Cyanide-laced chocolate chews. Bubblegum dipped in gasoline. Halloween is full of dangerous possibilities for ingesting toxic, poisonous, fatal substances, slipped into candy by malicious, evil individuals that want your children to die.
For so many individuals to be terrified about poisoned Halloween candy there would have to be numerous cases of such an event, right? Maybe a friend, or a friend of a friend, knows someone that knew someone that had a neighbor that was killed by rat poison mixed with their cotton candy. That would make sense, because then the person had a direct, or indirect, connection to the incident.
But here’s the truth: Other than one event, which is discussed at the end of the article, there have been no recorded incidents of deliberately poisoned candy during Halloween or any similar occasion.
The key word is “deliberately.” There have been incidents of foreign objects accidentally getting into candy, or people handing out inedible objects, such as gimmick Halloween props that look like candy.
The potential origins of the deliberately poisoned Halloween candy myth:
In 1964, a housewife gave out inedible objects to children whom she believed were too old to be trick-or-treating. The objects were steel wool, ant buttons, dog biscuits, and so forth. All of the objects were clearly labeled as “poison,” not for human consumption. No children were injured, but the woman went to court and pleaded guilty to endangering children.
In 1970, a 5-year-old boy found and ate his uncle’s heroin. The boy died after a four day coma. To protect the uncle, the family claimed the heroin had been sprinkled onto the child’s Halloween candy.
In 2008, Pokemon Valentine’s Day lollipops were found to contain metal shavings and metal blades.
Joel Best, a University of Delaware sociologist, specializes in candy tampering legends. Best researched newspaper stories that detailed events of candy tampering, and Best found that nearly all of the stories were false or hoaxes created by the child.
This is the only case of deliberately poisoned Halloween candy:
In 1974, a father committed premeditated murder by lacing a package of Pixy Stix with cyanide, and then fed them to his 8-year-old son. The father wanted to collect life insurance money from his son’s death. That’s it – no malicious intent to plague the neighborhood with sudden deaths.
So, check the candy, make sure that it’s good, but don’t stress over it. Unless your uncle does heroin, your husband/father is a murderous psycho, or you’re eating some 2008 Pokemon lollipops, you should be fine.