It’s the urban legend that just won’t die.
Every year at the end of October, silly warnings flood the news media. Police insist this year the threat is real: Boogiemen across the country will flood children’s Halloween candy with poison, razor blades, glass, and all manner of deadly instruments.
Yet it has never happened, not once. The closest case involved a man who gave poisoned candy to all his children so he could kill one of them and blame it on an anonymous psychopath. The father was the only psychopath involved.
It didn’t come true this year, either, when police from coast to coast warned parents to be on the lookout for candy laced with THC. Marijuana candy, the cops said, would easily be mistaken for real candy and dropped in Halloween buckets.
Why would anyone do it?
Why anyone would believe such nonsense is a mystery. As a police detective in Washington pointed out, stoners just aren’t the kind of people to do that. We’re relaxed and harmless, not violent and malicious.
“It’s too expensive, hard to get, and users of these products are pretty laid back and not generally terrifying in nature,” said Pierce County Sheriff’s Detective Ed Troyer.
And really, there isn’t much of anyone anywhere who would bother to poison a bunch of schoolchildren at random. Serial killers like to see their work up close, and most poisonings target specific people rather than the general public.
Cop blames medical marijuana
Most of the melodrama was part of a nationwide police push to recriminalize marijuana in places where it’s legal. More than one local cop was quoted saying the supposed threat was a result of cannabis reforms.
“It’s just another area where we have to be really vigilant from now into the foreseeable future so we don’t have a problem,” said Greenwood, Col., Police Chief John Jackson. “Now, you’re not just looking for razor blades anymore.”
But The Washington Post reported that American children were more likely to catch Ebola than find pot-poisoned treats in their candy piles Halloween night. Given that less than half a dozen people have been diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, that’s saying something.
In Denver, where weed is legal under state law, the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center and local police reported not a single incident of weed-infused Halloween candy handed out to kids – not intentionally and not accidentally.
It’s astonishing how persistent this urban legend is, given how thoroughly experts have debunked it. Halloween is probably the most dangerous night of the year for youths, but that’s only because there are more drunk drivers and more kids on the street than at any other time of year. Poisoned candy has nothing to do with it.