Do You Really Have to Check Your Kid’s Halloween Candy in New Jersey?
Every October 30th (Toms River kid here), when my brothers and I got home from trick-or-treating my mom would make us go through our bags piece by piece inspecting each candy for holes or ripped packaging.
I grew up thinking that a random stranger might have stuck a needle into my snack-sized Snickers bar or replaced my Sour Patch Kids with edibles. Granted, at that age, I didn't know what edibles were, but you get the picture.
Each year I see posts all over social media warning parents to inspect their children's Halloween candy for drugs and/or needles. They get spread around the internet like wildfire and you see comments claiming that a kid in their neighborhood growing up found needles in their chocolate bar.
But, is there any truth to these stories or are they just old wives' tales trying to generate clicks to websites?
Earlier this year, I stumbled upon a YouTube video that fact-checked some of these claims of strangers poisoning kids via their Halloween candy.
One of the stories they covered was from 1974 when a Texas child died from cyanide in his Pixy Stix. The truth is scarier than the myth that floats around each Halloween.
The cyanide was found in 5 children's Pixy Stix. 8-year-old Timothy O'Bryan ate some of the Pixy Stix, noted it tasted bitter and later died of cyanide poisoning.
The culprit was not a stranger, rather Timothy's own father Ronald O'Bryan poisoned his own son after recently taking a life insurance policy out on his two children.
What about needles or razor blades? Well, this one is a bit more difficult to prove or disprove.
Many times it seems like these were done as pranks, dangerous, but pranks nonetheless. Also, according to the video below, many claims turn out to be false and the needle is placed in the candy just for a social media photo.
Joel Best of the University of Delaware did a study on Halloween candy tampering and came to the conclusion that this is just a myth that circulates each fall. Have there been accidents? Yes. But, not a single case of a stranger murdering a child via Halloween candy was found.
You can watch the full video that I watched here, it's a tad long, but very interesting:
Take a sigh of relief New Jersey, odds are no one is trying to drug your child this Halloween.
Ocean County Trick or Treat Times
Gallery Credit: Sam Elliot
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Gallery Credit: Shawn Michaels