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In a nutshell: A vampire is a creature in stories who needs the blood of others to stay alive. At Halloween, vampire costumes sell well.

vampire costume for HalloweenA vampire is a mythical person whose body doesn't make enough blood. A mythical person is one who exists only in stories. To stay alive, the vampire must get blood from somewhere. Since the vampire can't walk into the blood bank and ask for a pint, he or she must take it from a creature that has blood. These days, stories about vampires usually describe him or her as having large incisors that look like fangs and are used for biting others in the neck.

Storytellers sometimes give vampires special powers, like the ability to fly. Weaknesses include fear of sunlight, garlic, and religious symbols. Some say that the only way to kill a vampire is to drive a special stake through its heart. The heart is a pump that circulates blood, bringing oxygen and nutrients to your body’s organs, including your brain. Driving a stake through the heart would probably kill anyone.

Writers of popular books, movies, and television shows about vampires describe them in many different ways, so there is no one set of qualities that every vampire has.

There are many folk legends of bloodsucking creatures throughout history and around the world, such as the story of the werewolf.

Bram Stoker's Dracula, written in 1897, was one of the first popular books with a vampire as a key figure. More than 100 years later, vampire stories are still very popular. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Some think we like to scare ourselves with stories so we can get our minds off things that really scare us, like dying. Some think we like stories of creatures with special powers, like the power to live forever. Some people try to scare others by trying to look like they think vampires look. People have lots of ideas why they think vampire stories are popular.

What do you think? Why do so many people like vampire stories? And why are vampire masks and costumes so popular at Halloween?

Last updated 28-Nov-2012

further reading

The consumption of blood is scientifically known as haematophagy, and an organism that feeds partially or exclusively on blood is haematophagous. Check out the website Top 10 Vampiric Creatures for details about such things as fleas, leeches, and vampire bats.

For more on your heart and blood circulation see kidshealth.org.

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