How Americans Became Convinced Their Halloween Candy was Poisoned

Rumors of tainted, poisoned or otherwise murderous Halloween candy handed out to unsuspecting youngsters are as much a part of the Halloween tradition as costumes and sing-song pleas for sweets. The myth goes like this—no kid is safe on October 31 because psychotic murderers may hand out tainted treats to trick-or-treating children.

But is poisoned Halloween candy a terrifying threat or an urban legend?

“Many, if not most, reports of Halloween sadism are of questionable authenticity,” write sociologists and criminal justice experts Joel Best and Gerald T. Horiuchi.

When they conducted an extensive study on so-called “Halloween sadism,”

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