Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trick or Treat?

There have been stories about poisoned Halloween candy floating around for a very long time. Parents always warn their kids of the dangers of going to strangers houses to get candy on Halloween. It almost seems obvious with the disturbed people in this world that this could happen. So it is common for children to come home and check their candy and get extremely paranoid when they see that one piece of candy has a wrapper that is a tiny bit undone, or misshapen. When they find pieces like this, they either take their chance and eat it, or they throw it away, parents tend to lean towards the throwing it away option considering theirs plenty of candy to go around anyway.

However, is their really any danger? The media seems to believe so. Every year new reports on TV and radio come out reporting poisoned treats and suggest Halloween parties instead of door to door trick or treating. Until the year 2000, there hadn't been a single proven incident where a child was injured by tainted Halloween candy. In 2000, James Joseph Smith of Minneapolis put needles into candy bars and handed them out. Only one child was pricked with a needle when they bit into the candy bar but no children were seriously injured. One child pricked by a needle in the entire existence of Halloween, maybe enough to leave some uneasy. However, strangers are not who you have to worry about. Of the two confirmed deaths linked to tainted Halloween candy, both were family members who did it. In a 1970 case, family members sprinkled a 5-year-old child's candy with heroin to hide the fact that he'd gotten into his uncle's drug stash. In 1974, a man named Ronald Clark O'Bryan of Houston, Texas, laced his son's candy with cyanide and the child died. Seems like your family is who you can't trust (TLC).

So is there really any danger in Halloween trick or treating? I don't think so. One minor needle prick and two family caused deaths. I'll take my risks. There is almost no danger in letting your child trick or treat and eat candy from strangers. This is not saying that you shouldn't watch them because there are other dangers. However, don't scare your children or family over rumors and claims of poisoned candy because it just simply doesn't happen. Don't worry, let kids be kids, eat candy and have a happy Halloween.


  1. When I read this post it made me think of all the years when I was a young kid trick-or-treating. I grew up in a small town and everyone knew everyone. My parents actually joked abut checking my candy. But nowadays, I feel it is a different story. If I had kids, I probably would be extra cautious and check the candy anyway. But I do feel there are more dangerous things when it comes to trick-or-treating. Kids running out in the middle of the road (especially when its dark) is a big problem. I would worry about that more than the candy.

  2. When I was younger my parents always told me to check my larger candy for razor blades. They said that people would put the blades into the candy and re-wrap it so well that no one could tell that it was ever opened. I think now looking back though that my parents told me this just so they could eat my candy!

  3. I remember the halloween after 9/11 when everyone suddenly thought al-qaeda moved into their neighborhoods and was going to spike the kids candy...