Every few years, a rumour gets started around Halloween that parents should be worried about their kids receiving tainted candy from their neighbours while trick-or-treating.
My parents used to be concerned about razor blades. Growing up in a post 9-11 world, the worry of candy being laced with anthrax was palpable.
Neither of those things ever happened. To anyone. They’re pure urban legends. Pure bullshit.
The whole “poisoned Halloween candy” rumour can be traced back to a story from 1964 when a 47-year-old housewife in Long Island, New York, gave children treats containing arsenic.
The woman, who was later committed to a hospital, claimed she did it as a way to punish kids she thought were “too old” to trick-or-treat. She also said she did it as something of a “joke.”
Yeah… not super funny.
There’s also a story from Pasadena, Texas, in 1974, when a father killed his eight-year-old by putting cyanide in Pixy Stix.
But that’s it. No razor blades. No anthrax. And definitely no cases of cannabis edibles being handed out as Halloween candy.
The cannabis edible Halloween scare got its start when a police department in Pennsylvania issued a warning that pranksters may be passing out THC edibles to kids.
Last week, the Johnstown Police Department in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, issued a safety warning to parents, warning them to be vigilant this Halloween, and posted a photo of edibles packaged as Nerd Ropes. “We urge parents to be ever vigilant in checking their children’s candy before allowing them to consume those treats,” the post said. “Drug-laced edibles are package [sic] like regular candy and may be hard to distinguish from the real candy.”
However, and this is crucial, no one in the local media covering the bust made any mention that there was ever any evidence which would indicate that the candy was intended for distribution to children — on Halloween or otherwise.
Moreover, when asked on the subject of the candy possibly being distributed to children, Captain Chad Miller of the Johnstown Police Department told Rolling Stone there was “absolutely no evidence” that the edibles were intended for distribution for trick-or-treaters.
More likely, because cannabis is still illegal in Pennsylvania, disguising the edibles as Nerd Ropes was a way to avoid detection by the authorities.
However, that hasn’t stopped irresponsible stories from being published, mostly by right-leaning outlets (like this lazily penned bullshit from the Toronto Sun) warning parents that children receiving THC edibles whilst trick-or-treating is a legitimate threat.
Articles such as these, which are bullshit, claim that because cannabis edibles look so much like regular candy, that it will be easy for people to confuse them with regular candy and hand them out to children. And because cannabis edibles come in such fun and tantalizing colours, they won’t be able to resist eating them.
Let’s start by addressing this bullshit with some logic:
First, let’s just say you could confuse your cannabis edibles with regular candy. Why would you ever mix it in or keep it anywhere near the candy you hand out to trick-or-treaters? I’m pretty sure you’re not keeping one next to the other, much less mixing them together.
That’s like mixing in condoms with balloons for a kid’s birthday party. Sure, they kind of look alike, but you’re not exactly keeping them in the same drawer.
Second, cannabis-infused candies aren’t individually wrapped. They come in a sealed packet.
And nobody, ever, is going to (even accidently) give away an entire sealed packet of cannabis edibles.
The most obvious reason is that they’re not cheap. They usually run between $10 and $20 for a pack of six. You don’t just toss those away willy-nilly.
These packets also come with a very obvious and bold THC warning logo (you know, just in case you’re ever unsure which package is cannabis edibles and which is a KitKat).
Lastly, they just don’t really look like children’s candy. In fact, states with legal cannabis such as Colorado and Washington have laws which ban any edibles shaped like animals, fruits, humans or any other child-friendly or familiar shapes (although I don’t know what weirdo kid really loves eating human-shaped candy).
So sealed packets, totally out of the question.
Which means… are these bullshit articles suggesting people at Halloween are just handing out loose candy? Who just hands out loose candy? Who just lets their kids eat loose candy? I wouldn’t let my kid eat any loose candy. From anyone. Ever. Cannabis-infused or not.
And I certainly wouldn’t get confused and think it was OK to hand out loose candy. When is the last time houses handed out anything besides branded fun size chocolate bars at Halloween? Isn’t that how it goes down? You buy a big box of fun sizes from the grocery store and chuck them at kids ringing your doorbell until it finally stops?
Who pours out their box of individually wrapped, fun-size chocolate bars into a bowl and then thinks, “You know what this needs? Loose candies.”
Stories like these have always been bullshit fear mongering. And cannabis has always been an easy target — demonized for the better part of a century.
And nobody wants to party with them. Or trick-or-treat at their house.