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Bad Candy

Warnings of randomly poisoned or corrupted sweets is the stuff of scarelore...mostly.

Published Oct 11, 2019

Overhead closeup of a bunch of jelly beans and candy corn randomly spread out across the entire frame (Getty Images, stock)
Overhead closeup of a bunch of jelly beans and candy corn randomly spread out across the entire frame (Image Via Getty Images, stock)

Latent fears of deranged psychopaths tampering with kids’ Halloween treats have lingered among us for decades. Almost every year some news report highlights another variation and the legends go around again, leaving sweet trick-or-treating traditions with a sour aftertaste.

And not necessarily without good reason.

Although random candy poisonings are so far urban legends, many actual cases of corrupted confections involving pins, needles, or razor blades have been documented. As have cases of candy tainted with illegal substances (though it’s unclear if the candy was intended for children or just being used as a cover). Then there are the rumors that the manufacturers may be making the candies with unwanted ingredients in the first place.

While true incidents of harm done by candy are few and far between, our fear tends to grow out of proportion. Best way to wash it away? A generous helping of facts. And a good tooth-brushing at night’s end.

Pins and razors and needles in Halloween candy is the subject of this story.
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Bond Huberman is a former editor for Snopes.

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