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Trick Or Treat? The Poisoned Candy Panic.

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posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 12:30 PM
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HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Unfortunately, there hasn’t been too many paranormal or Halloween appropriate threads on ATS. I usually make a few threads this time of year about a ghost story or two, but I have been extremely busy. I came across an article the other day talking about Trick or Treat safety when it comes to candy. This got me thinking about why we are so paranoid about the candy our children get from Trick or Treat.

I looked up a few sources on the subject and found that there were a few real instances of candy tampering throughout the decades that are the basis for the candy safety hysteria we see today.


In 1959, a California dentist, William Shyne, gave candy-coated laxative pills to trick or treaters. He was charged with outrage of public decency and unlawful dispensing of drugs.

In 1964, an annoyed Long Island, New York woman gave out packages of inedible objects to children who she believed were too old to be trick-or-treating. The packages contained items such as steel wool, dog biscuits, and ant buttons (which were clearly labeled with the word "poison"). Though nobody was injured, she was prosecuted and pleaded guilty to endangering children. The same year saw media reports of lye-filled bubble gum being handed out in Detroit and rat poison being given in Philadelphia, although these media reports were never substantiated to be actual events.

In 1970, Kevin Toston, a 5-year-old boy from the Detroit area, found and ate heroin his uncle had stashed. The boy died following a four-day coma. The family attempted to protect the uncle by claiming the drug had been sprinkled in the child's Halloween candy.

In a 1974 case, Timothy O'Bryan, an 8-year-old boy from Deer Park, Texas, died after eating a cyanide-laced package of Pixy Stix. A subsequent police investigation eventually determined that the poisoned candy had been planted in his trick-or-treat pile by the boy's father, Ronald Clark O'Bryan, who also gave out poisoned candy to other children in an attempt to cover up the murder. The murderer, who had wanted to claim life insurance money, was executed in 1984.

In 1978, Patrick Wiederhold, a two-year-old boy from Flint, Michigan died after eating Halloween candy. However, toxicology tests found no evidence of poison and the death was determined to be due to natural causes.

Chicago Tylenol Murders
The Chicago Tylenol murders were a series of poisoning deaths resulting from drug tampering in the Chicago metropolitan area in 1982. The victims had all taken Tylenol-branded acetaminophen capsules that had been laced with potassium cyanide. A total of seven people died in the original poisonings, with several more deaths in subsequent copycat crimes. This was first reported one month before Halloween in 1982. The incident inspired the pharmaceutical, food, and consumer product industries to develop tamper-resistant packaging, such as induction seals and improved quality control methods. Moreover, product tampering was made a federal crime.

The news media promoted these stories continuously through the 1980’s which in turn spread through word of mouth causing a panic among parents. Much like the “Satanic Panic”, this hysteria was based on unsubstantiated claims or before a full investigation could be completed and often never followed up on. It got so bad that in 1985, a ABC News/Washington Post poll found 60% of parents feared that their children would be injured or killed because of Halloween candy sabotage.

Though the hysteria may not be as bad as the peak in the 1980’s, the candy scare still influences the way we celebrate Trick or Treat. Parents and communities have often restricted trick-or-treating and developed alternative "safe" events. Individually wrapped, brand named candy is promoted while homemade treats are discouraged.

I have three children and yes, I check their candy hauls when we get back to the house. To be honest, it’s more of a reason for me to pick out the candy I want to eat. I do remember, as a child of the 80’s, my parents checking through my candy pretty close. I also remember the rumors that spread among the other kids my age about certain neighborhoods where tainted candy was being handed out.
How many of you remember the “Poisoned Candy Panic”?

edit on 25-10-2017 by jtrenthacker because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 12:38 PM
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I'll tell you what destroyed trick or treating in our neighborhood. The rumor on everyones lips that a razor blade had been found in a candy apple.

It turned out to be just a rumor. We knew the people, they were up the street, always handed out candied apples every year.

It was only rumor, there was never any evidence of this or prosecution.

Too late damage done, the next year the streets were MT.

Here lies Halloween... RIP



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 12:39 PM
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a reply to: jtrenthacker

IMHO, unless you live in Maybery, only an idiot would let their kid wander the neighborhood knocking on doors asking for candy.

Smart people gather with friends they trust and have a party, or let the kids gather at the local church to do the trick or treat in that as a trusted venue.

