Anyone remember the "Great Candy Scare"?

As a kid growing up in the early 80s, I remember lots of rumors of people sticking needles or drugs into candy. I even remember taking my Halloween candy to the hospital to get X-Rayed. The reason I bring this up was I found this article from 1982, which shows they just weren’t urban legends. Anyone remember this brief lived tainted candy scare?

I’m certain Snopes has an article on the subject.

(I was born in '82, so no personal memories there. Though it may serve as one reason why my parents didn’t let us trick or treat).

Here’s what Snopes says:

Yup. I remember getting my candy xrayed every year. My mom started doing it after I bit into an apple someone had given me and a razor blade got caught between my teeth.

That article says that there were multiple *claims *of tainted candy, not that there were, in fact, actual tainted by strangers candies found. As the snopes article says, it’s human nature to remember that the alarm was sounded, but to forget that it turned out to be a false alarm.

We were all certain it was happening *because *it was reported on so much. But when it was actually investigated, only one or two creepers actually did it, and it was always to try to hurt or kill a child they already knew, in their own family, or they “ate” the “tainted” candy that they tainted themselves to ride the media wave (like the woman in the article you linked who supposedly swallowed a needle).

It dates back a while before '82. That’s when I graduated high school and I remember that idiocy from ten years earlier when I was trick or treating.

Very true. In fact the two cases of family members who poisoned their own kids’ candy that I’m aware of were in the 70’s. They used this urban legend as a cover, so it must have been around before then. It experienced a resurgence in the 80’s, thanks to the tainted Tylenol scare, I believe.

My main memory from the Great Poison Candy Scare was one house gave each of us a handful of nuts, saying “Well, because of the poison candy…”

Not peanuts or shelled nuts. But walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, etc all in the shell. So even if I wanted to eat one, I had to get out a nutcracker and then dig out the bit of nutmeat inside. It was a hilariously terrible Halloween hand-out; I think I’d have preferred the religious tracts or mini-toothbrushes or something. Made an impression though at least.

I was born in 1980 and very clearly remember hearing about poison candy or candy with needles in it. Never had it X-Rayed or anything like that, but we always sort of half kinda kept an eye on it. Even today when my daughter goes trick or treating I’ve sorta got an eye on her candy. I don’t think it’s a terrible idea to make sure nothing appears to be opened or tampered with. Of course, if someone poisons the candy they’re handing out, it’s not like they’re going to leave the wrapper half open. But that scare is still pretty firmly engrained in my memory.

Did you hear about the time all those heroin addicts found candy on their needles? Scary…