Are the Urban Legends About Sharp Objects Hidden in Halloween Treats True?
For decades there have been stories circulating about kids getting injured or even dying from poisoned candy and Halloween treats containing items like razor blades, pins and needles. Every Halloween parents diligently check the candy that their kids gather during Trick or Treating. Some kids think that their parents just want the chance to go through their candy and pick out the best candy for themselves. However parents really are checking their kids’ candy for potential hazards. Is it really necessary for parents to be so concerned? Does Halloween candy pose a real risk to kids?
Well the chances of Halloween candy containing poison is very small. In all but two cases the reports of deaths from candy poisoning were false. In the two cases where kids did die from poisoning family members were responsible for the deaths. There isn’t one recorded case of a mass candy poisoning that caused kids to become sick or die. However, there are documented cases of items like razor blades, pins and needles being hidden inside candy treats. No one has died from biting into a piece of candy laced with a sharp object although one woman was seriously injured enough that she needed stitches.
Experts think that the majority of the cases where children find sharp objects in their candy are really pranks done by the kids themselves or their parents. After all, Halloween is a holiday for pranks designed to frighten children and parents. In about 75% of the reported cases of sharp objects being hidden in Halloween candy the child was not injured at all and managed to find the sharp object before biting it.
In more of the reported cases the needles, pins and razor blades were hidden in apples and not in-packaged candy. This is one of the reasons why many people stopped giving out apples for Trick or Treat. But it was an unrelated event in 1982 that made parents insist that their kids throw away any apples or homemade treats that they received while Trick or Treating. In 1982 poison was put into random Tylenol bottles by someone intent on causing terror among the population. Seven people died as a result of taking the tainted Tylenol. Parents were worried that the same person who put the poison in the Tylenol would try to poison candy to kill children as well.
These days most people only hand out pre-packaged candy because it’s thought to be safer. Many emergency rooms will X Ray Trick or Treat candy on Halloween and the day after Halloween so that parents can be confident there are no needles, pins or razor blades in the candy their kids collected. But it’s important to remember that in most of the cases where sharp items were found hidden in Halloween treats those items were put there by the child or the child’s family. There are almost no recorded random occurrences of sharp objects hidden in Halloween candy.