Halloween is a holiday beloved by many children, who are eager to go house to house collecting piles of candy that they plan to consume. But for every parent, Halloween is a time of worry about the dangers that can be hiding in the candy.
The history of poisoned Halloween candy is short. There are very few documented cases of poisoned Halloween candy, and the most famous is from 1974. A young boy died from a cyanide laced Pixy Stix, but it wasn’t one man passing out a bunch of poisoned candy on Halloween. According to Mental Floss, “Although the poisoning initially looked like it might have been the work of a deranged homeowner, the investigation into O’Bryan’s murder soon centered on his father, Ronald Clark O’Bryan.” It was a man who wanted to murder his son. Most Halloween-candy related poisonings aren’t from the candy itself being poisoned, but rather from candy being exposed to drugs, usually accidentally. As scary as these stories are, it shouldn’t be a concern for worried parents.
Another danger about Halloween candy that has circulated is razor blades or needles being put into the candy. According to Snopes, a fact-checking website, roughly 80 cases of this sort of tampering has been reported since 1959, but some turned out to be hoaxes. Out of the ones that were real, no real harm was caused by any of them. According to Mental Floss, the worst that has happened is a cut on the tongue or a finger that may require a few stitches. This is a more realistic fear for parents, but still very few cases of it happening.
Urban myths circulate quickly, and these myths are terrifying, but in most cases untrue and ultimately harmless. Parents tell their children, “Don’t take candy from strangers” their whole lives, so there’s bound to be some anxieties by parents when all their children do for a night is take candy from strangers. Most of these myths, though, do not have any ground as being real concerns. The biggest concern that has happened is children getting stomach aches from gorging on all their candy.
Mental Floss advises kids to simply throw away candy that has already been opened or that may look a little different than normal. Other than that, everyone just should have a happy Halloween!