Any parent sending their children out on Halloween night to trick-or-treat has the thought of tainted candy sitting in the back of their mind. Will some strange and deranged dirt-bag drop poisoned candy into my kid's bag in order to cause them harm?
We have all heard the story of "The Candy Man", a sick individual who goes out of his way to poison the candy he hands out to random children, in some sort of sick and twisted murder lottery, but how true is the story?
On Halloween night 1974, in Texas, eight-year-old Timothy O'Byran died after eating a pixie stick that had been laced with potassium cyanide. The investigation caused an uproar in his Texas town, everyone worried that there was a psychopath among them. Unfortunately, the truth was far more disturbing. Timothy's father Ronald Clark O'Bryan was eventually found guilty of poisoning his own son in order to collect on a life insurance policy.
In an effort to cover his tracks he also gave poisoned pixie sticks to his daughter and the two other children that they had gone trick-or-treating with, luckily none of those kids ended up eating the candy. In 1984, Ronald Clark O'Bryan was executed for the premeditated murder of his own child. He is literally the starting point for the urban legend of "Candy Man".
This now begs the question, has there ever been a case of random strangers attempting to kill children with tainted Halloween candy? To date there has been no such case every recorded in North America, in fact of all the deaths attributed to poisoned Halloween candy, every victim had been specifically targeted by a member of their own family.
As parents you should always check your children's candy anyways. There may not be a chance that any has been poisoned, but there are sick people out there, and some have altered candy in other ways.
Since 1959, there have been roughly 80 reports of people finding sharp objects inserted into Halloween candy, specifically razor blades and sewing needles. No one has ever died from one of this situations, in fact the worst case scenario ever reported was that of a child needing to get stitches inside their mouth.
Have fun this Halloween. Be safe, make sure your kids know how to look after themselves, and be a responsible parent - check the candy when they get home. Don't worry too much though, Halloween is not nearly as dangerous as we have made it out to be in recent decades.