No child has ever been killed by poisoned candy

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

No child has ever been killed by poisoned candy, Lenore Skenazy reminds us — ever:

Even when I was a kid, back in the “Bewitched” and “Brady Bunch” costume era, parents were already worried about neighbors poisoning candy. Sure, the folks down the street might smile and wave the rest of the year, but apparently they were just biding their time before stuffing us silly with strychnine-laced Smarties.

That was a wacky idea, but we bought it. We still buy it, even though Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Delaware, has researched the topic and spends every October telling the press that there has never been a single case of any child being killed by a stranger’s Halloween candy. (Oh, yes, he concedes, there was once a Texas boy poisoned by a Pixie Stix. But his dad did it for the insurance money. He was executed.)

Halloween isn’t Halloween any more:

Think of how Halloween used to be the one day of the year when gaggles of kids took to the streets by themselves — at night even. Big fun! Low cost! But once the party moved inside, to keep kids safe from the nonexistent poisoners, in came all the nonsense. The battery-operated caskets. The hired witch. The Costco veggie trays and plastic everything else. Halloween went from hobo holiday to $6 billion extravaganza.


  1. Mysterian says:

    The claim is not true. In Houston Ronald Clark O’Bryan (aka The Candyman) killed his son on Halloween 1974 with a poisoned Giant Pixie Stick. His motive was to gain the insurance money. He got a lethal injection instead (March 31, 1984).

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