Halloween is a time for telling ghost stories to frighten your friends. These are usually tales of mummies, vampires, and zombies, but sometimes, a real-life story sends the biggest shivers down your spine. In honor of Halloween, it’s time to share some of the scariest, most disgusting plumbing horror stories we could find.

When a 60-Year-Old Toilet Decides to Retire

A senior couple living in Wisconsin for 60 years had one remaining fixture original to the house: a little pink toilet in the upstairs bathroom. One afternoon while the couple was away, the toilet decided it was time to retire.

The tank cracked and sent water spilling onto the floor. For two and a half hours the water flowed until the couple arrived home to find the kitchen completely flooded. An inch of water stood on the linoleum, the wallpaper had separated from the wall, and several appliances had shorted out.

Fortunately, this plumbing horror story has a happy ending. The couple’s insurance covered the damage completely, and they were able to give the kitchen a much-needed upgrade.

The Wrath of the Wisconsin Winter

When you own a summer home in Wisconsin, it’s vital to winterize it before retiring to warmer climes for the winter. One man learned this the hard way when he forgot to turn off the main water shut-off valve in his Fox Valley, Wisconsin home.

The furnace failed that winter and unbeknownst to him, the pipes froze and burst, flooding the house for weeks before the man’s brother stopped by to check on things. Almost every water line broke, and the damage was nightmarish. The man’s small oversight led to a massage job for one unlucky plumber and cost thousands of dollars to repair.

The Painter Who Couldn’t Wait

One homeowner decided to have multiple renovations completed at the same time. While a painter worked on refreshing the home’s paint job, a plumber installed a new soil stack, a pipe that connects the interior plumbing to the sewer and exhausts gases outside. The painter needed to use the toilet, but the plumber said he needed 30 more minutes to finish the job. The painter couldn’t wait, however, and proceeded to flush the upstairs toilet despite the unfinished soil stack.

The next thing everyone knew, the painter’s business was all over the backyard! It was a mess to clean up, but fortunately, the plumber was already onsite to take care of this plumbing emergency quickly.

Making a Bad Situation Worse

An apartment dweller panicked when she flushed the toilet and saw raw sewage come up from the bathtub drain. As the tub slowly filled, she dialed the first number she came across: an unlicensed plumbing company.

When the inexperienced plumber arrived, he attempted to run a plumbing auger through the sewer line to clear the clog, but he quickly discovered that a tree root was to blame for the blockage. In his inexperience, he disconnected the toilet from the floor, causing raw sewage to flood the bathroom and seep into the living room. The plumber rushed to clean up the mess with a shop vac, but the damage was already done.

Eventually, the plumber gave up, and the woman had no choice but to call a different plumber and a restoration company to clean and sanitize the apartment. She learned her lesson about hiring an unlicensed plumber, and now she has her pipes inspected once a year to help avoid another plumbing horror story.