Other wise you're just asking for trouble.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 12:43 PM
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originally posted by: TonyS
a reply to: jtrenthacker

IMHO, unless you live in Maybery, only an idiot would let their kid wander the neighborhood knocking on doors asking for candy.

Smart people gather with friends they trust and have a party, or let the kids gather at the local church to do the trick or treat in that as a trusted venue.

Other wise you're just asking for trouble.


We've lived in a few different states/cities/towns and never had any trouble. Some were "Mayberry", some were much larger. We did ask around as to what the best neighborhood would be to trick or treat though. I think if you use common sense, you shouldn't have any problems.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 12:46 PM
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The real panic, to be honest, is you taking all the nerds candies before the kids can stake their claim. lol

Haha... JK.

I too am an 80s trick or treater. The one scare in my neighborhood was not the candy... But the anbandoned buildings that harbored drug feins who kidnapped kids. Very scary in those days.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 01:03 PM
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In London you had sick f#cks putting syringes in children's sand pit play areas, you think I would chance my child taking sweets from strangers...

The ironic thing is you tell your kid to never take sweets from strangers as it was always a known way for child molesters to start a interaction but then on one night of the year you allow them to basically fill their boots??!!... Yeah no thanks....

RA



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 01:38 PM
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When I was young the fear was of razor blades in apples. Yes I'm that old. Apples and small fruits were often handed out. Home made popcorn balls were a hit. My mother would pop and pop all day long with us kids filling little bags with fresh popcorn to hand out. Brownies, no not THOSE brownies, were common.

Later as an adult I read that the whole razor blade scare was founded on absolutely noting other than wide spread urban myth.
I have always suspected that all of these ''scares'' have been perpetrated by the Candy Industrial Complex to frighten parents into accepting only pre-packaged treats that they produce.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 01:45 PM
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I haven't seen any Trick or treaters in years. They have a huge party at the elementary school in my village, and I always take my goodies there and drop them off.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 02:13 PM
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A lot of the shopping districts will have trick-or-treat events.

We take our kid up to one of those. Husband has learned that the upscale restaurants are the honey pot. No one thinks to go in and ask the maitre d, but they are prepared to participate too, and they have nice plastic baggies full of stuff + a free meal coupon for a kid.

My office also has a Halloween event every year for children of staff. Every department creates its own little game booth for the kids and it's a competition to see who can create the best one.

So our kid gets a double haul.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 02:48 PM
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a reply to: jtrenthacker


Just a FYI, there are some people that give out really, really old candy. There was a guy that gave out chocolate that was seven years past the due date. When I opened it, it was white/chalky and I looked at the date I was shocked. I'm sure most candy can last a long time but chocolate seem to have a shelf life, so just be on the lookout! I go through everything my kids get.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 03:24 PM
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a reply to: TerryMcGuire

i remember that hysteria from the 80's

i also remember my mom throwing out anything that was made at home.

then we would dump all my # out and she would check all the wrappers for holes and what not.

nothing ever happened

im taking my daughter trick or treating. she is going to be spiderman
ftw



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 09:00 PM
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originally posted by: slider1982
In London you had sick f#cks putting syringes in children's sand pit play areas, you think I would chance my child taking sweets from strangers...

The ironic thing is you tell your kid to never take sweets from strangers as it was always a known way for child molesters to start a interaction but then on one night of the year you allow them to basically fill their boots??!!... Yeah no thanks....

RA


We don't let them go out alone. We usually walk with them from house to house and then they go up to the door themselves. Even back in the 80's when "helicopter parenting" wasn't a thing, my parents used to walk with me from house to house.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 09:02 PM
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originally posted by: TerryMcGuire

I have always suspected that all of these ''scares'' have been perpetrated by the Candy Industrial Complex to frighten parents into accepting only pre-packaged treats that they produce.



That's a great point. I never really thought about it that way, but it makes total sense.



posted on Oct, 25 2017 @ 09:04 PM
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originally posted by: JAGStorm
a reply to: jtrenthacker


Just a FYI, there are some people that give out really, really old candy. There was a guy that gave out chocolate that was seven years past the due date. When I opened it, it was white/chalky and I looked at the date I was shocked. I'm sure most candy can last a long time but chocolate seem to have a shelf life, so just be on the lookout! I go through everything my kids get.



We usually get some old chalky musketeers and milky ways mixed in with the good stuff. Cheap b*stards.



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