We have Halloween memories of dressing up as our favorite cartoon character (which, if you were my age involved wearing an uncomfortable plastic mask held on by a flesh digging elastic band and a cheap plastic smock that had the named of the character printed on it. Not that it mattered, since you had to wear your jacket over it anyway since it was too cold.)
But I think a lot of us will remember not being allowed to accept anything unwrapped or homemade. And most important, not to eat any candy until it had been inspected by our parents.
It seems their were people poisoning candy, sticking razor blades in apples, replacing M&Ms with generic “W&Ws”.
It got so bad that local hospitals starting offering to X-Ray candy to make sure it was okay. I think the radiated Milky Way bar tasted better anyway.
What kind of sick people would want to poison innocent children? None. It was all a myth. It never happened. There was never a recorded case of a child being poisoned or hurt by candy given them to Halloween.
So how did this horrible lie to ruin the day for children start? The local news of course. Local news has one way to get you to watch, by scaring you. Next time you’re watching Modern Family on your DVR, stop fast forwarding for when the advertisement comes up for the news at 11. The ad will only be a few seconds long, but it’ll be quick enough to convince you it could be a matter of life or death to watch.
“What local town could have poison water,” they might tease, or maybe, “How can you tell if your neighbor is really the ghost of Bin Laden.”
In that aspect the local news has not changed much. What better way to scare you then by telling you that your children will die by doing something they love to do.
But there was a small amount of truth in the story. In 1974 a boy was poisoned by eating a Pixy Stick laced with cyanide. At first it was thought it came from Trick-or-Treating, but the truth is it came from the boy’s own father.
It wasn’t until 2000 that a case of needles in candy actually happened. That year a man, probably inspired by the lies being spread by parents about tampered candy, put needles in Snickers bars. But even then the injuries were so minor that not a single can had to go to the doctor. It wasn’t disclosed if it made the Snickers bar taste any less nasty.
The point is the odds of being hurt by Halloween candy, your probably more likely to have a heart attack worrying about it than actually getting a minor boo-boo from a Snickers bar. I’d rather eat a razor blade than a Candy Corn anyway.
Have fun this Halloween. Eat some candy, watch some scary movies, and please don’t spray me with shaving cream as I just shaved and it would be a waste.