PHOTO BY LUKE JONES/FLICKR
Halloween is a time for people of all ages to dress up and go door to door for candy, but trick-or-treaters may want to be cautious of hazardous tricks in their Halloween treats this year.
“I do plan on sifting through my kid’s stash this year” said Chris Nazareth, an East Bay parent. “I might not find drugs or needles but you never know for sure if any of that candy is rotten or packaging has been opened somehow.”
Every year there are stories of people finding nails, drugs, razor blades, and pins in their children’s Halloween candy. In 2014, a baggie of methamphetamine was found in an 8-year-old girl’s candy stash in Hercules, according to the East Bay Times. Parents should continue to be cautious of what their children are consuming after trick-or-treating.
Tampering with Halloween candy has a long history. Ronald Clark O’Bryan, nicknamed The Candy Man, of Houston, Texas laced his son’s pixie-stix with cyanide. His son, Timothy, died at 10 p.m. on Halloween of 1974, as a result of eating cyanide-laced Pixie Stix acquired while trick-or-treating. O’Bryan was eventually convicted and executed for murdering his own son.
Candy wrappers can also contain less harmful substances such as laxatives or sleeping pills, but parents should also consider these as hazards.
Unusual appearance or discoloration, small pin holes or tears in wrappers, spoiled or unwrapped items are signs to pay attention to. Homemade items or baked goods should be discarded unless you are aware of who baked them.
“Kids have plenty of allergies and you have to be aware of them,” said Tammy Hong, a pediatric medical assistant at Kaiser. “Benadryl is good to have on hand for allergic reactions. More severe cases that need Epipens may require prescriptions. Try to stay away from homemade Halloween treats.”
Although actual cases of candy being tampered with are rare, allergens are a real danger to some. Homemade treats are not inherently dangerous, but those who bake them may not necessarily consider children’s allergies. Peanut allergies could potentially be life-threatening as well.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is an initiative put forward by the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), where displaying a teal pumpkin on the doorstep signifies that non-food treats are available. These items include things such as glow sticks or small toys. This simple act promotes inclusion for trick-or-treaters with food allergies or other conditions.
For some, even if the potential for danger is minor, the risk may not be worth consuming Halloween treats. Many parents swap out their kid’s candy with candies that they are positive are safe. While actual tampering is rare, allergens are a very real danger and parents should be aware of what treats their children consume this Halloween.