Tainted Halloween Candy Reports: 2015

Every year for decades children and adults alike have been hearing and passing along rumors of dangerously tainted Halloween candy: goodies laced with poison, drugs, razor blades, pins, needles, and other sorts of harmful substances randomly distributed to innocent trick-or-treaters by depraved pranksters. While documented cases of such
tampering are rare (and in the case of poison, non-existent), these rumors persist, in part, because every year numerous cases of suspected candy tampering are reported by the news media in the days immediately following Halloween.

Nearly all such cases turn out to be nothing: they're pranks played by children on their parents, siblings, or friends; they're false reports generated by attention-seeking children and adults; they involve material that accidentally, rather than deliberately, ends up in children's goodie bags; or they're examples of coincidence mistaken for causation (e.g., a person eats a piece of candy and shortly afterwards feels ill, then erroneously attributes the illness to tainted Halloween candy). But often no follow-ups are done on such news stories after the initial, unconfirmed reports, leaving the public with the impression that all of them involved genuine cases of tainted candy being distributed to trick-or-treaters. Below we've collected a round-up of such news stories from Halloween 2015, some of which have already proved false:

Razor Blade in Ohio

A couple of days before Halloween, police in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, acknowledged via Facebook that they had received a report of a child's finding a razor blade in a Snicker's bar obtained during early trick-or-treating, an occurrence that appeared to be an isolated incident:

Reynoldsburg officers were called to a house on Kingsley Drive about 9 p.m. on [Oct. 29], after a 14-year-old girl said she bit into a candy bar collected earlier in the evening and found a razor blade. The girl wasn't hurt.

Lt. Shane Mauger described it as a sliver of a blade, the kind that would come out if someone tore apart a disposable razor. He said the sergeant who responded to the home and took the report is a 30-year veteran, and he doesn't think it was a hoax.

Reynoldsburg police said they've found no other evidence of tainted candy.

Needle in Minnesota (HOAX)

Police in Brainerd, Minnesota, reported that a claim about a child's finding a needle in a Three Musketeers bar had proved to be a hoax:

Brainerd Police now say the report of a needle found in a child's Halloween candy was all a trick.

Police said they investigated the report and discovered the child involved lied about having found a sewing needle in a candy bar.

Brainerd Police originally received the report [Halloween] night and posted to their Facebook page the next day, warning other parents who may have let their kids trick-or-treat in the north and northeast parts of the city.

No one was hurt in the trick and residents are free to enjoy Halloween candy.

Razor in Pennsylvania

State police in Pennsylvania fielded a report of a teenage girl's finding a razor in a piece of bubble gum she received during a community event:
State police are investigating after a 16-year-old western Pennsylvania girl who reported finding a razor blade in her Halloween candy was treated for cuts in her mouth.

Trooper Mark McMahan said the girl reported receiving the razor in a piece of bubble gum she received during a community event in the Marion Center area. That is about 60 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The event involved 22 people who registered to hand out Halloween treats out of their vehicles at a school parking lot in East Mahoning Township.

More than 300 children received treats, and nobody else reported that anything was tainted.

No suspects have been identified and no charges have been filed.

Pills in Georgia

Police in St. Marys, Georgia, investigated a report of a couple of candy items that were supposedly laced with medications:
Police are warning parents to check their children's Halloween candy after the discovery of tainted treats laced with medication in St. Marys, Georgia.

Officers were called to a home after a family reported the discovery of two separate candies filled with pills.

The family told police they went Trick-or-Treating at Park Place Apartments and in the Sugarmill area.

One pill found in a candy bar was Risperdal, an anti-psychotic medication, according to police. The other was Loratadine which is an antihistamine.

Pills in California

Police in the California capital of Sacramento handled a report of an 11-year-old girl's finding two whole pills (of unidentified nature) under a Tootsie Roll wrapper:

A Sacramento girl opened a piece of her Halloween candy to find two unmarked, white pills shoved into it.

Mya Ogg, 11, says she enjoys Halloween as much as any kid, but after seeing pills in her candy, she says she no longer wants to go trick-or-treating.

"I was disappointed because the people that are doing it, they don't know how much harm they could do to the kids," she said.

The family has no idea what type of pills were in the candy or whether they are potentially harmful.

The family always does a candy check after Halloween, but it was Mya herself who caught the oddity.

"It looked already opened, so I unwrapped it and I saw the pills," Mya said.

"You can't really even feel it, you can't feel the pills unless you open it to see it's in there," [Mya's sister] said.

"In the last 10 years since we've been an agency, I haven't heard of anything like this happening," said Elk Grove Police Public Information Officer Chris Trim.

Though she's only 11, Mya has a mature understanding of how dangerous this situation could've been.

"I was shocked, I wasn't that much scared, but I was shocked that somebody would do that to endanger a kid's life. And not only me, he could've handed it out to plenty of other kids," Mya said.

Before they try to find out where the pills came from, police will find out what they are.

Sewing Needle in Winnipeg

A woman in the Canadian province of Manitoba reported finding a sewing needle in a candy bar her daughter collected while trick-or-treating:

A Winnipeg mom is warning parents to carefully examine Halloween candy after she found a sewing needle poking out of a small chocolate bar her daughter collected on [Halloween] night.

Jennifer Tichborne said the candy's wrapper looked like it had been tampered with and when her daughter broke the chocolate bar in half, she saw the needle. Its eye still had thread attached.

"I freaked," Tichborne said. "I didn't know what to think of that. I just couldn't believe I was actually looking at it."

Tichborne said she must have missed the candy when she first inspected what her daughter brought home.

She called police to report the incident and officers told her to bring in the chocolate bar along with the needle and make a statement.

Sewing Needles in New Jersey (HOAX)

A Gloucester Township man falsely reported to police that he found four sewing needles in pieces of candy collected via trick-or-treating:
A Gloucester Township man's social-media post about tainted Halloween candy landed him in a sticky situation.

Township police responded to the Blackwood home of Robert Ledrew, 37, after he reported he found four sewing needles in separate pieces of candy after trick-or-treating.

Ledrew, however, posted a photo of a needle and comments of another alleged incident of tampering on Facebook the day before, police said. Upon further investigation, police said, they discovered he fabricated the story and placed the needles in the candy himself.

Ledrew was charged with making a false police report and released pending a court date.

Sharp Metal in New Jersey

A South Jersey woman posted on Facebook about finding a sharp metal object in a Snickers Almond bar collected by her children:
Last updated:   3 November 2015