No child has ever been killed by poisoned candy. Ever.

People are not rational when it comes to kids and threats. Every Halloween we hear how kids needs to be careful with Halloween candy, but it turns out that no child has ever been killed by poisoned candy. Ever.  From the WSJ:

Halloween is the day when America market-tests parental paranoia. If a new fear flies on Halloween, it’s probably going to catch on the rest of the year, too.

Take "stranger danger," the classic Halloween horror. Even when I was a kid, back in the "Bewitched" and "Brady Bunch" costume era, parents were already worried about neighbors poisoning candy. Sure, the folks down the street might smile and wave the rest of the year, but apparently they were just biding their time before stuffing us silly with strychnine-laced Smarties.

So stranger danger is still going strong, and it’s even spread beyond Halloween to the rest of the year. Now parents consider their neighbors potential killers all year round. That’s why they don’t let their kids play on the lawn, or wait alone for the school bus: "You never know!" The psycho-next-door fear went viral.

Then along came new fears. Parents are warned annually not to let their children wear costumes that are too tight—those could seriously restrict breathing! But not too loose either—kids could trip! Fall! Die!

Treating parents like idiots who couldn’t possibly notice that their kid is turning blue or falling on his face might seem like a losing proposition, but it caught on too.

We can kill off Halloween, or we can accept that it isn’t dangerous and give it back to the kids. Then maybe we can start giving them back the rest of their childhoods, too.

I see this irrationality nearly every day when I see multiple adults waiting at the bus stops with the kids.  I’m sorry, but McLean, Virginia just isn’t dangerous and neither is Halloween. 

One thought on “No child has ever been killed by poisoned candy. Ever.

  1. Emily

    Classic too-much-information + too-little-information. In our internet world, we hear about every kid kidnapped from the bus stop. But, we have no metric to measure it against. Most folks have no way of understanding the chances of it occurring to their own child. Unlike the poisoned candy (no occurrence) a few children have been abducted while walking to or waiting for the bus. It’s just a tiny percentage.

Comments are closed.