As per this Snopes document, reports of children getting poisoned candy at Halloween are, quite simply, false.
Just thought I would mention it when you watch your local TV Newscasters putting on their solemn faces and warning parents to beware…
I would think the biggest danger on Halloween is for kids to be wearing masks they can’t see out of and walk in front of a car - but as far as that evil witch handing out poison apples - rest easy. Besides, what American kid would eat a fuckin’ apple when there are perfectly good Snickers, Reeses, Mounds, Mars and other treats in that bag?
One thing I’ve always wondered about these kinds of legends: why they don’t inspire the very behavior they warn against in some twisted mind. Why HASN’T some street gang decided that it’d be fun to choose their victims by who flashes their headlights to warn them to turn 'em on?
Yesterday on the radio they started talking about Halloween candy safety and I thought “Oh no, not this old urban legend again”, but to my surprise and pleasure the announcer then said that all these fears were based on nothing – there has never been any confirmed case of a child’s Halloween candy being poisoned by a stranger.
According to Snopes there’s been at least one murder case where the killer (the victim’s father) tried to make it look like a stranger candy poisoning. But I think the odds of anyone actually poisoning their Halloween candy and handing it out to kids they don’t know are slim, though. There’s just not much in it for the killer. The type of person who wants to kill a bunch of strangers presumably gets some satisfaction out of actually seeing people die, and with a Halloween candy poisoning the kids might not eat the bad candy until days or weeks later. It might not even be enough to kill them. Similarly, someone who thought it was funny to make a bunch of kids get high would probably want to actually see this happen.
Back in the 1980s there were several real and well-publicized incidents of food and medicine being tampered with, the most infamous being the Extra-Strength Tylenol case. That’s why most packaged food and medicine has tamper-resistant and/or tamper-evident packaging these days.
I’m sure I read, someplace that seemed legit, that there were a few cases of razor blades in apples, but that they were placed by the kid’s own parent. Some kind of Munchausen by proxy or similar twisted misdirection of the psyche. Anybody remember this?
Snopes cites a Sociology professor who’s investigated the legend as saying that there have been actual cases of needles or razor blades in candy, but that these were all the work of other children who apparently got the idea from the urban legend in the first place. Sometimes the kid put the sharp object in his or her own treat and then “found” it, presumably to get attention. There may have been parents who did this too, but it sounds like it’s much more commonly a juvenile prank.
There was apparently one case in 2000 of a grown man sticking needles in candy bars that he gave out on Halloween. Fortunately no one was badly injured.
You may be thinking of a couple of cases where parents used the poisoned Halloween candy legend as a cover for a child’s death. The first Snopes article I linked to describes a case of a boy who did die after eating poisoned candy, but he was deliberately murdered by his own father. There was also a case where a family tried to cover up their young son’s accidental death by heroin overdose (he got into a relative’s stash) by claiming it was a Halloween poisoning.
Last night at my Pizza Hut schtick the manager put out a bowl of candy for the rugrats. Not wanting to make a major production out of it, he just to the dollar store and bought a bunch of cheap generic crap. I got hungry and started fishing around in the bowl and pulled out what appeared to be an appetizing possibility and read the label, which was entirely in Spanish. My eyes immediately honed in on the word ‘cacahuetes’—peanuts. I plucked every last one of them out of the bowl and shoved them to the bottom of the trash can.