Each year, the Halloween season brings about the yearly discussion of child safety — particularly the topic of trick-or-treating.
An increasingly debated topic is how children should be allowed to trick-or-treat, if at all. The persistent urban myths of “mad poisoners” handing out toxic sweets are turning more parents to shield children from Halloween traditions.
Halloween is a holiday that can be fun for people of all ages, but especially for children. For some Americans, this day has become a strong piece of culture that brings together entire communities.
Checking collected sweets is never going to be a bad decision and parents should continue this practice. However, the threat of poisoned Halloween candy has never actually been present.
According a to fact-checking document published on snopes.com by David Mikkelson, police have never documented a random poisoned candy incident. However, there has been one incident of a father murdering his son with a cyanide-laced pixy stix in 1974. The justice system ultimately determined the father, Ryan Clark O’Bryan, poisoned his son to claim a large sum of money from a life insurance plan.
O’Bryan’s actions were horrific, but they were hardly a random malicious act. He even tried to make it seem that why by distributing poisoned pixy stixs to several other children that were trick-or-treating with his children. By chance, none of the other children consumed the poisoned candy before the plot was discovered.
The fear surrounding the holiday should be expected in our increasingly fearful society. This tradition is just one of the many aspects of our culture that are being twisted into being seen as unrealistic and scary.
People watching over children on Halloween night should still let children trick-or-treat. The holiday has always been a unique and fun time for the community. Children are permitted to break some of many social rules that dictate their everyday life.
For those with lingering concerns, the Center for Disease Control has an official list of precautionary measures for trick-or-treaters to take. The information can be found here.
There is such thing as a healthy amount of concern for child safety, but a unique nationwide tradition shouldn’t be extinguished because of a threat that doesn’t even exist.