The 'Halloween Card' and envelope are shown on the right. Click the images to expand.
Three months after the Little List letter, on October 27th 1970, the Zodiac Killer mailed the Halloween Card to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The main focus of the correspondence appeared to be directed towards Paul Avery, a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper and came in the form of a Halloween card, depicting two skeletons. The word 'paradice' was crossed with 'slaves' to form four corners, where he placed the wording By Fire, By Gun, By Rope and By Knife, three of which he had definitely used in his four confirmed attacks. If we include the Modesto Abduction of Kathleen Johns on March 22nd 1970 then all four were relevant.
The card also contained the phrase 'peek a boo you are doomed !', a sort of veiled threat, and on the face of the card added onto the skeletons hand was the number 14, possibly inferring Paul Avery was to become his 14th victim. It must be stressed that the writing on the front of the card was not added by the Zodiac Killer, only the pumpkin, neither was the "But, then spoil the game" phrase on the inner. The eye in the tree knothole was not added, the rest of the card inner was added by the author.
The Halloween Card envelope, either deliberately or inadvertently, contained the misspelled name of Paul Avery to Paul Averly and the LAV section of his name had been underlined. On the inside of the envelope (shown below right) the author of the card had included the phrase "sorry no cipher" twice, configured in an X formation. Whether or not a hidden message exists in the Halloween Card however is debatable.
Many theories have been put forward to the meaning of the symbol on the Halloween envelope and card. The Zodiac Killer throughout his correspondence often declared how many victims he had claimed for his afterlife, so quite simply the symbol could stand for ZVF, indicating a total of Zodiac Victims Fourteen, with the four dots alluding to this fact.
Often with Zodiac correspondence he is responding to newspaper articles he has read. Two examples were the 'Debut of Zodiac' letter received by the San Francisco Chronicle on August 4th 1969, which was a direct response to two articles featuring Chief Jack E Stiltz on August 2nd and 3rd. The 'Bus Bomb' letter on November 9th 1969 was again a direct response to Chief Martin Lee, who claimed Zodiac was not hiding in the Presidio Park and had made several mistakes. In both cases the Zodiac supplied extra details about his crimes.
The Halloween Card is not so clear cut however. The previous newspaper article in the San Francisco Chronicle prior to this card arriving was entitled 'Gilbert and Sullivan Clue to Zodiac, authored by Paul Avery on October 12th 1970.' Therefore it possibly wasn't a surprise when this letter addressed to Paul Avery arrived with the chosen wording "I feel it in my bones, You ache to know my name, And so I'll clue you in.." There are other pointers in the San Francisco Chronicle article, but less convincing, such as where Paul Avery writes 'Homicide detectives who've been hunting Zodiac for nearly two years frankly admit he is as much an enigma now as he was on December 20th 1968, when he chalked up his first two victims.' But whether Zodiac's stylized chalk writing, including the total '4-TEEN' was a direct reply is anybodies guess. The article pointed to how the 'Little List' letter mailed on July 26th 1970 plagiarized two acts of Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado- The Zodiac wrote "peek-a-boo" around the knothole of the tree. The British term for peek-a-boo is peep-bo, and peep-bo is a character in the Mikado. This again is a stretch, we may never know. There are many articles by Paul Avery, but the Halloween Card was the first one personally addressed to the Chronicle reporter, so it may be likely the October 12th article was the trigger.
View October 12th 1970 San Francisco article. Click article once opened to magnify.
See also the comparisons attempted to link this card to the 340 cipher mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle on November 8th 1969. Click here
Two excellent discoveries regarding the Halloween Card can be found on Zodiac Killer Site Forum.
 Found it!! By Fire, By Gun, By Knife, By Rope
The Halloween card was widely assumed to be a direct threat towards Paul Avery, a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle. Paul Avery found links indicating the Zodiac Killer may have been responsible for the murder of Cheri Jo Bates in Riverside on October 30th 1966 and to which the Zodiac either laid claim to, or part indicated his involvement in, by later stating ' I do have to give them credit for stumbling across my riverside activity', when he sent the Los Angeles Times Letter on March 13th 1971, five months after this card was received.
Whether or not the Halloween Card was misinterpreted is open to question, as no threat ever materialized, although Paul Avery took no chances, arming himself at all times around this period with a .38 revolver.
Paul Avery was also heavily involved in the reporting of the kidnap of Patty Hearst (19), a newspaper heiress, taken hostage on February 4th 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army, an urban militant group. She later was to be viewed as a sympathizer for the group, after her involvement in a bank heist along with other SLA members. She was caught on film on the bank's cameras on April 15th 1974 brandishing a M1 Carbine and appearing a willing participant in the crime. She was later jailed for two years, before being pardoned. This did not appear to go unnoticed by the Zodiac Killer, who on Valentines day February 14th 1974 sent another communication to the San Francisco Chronicle, labelled the SLA Letter, after his mention of the Symbionese Liberation Army in a short, seven lined letter, although the Zodiac community is widely split on the authenticity of this correspondence.
It was interesting none the less, as on the Halloween Card envelope, the LAV in Paul Averly is underlined, which when reversed spells VAL, the Old Norse for slay/kill, and tying in with Valentines day, the date of the SLA letter containing the highlighted word "kill", with Paul Avery being instrumental in both, that is, his stories of the Symbionese Liberation Army and the focus of the Zodiac's attention in the Halloween Card itself.