked at rank 66 in 1938, but is now at 840; Jasper was fairly popular in the first half of the 20th century, but dipped in popularity in the latter half -- and ditto for Emmett, although both of the names have recently jumped in popularity and now rank closely at 337 and 332, respectively. Two celeb fans of the name Jasper include country singer Brad Paisley and According to Jim actress-wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley, who named their second son Jasper Warren in 2009. And finally, Alice, while most popular in the early 1900s, retained classic appeal and is once again moving up the charts, most recently surging from 327 in 2008 to 258 in 2009.
True Blood: Sookie, Bill, Eric, Sam, Jason, Tara
Vampire mania -- one of Parenting.com's 2010 baby names trends -- is clearly here to stay. While Twilight stayed in the PG-13 realm to serve the younger set, HBO series True Blood, based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, delves into the darker, rawer version of vampire lore.
Female lead (and recently outed fairy) Sookie was a top-searched girl's name in 2009 on Parenting.com, but it hasn't ranked on Social Security's list in the past century. Her vampire boyfriend Bill's name hasn't ranked since 1993, but William, from which Bill is derived, has consistently ranked in the top 20, if not the top 10 names for boys year over year since the Social Security Administration began tracking names in 1880.
More popular True Blood names include Eric, fellow vampire (and Bill's rival), whose name has solidly stayed in the top 100 since 1950. Jason, Sookie's dim-witted but sweet brother, has also has a strong showing since the '60s and is currently at 66. Sam, Sookie's restaurant-owner boss and a shape-shifter, has been in steady decline since the early 20th century and now ranks 468 (although Samuel holds steady at 27). Golfer Tiger Woods and then-wife Elin Nordegren gave the name to daughter Sam Alexis in 2007, and actor Jack Black and wife Tanya Haden doubled up on the True Blood monikers before True Blood existed: son Samuel Jason was born in 2006. And finally, Tara, Sookie's human friend, had a surge in popularity in the '70s through the '90s, but has since waned to current rank 688.
H for Hitchcock: Norman, Marion, Grace, James, Cary
You can't talk scary names without Hitchcock thrillers leaping to mind. Psycho, considered one of the scariest movies of all time, featured the benignly-named killer Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins) and Marion (portrayed by Janet Leigh). Not surprisingly, the name Norman has dipped since the film's debut in 1960, and now ranks at 911 (Anthony, however, is now a top 10 boy name). The old-timey Marion was popular in the first half of the 20th century, but last ranked in the top 1000 in 2003 ? but Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker and hubby Matthew Broderick loved it for one of their twin daughters, Marion Loretta Elwell, born via surrogate in 2009.
Grace Kelly is also closely associated with Hitchcock, as she appeared in three of his major hits: Dial M for Murder, To Catch a Thief and Rear Window. While her name is perennially popular (it's now at 17), the names of characters she played -- Margot in Dial, Frances in Thief, and Lisa in Window -- have fallen into relative obscurity, although actress Amanda Peet (known for her outspoken pro-vaccine stance) and screenwriter-husband David Benioff named their first daughter Frances "Frankie" Pen in 2007.
Actor James Stewart was also favored by Hitchcock. At number 20, Benjamin, from The Man Who Knew Too Much, is the most popular of his character's names, followed by Jeff in Window and Rupert in Rope, both of which have fallen off Social Security's ranking radar. The ever-popular James hasn't slipped from the top 20 in a century, and now ranks at 18.
Cary Grant's Hitchcock characters, however, are still going strong: John, his character in Thief (co-starring with Kelly) hasn't dipped below 30 in the last century, while Roger, Grant's moniker in North By Northwest, has been in the top 500 since 1880.
As for the director himself, the name Alfred has declined since the '50s, and is now at 828 -- but his movies aren't likely to stop thrilling viewers any time soon.
Devil Children: Damien and Regan
Thanks to infamously chilling tales of children possessed by the devil, there are two names that will always give us the creeps: Damien and Regan. Although Damien is Greek for "soother" or "tamer", the name brings to mind the movie The Omen, about a couple who unwittingly adopts a boy of that name who is the devil incarnate. After the original version of the movie debuted in 1976, the name rose in popularity for a few years. It also got a bump after the remake from 2006, and is now at a respectable 189. It looks like parents have learned to look past the name's dark side (including actress and model Elizabeth Hurley, who named her son Damian Charles in 2002).
Regan would probably be just another girl's name, were it not for the 12-year-old girl of that name possessed by the devil in what's commonly called the scariest movie of all time, The Exorcist. The name was never hugely popular (it had a slight increase after the movie's release in 1973 but is in decline again, and now at 724), but, for those who have seen the movie -- yours truly is too chicken! -- the name will forever evoke this super-scary flick.
Stephen King: Carrie, Annie, Christine
The best-selling author's works have tinged a few innocuous girls' names with horror, the best known being Carrie. Carrie, the teenager who uses her psychic powers against classmates who humiliated her, is the title character in the eponymous novel and movie. The name was quite popular in the '70s, when the book and movie were released, but last ranked on the list in 2008 at 1000.
