There are so many
aspects of Halloween that provide enjoyment for children on
October 31st. All the wonderful Halloween costumes
that they can dress-up in,
houses adorned with creepy and kooky
going to or having a Halloween party
and of course all that tasty candy!
it, on this one very special night when people willingly give out
candy to just about anyone that shows up at their door. But
is there darker side to receiving these free treats from
Candy - Razor Blades in Apples - Drug Tainted Treats?
While most have been hoaxes, there have been a few real cases of candy tampering
over the years. These rare exceptions have become such an
urban legend ingrained in our society, that many people
believe that this horrible act is actually common
place, even today.
that have been true, have often been a deliberate act of murder or
attempted murder of a child by a family member, such as the
1974 murder of Timothy O'Bryan, an eight year old boy from
Deer Park Texas, who died after eating poisoned candy
purposely given to him by his father, who wanted to collect
on a life insurance policy he had taken out on his own child.
The first case
of purposely tainted candy given out by a stranger on
Halloween may have been that of Helen Pfeil in 1964.
Apparently, this New York resident was so irritated at the
idea of handing out free candy to older kids that she gave
out packages that contained steel wool pads, dog biscuits
and poison ant buttons. While she made it clear that the
treats she was handing out were inedible, she was charged
with child endangerment.
Joel Best, a professor of sociology and criminal justice
at the University of Delaware has conducted extensive
research concerning the belief that poisoned Halloween candy
poses a serious threat to children. In his article,
"Halloween Sadism: The Evidence", he states that he has been
unable to find a substantiated report of a child being
killed or seriously injured by a contaminated treat picked
up in the course of trick-or-treating.
also been a few cases of candy contaminated with such things
as metal shavings, presumably introduced accidentally during the manufacturing
process, although this type of industrial accident is probably no more likely
with candy than it is with
any other food product.
does all this tell us?
With the huge amount of children going
trick-or-treating each year, it is extremely unlikely that
a child would be given candy that has been deliberately
tampered with or that has been accidentally contaminated,
but it is possible. So, some precautions are wise.
children not to eat any treats they collect until they bring them home to be examined by you.
This may be easier said than done. We suggest giving
your child a small starter pack of his or her favorite candy
that can be snacked on while out trick-or-treating,
reducing the temptation of eating treats before they
have been inspected by you.
that is unwrapped, has a torn, incomplete or suspicious wrapper, has
holes in it or is not in its original packaging should be thrown away.
If any candy looks the slight bit suspect, throw it
away, its better to be safe than sorry.
treats should not be consumed unless you actually know and
trust the person who made it. Every year we buy a large
amount of candy to pass out to the droves of costumed
kids. We also make a lot of homemade treats for the
children of friends and family who know us.
child has any food allergies, such as to nuts, be extra vigilant when
checking for candy that may contain them. It is
estimated that up to one half of one percent of people
may have some degree of an allergy to nuts of some type.
hospitals offer free candy
x-raying to look for metal objects. If you want to have
the candy x-rayed, call your local hospital first and
ask if they offer this service. Just remember that
x-rays will not detect chemical contaminants such as