In the Soviet Union, children were taught not to take chewing gum as a gift from foreigners, because they could be poisoned. In the US, all this time, parents go crazy with horror, fearing that on Halloween some maniac will give the child candy with razor blades or drugs. How justified are these fears? American Joel Best conducted his own investigation based on years of statistics.
An American urban legend has it that children can be given a candy trap on Halloween. This causes such widespread fear that for the holiday, many hospitals and police stations across the country are on duty with scanners and x-ray machines. And they offer worried parents to check out the treats the children have collected for free, so as not to worry about this.
Meanwhile, no scanner will be able to determine if a strong drug or drug has been added to the candy. And the risk of getting hit by a car in children running from house to house in the dark is much more real than getting injured or poisoned by candy. According to statistics, on every Halloween, several people across the country get into an accident on that evening and precisely in the festive bustle.
And yet, how big is the chance of running into a maniac? Joel Best summarized all cases from 1959 to the present. For 57 years, there have been 65 incidents from the category of "Halloween sadism" (there is even a special term). He suggested that if everyone was so afraid of candy traps, then each such case would receive wide publicity and be described in detail. And I wasn't wrong. Here's what happened.
For all the time, not a single child died or suffered during the holiday from the malicious actions of some maniac. Most of the incidents attributed to Halloween sadism were domestic injuries from pyrotechnic burns, food poisoning, or crush injuries. At the same time, accidents were not published in the news, and the number of children who were hit by a car that day had to be looked up in the statistics separately.
There have been no more than five cases in history when needles or blade fragments were found in chocolate bars. In none of the cases was the child harmed or even injured. Two cases where someone put incomprehensible pills into chocolate bars. There were no casu alties.
Did we mention that not a single child was harmed by the maniac's actions? Amendment, from the actions of a random maniac.
In 1974, an eight-year-old boy was poisoned with cyanide hidden in a candy. The killer turned out to be the child's own father, who hoped to get insurance for the death of his son and hide the traces of the crime with the help of a legend about an unknown maniac. The killer was convicted and executed.
In 1970, a five-year-old boy died of an overdose of heroin allegedly hidden in a candy. The investigation showed that he found heroin at his home, and his parents tried to come up with something to avoid punishment for drug possession.
Three more deaths of young children in the 80s, 90s, and 2010 were due to food poisoning and staph infections, although these deaths were also initially attributed to unknown poisoners.
Everything. Only 5 deaths in 57 years, and none of them came from candy traps, which parents in the USA are so afraid of. However, such legends in various versions exist all over the world, and our country is no exception.
What you should really do if you are concerned about your child's safety:
Teach kids how to cross streets safely, and best not to let them go alone, especially on crowded days.
Do not eat or let children eat homemade cakes and any other homemade treats received from strangers.
Check the received factory-made treats for the expiration date and the integrity of the package. At the slightest doubt that the product is fresh, or the packaging is damaged in any (any!) way - throw them away without the slightest regret.
Teach your child to trust their feelings. If he doesn't like the taste of the treat for any reason, don't force him to eat it. Even if it's a gift from your own grandmother.