The Truth About Poisoned Halloween Candy
- Category: Dad's Dirt Roads: A Blog
- on Thu Oct 31, 2013
- by Mark Stephens on Thu Oct 31, 2013 - (1) Comments
It may be that the only devils out there are the ones in costume. You know how they get when they've had too much candy.
While we all have some quirky neighbors—perhaps our neighbors believe we're the weird ones—it seems that on Halloween night they might not be lacing their candy with lye and rat poison or not even handing out razors and used hypodermic needles. Joel Best is a sociology professor from University of Delaware who's been researching the phenomenally generalized fear of tainted Halloween candy. He's studied news reports as far back as 1958, and though he's found some wild stories, the truth of the matter might surprise you. "No child has ever died or been seriously injured by contaminated Halloween treats," he says.
You can read his 2008 5-page report here (PDF): Halloween Sadism: The Evidence
What about those free x-rays many hospitals provide on Halloween? Parents can exercise some caution by getting the bag of loot x-rayed, which would likely reveal contaminants such as broken glass and razor blades should they have been mixed in. Interesting concept. Do a quick internet search on the topic, and you'll find all kinds of gold. Like this abstract from a Nevada hospital titled "Should We X-ray Halloween Candy?" It argues that though the service has only the highest intentions, it's costly, needlessly disrupts the life-saving business going on in hospitals, and in the end they never find anything that shouldn't be found in a bag of candy.
In her book Free Range Kids, Lenore Skenazy simply concludes about poisoned Halloween candy, "The fear is completely unfounded."
So it stands a chance that folks handing out candy to happy kids in costumes may be doing so just because it's fun. Because kids are fun, candy is fun, dressing up is fun. Imagine that.
With that, because it's so appropriate for Halloween, I'll leave you with a touch of Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote a creepy little poem we've all read as kids about a visitor who came a-knocking on his door :
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me -filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;
This it is and nothing more.
Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven
Have a fun night, y'all . . .