Ray Orozco inspects candy October 31, 2001 picked up by his children and other trick or treaters Halloween night in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
You know the story: poor trick-or-treaters around the country return home Halloween night with razors in their licorice and poison in their Pixy Stix. If it wasn’t for their parents’ careful inspection, they could have been sick – or worse, they could have died.
Or so we thought.
It turns out that the old poison-in-the-candy story is nothing more than a myth.
“Fortunately, it’s an urban legend,” said Lee Cantrell, director of the California Poison Control System - San Diego Division at UC San Diego Medical Center.
The only reported incident of an individual intentionally poisoning a child occurred in 1974 when a father in Texas planted poison in his son’s candy to claim life insurance money, Cantrell said.
There were no other reports of random or intentional poisoning since that incident.
“Could it happen? I guess it could, but if there was poison on a candy – you probably wouldn’t be able to see it,” Cantrell said.
What parents should watch out for, he said, is candy that may have fallen out of its packaging, which would expose it to germs.
Otherwise, it’s not worth the scare – even if it is Halloween.