, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Halloween Sadists Urban Legends 4289

Halloween Sadists Urban Legends

The widely believed rumors that sadistic people frequently prey on children at Halloween by offering them poisoned candy or apples spiked with hidden razor blades or needles have been thoroughly debunked by folklorists, sociologists, and law enforcement officials. Despite broad dissemination of such findings in the academic and popular press, warnings against these so-called Halloween sadists still appear each October, and organized efforts to eliminate trick-or-treat or to submit children’s Halloween treats to X-ray checks continue in many communities.

Sylvia Grider traced some of these anxieties to the 1974 murder of a Texas child by means of cyanide-laced candy put into the boy’s Halloween bag of treats by his own father. Joel Best and Gerald Horiuchi surveyed references to Halloween sadists in four major American newspapers over a period of 27 years and found all such reports either to be unverifiable or else obvious hoaxes. After years of X-raying Halloween bags of treats without finding any dangerous contaminants, and realizing that actual poisons would not be thus revealed anyway, some community leaders in recent years have dropped or scaled back such detection programs.

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