Halloween: Fact, Fiction, and Fun!
To get you and your family safely in the Halloween spirit
Poisoned Candy and Razor Blades
It’s simply untrue. Joel Best, professor and chairman of the sociology department of Cal State–Fresno, is considered the best authority on what he calls Halloween sadism. In 1985, he conducted a study of Halloween terrorism—candy laced with poison, razor blades, or pins. He reviewed 76 specific stories and rumors reported from 1958 to 1984 in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, and The Fresno Bee. “We couldn’t find a single case of any child killed or seriously injured from candy contamination,” he said. “The Halloween sadist is an urban myth.” When he did substantiate a story, sadly it turned out that the criminal was an 8-year-old boy’s father, hoping to hide his crime behind the old “razor in the apple” tale.
Does that mean that you should let your children eat anything they’re given from anyone at all? Probably not. Although the odds are that Halloween candy is safe for consumption, you never know when some weirdo is going to resurrect the old tale for his amusement. Sheriff Specialist Lori Hill of the Contra Costa Country Sheriff Department in Danville, California, puts it this way: “This is not a widespread problem, but safety is the better part of valor, so we recommend that children go through their candy with a parent and that only wrapped items or items from family and friends be eaten.”
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