Two other girls' names that got the Stephen King treatment are Annie, the former nurse-cum-serial killer who tortures a romance novel writer in the book and movie Misery, and Christine, a possessed car in the novel of the same name. Annie spiked in popularity after the release of Misery, and, despite the scary connotation, has stayed in the top 500 and is now at 382. Christine's popularity was only boosted by the novel's 1983 debut -- it was in the top 100 for a decade after that -- but has since declined and settled to its current spot at 623.
Classic Horror Movies: Rosemary, Chris and Clarice
Those weird pregnancy dreams where you give birth to an alien (or something non-baby) became a chilling reality for Rosemary in the book and movie Rosemary's Baby, whose son turns out to be the Antichrist. The name's popularity peaked in the '40s and has waned since to rank 721. But, Mia, the name of the actress (Farrow) who played Rosemary, is now a top ten girl's name. Celeb fans of the name Mia include actress Kate Winslet and then-husband James Threapleton, who named their only child together Mia in 2000.
Another classic horror movie mom was Ellen Burstyn, who played Chris, Regan's mother, in The Exorcist. Chris as a girl's name plunged in popularity, falling off the charts in 1977, but Ellen, though more popular in the early 20th century, still ranks at 700.
And who thinks of classic scary movies without The Silence of the Lambs coming to mind? The FBI agent Clarice, played by Jodie Foster, tracks a serial killer (Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter) in this chilling flick. The name Clarice, though sweet and ultra-feminine, enjoyed popularity in the early 1900s but last ranked at 919 in 1976. Hannibal, not surprisingly, hasn't ranked at all in the past century, but Anthony is a top ten-ranked boy's name today.
Murder Mysteries: Agatha, Jane, Hercule and Edgar
While Stephen King clinched the horror genre, Edgar Allan Poe and Dame Agatha Christie pioneered the more subtle (but no less chilling) murder mystery novels. Poe, though best known for his poem The Raven, is credited with inventing detective fiction in his Murders at Rue Morgue. Edgar's name has remained as popular as his writing: the name has largely been in the top 300 in the past century. Allan, less popular, holds the 557th spot now, while alternate spellings Alan and Allen are ranked 142 and 312, respectively.
Christie, dubbed the Queen of Crime and one of the best-selling authors of all time, popularized murder mysteries (like Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None), and created two irrepressible sleuths: Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. Hercule's name hasn't ranked in the past 100 years (really, can there ever be another Hercule?), but sweet, unassuming Jane, more popular in the '40s through the '60s, now sits at a respectable 386. Agatha, however, peaked in popularity at 365 over a century ago in 1891, and hasn't seen the inside of the top 1000 names for girls since 1945, when it was ranked 915.
Supernatural TV Names: Pushing Daisies, Buffy, and Angel
Television has hosted many a scary show, many with supernatural elements. The short-lived (but well-received) Pushing Daisies features Ned, who can bring back the dead with a touch of his finger. Ned uses this trait to solve murders with gumshoe Emerson Cod, along with sidekicks Olive, a perky waitress, and his childhood sweetheart Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, whom he brought back from the dead.
While the quirky name Ned worked on the show, it fell off the radar in 1976, last ranking at 952. The ever-popular girl's name Charlotte is now 68, and has stayed in the top 300 in the past century. Emerson is actually rising fast in popularity, ranking at 833 in 2002, and now at 321. Olive -- one of our favorite celeb baby names (think comedic couple Sacha Baron Cohen and wife Isla Fisher, whose daughter Olive was born in 2007) -- is also on the rise, jumping from rank 805 in 2008 to 588 in 2009.
You can't talk supernatural TV shows without mentioning Buffy, though. The vampire slayer's moniker briefly ranked in the '60s and '70s, but despite the show's popularity, it looks like there will only ever be one true Buffy. Buffy's friends, Xander and Willow, from Sunnydale High have proven to have greater traction when it comes to the name game. The name Xander's popularity coincided with the show's run; it debuted in the late '90s, exactly when Xander started ranking. The show ended in 2003, but the name has only risen since, now at rank 244. Ditto for Willow -- she ranked 853 in 1998, and is now at 315. Celeb parents of a Willow include Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who welcomed daughter Willow Camille Reign in 2000.
Lastly, Angel, a spin-off of Buffy, was about a vampire (David Boreanaz) who moves to Los Angeles to help others and redeem his soul, features one of the current most popular baby names: it's been in the top 100 since 1997, and now ranks 37. Two musical celeb fans of the name include U2's The Edge and then-wife Aislinn O'Sullivan who named their daughter Blue Angel in 1989 and former Spice Girl Mel B (Melanie Brown) who welcomed daughter Angel Iris solo in 2007 (biological father Eddie Murphy and Brown had already split before the birth).