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The Urban Legend of Poisoned Halloween Candy

By: Nicole

Never take candy from a stranger: We’ve heard this classic cautionary saying all too many times – but where exactly did the phrase originate? Well, it actually dates back to the Industrial Revolution, when food pro

duction began expanding outside of your neighbor’s kitchen and into large-scale factories. If a child became ill, it would be automatically attributed to candy - the evil, addictingly

sugary infection that was targeting kids everywhere. It was a time of societal turmoil, and all the socioeconomic changes happening during this period did not help ease the widespread untrust plaguing neighborhoods as Halloween was approaching. Thus began the rise of trick-or-treating “alternatives”, and the myth of candy tampering.

While there have been incidents (notably, the 1959 dentist that handed out laxative pills disguised as candy for trick-or-treaters), very few of them qualified as attempts to harm children on the premise of the Halloween holiday. A lot of them were either misattributed or misrepresented in the media, and the news, along with word-of-mouth, intensified this mass hysteria. It got to a point where in 1985, a poll showed that 60% of parents worried their children would be harmed from consuming poisoned Halloween candy.

Today, these fears have now faded into obscurity for the most part. But if you had any apprehension when it came to the safety of Halloween candy before reading this article, you can now be rest assured that your chances of being poisoned by it are pretty close to zero. So go ahead and enjoy your sweet treats without worry!

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