Dangers of Halloween for Children and How to Protect Them

Year after year reports of razor blades in apples, pins and needles in candy and even poison in treats. Are these things to be worried about or are they merely a hoax?

A celebration for the young at heart is targeted each year. Since the 1960s there were reports of such incidents and it has served to make everyone more careful. As some of the incidents clearly look like copycat incidents.

During the 1970s-1980s there were many supposed such incidents, but never any proven incidents of candy poisoning. The razor blade and glass incidents were meant to cause harm but not to kill. Mass hysteria prompted many areas to be more than cautious.


When Did the Candy Tampering Start

In 1964, a woman was prosecuted for endangering the safety of children. The woman was giving out packages to teenagers who were thought to be too old to be trick or treating. Such things as steel wool, ant buttons and dog biscuits were in those packages, according to Wikipedia.

In the 1970s, there were some "hoax" poisonings. A young 5 year old boy was killed by his uncle's stash of heroin. The family frightened with what happened, sprinkled heroin on the Halloween candy. This was later discovered as a hoax according to the Texas Dept of Justice.

In 1974, a 8 year old boy died at the hands of his father. The boy ate from a "pixie stick laced with cyanide. To cover the tracks, the father also gave the same pixie sticks to his daughter and three more trick and treat children. The father was executed 10 years later. (Texas Dept of Justice)

In 2008, there were some lollipops that had metal shavings in them. They were first thought to be from America, but later found to be made in China, according to the Orlando News, 2-14-2008.

Also in 2008 in Canada, some cold medicine was found in candy that was handed out for Halloween. (CBC 11-7-2008)

New York Times Report Incident of Broken Glass in Apples

In on November 2, 1982, the New York Times ran an article, "Halloween Cut After Poison Scare" about many suspected cases of candy tampering. After seven people died from Tylenol being laced with cyanide, the candy industry suffered. The ideal of copy cat deaths were everywhere.

The police were investigating hundreds of supposed cases and reported that this was normal as part of the holiday. A man in New Hampshire was arrested for suspicion of putting broken glass in to apples. All candied apples were removed from shelves and there was much worry in the area according to the above article.

Many areas would not allow trick or treat that year, but eventually things did get better. Fear is a big factor every year. Most of the supposed cases were found to be nothing more than a hoax, but there were some legitimate worries.


The Hysteria Continued Further

As more and more television and radio stations broadcast news of such incidents, parents became more worried. In a poll conducted of parents concerning Halloween, 65 percent of them were worried to let their children trick or treat.

To this day, parents are still worried about their children. As many know, the likelihood of these attacks are slim, but they do happen. So all parents should proceed with caution. It seems the Germans may have the best Halloween traditions with children only trick or treating at business locations.
As children go out this "Trick or Treat" day, keep some of these ideals in mind.


Some Simple Measures to Keep the Children Safe

Soundvision.com offers the following tips for keeping Children safe on Halloween:
  • Trick or treat in known neighborhoods. Knowing all neighbors and friends, is an easy way to keep children safe. Knowing exactly which house is giving what treats will guard the children, hopefully.
  • Make sure an adult is in supervision at all times.
  • Never let the children eat any fruit, as it is easily disguised with drugs, razor blades and pins.
  • Investigate all candies. Before the children eat any candy, look at all the candy to see if it has been opened or looked changed in anyway. Candy with twist ties are the easiest to cause harm with. A completely sealed candy bar is the best.
  • The costume should be with bright colors so that it is easily seen in the night. Dark colors are harder to detect in the late night hours.
  • Let the face mask be easily removable. Especially for smaller children, make the mask easy to remove for proper breathing.


Conclusion on Dangers of Halloween

Halloween is a fun time for all the children. It is a time of parties, a time of merriment and yes a time of jubilance and fun. "Dangers of Halloween" was written to inform, not stop this celebration. It is the desire that every single child enjoy this day for many years to come, but with parents being more cautious. It is sad when a few individuals ruin it for so many. Hopefully, America can forget the year of 1982.


"Poisoned Candy Scare" Wikipedia.com
Halloween Activity Cut After Poison Scare
Halloween Poisonings