The Hoax That Won't Die: THC-Tainted Halloween Candy Is Never a Thing
From razor blades in apples to cannabis in the candy bags, the annual rumor never stops.
Anyone spreading — or, worse, being duped by — the annual Halloween warnings about THC-laced treats being handed out to kids clearly has no idea how much a good edible costs.
That’s what one sociology professor, Joel Best, who has studied the topic of these baseless legends since 1983, says. He told the New York Times that he’s found no actual evidence of it happening, despite the headlines and warnings pushed out every year.
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That’s one spendy trick
Take a look around any dispensary, and things like a 500-milligram bag of THC-infused cheese snacks, which look deceptively like Cheetos, costs at least $15 a bag. Fake Sour Patch Kids candies that will get you high are at least $20. And good gummies can go for as much as $50 for 10 individually wrapped candies.
There aren’t many people who will give away that kind of treat for a trick.
Still, the DEA, local police departments, and news organizations put out their warnings year after year. This month alone, the State Attorneys General in New York, Connecticut, and Illinois have all cautioned their constituents about lookalike cannabis-infused goodies that could potentially find their way to your kids' Halloween bags.
Cannabis is legal in all of those states, but warning parents that people will part with their cannabis edibles as a trick goes directly against their acceptance of marijuana as legit. Still, this kind of messaging proliferates this time of year.
“As Halloween gets closer, @BensalemPolice are warning parents to LOOK at your child's candy before they eat it,” one Philadelphia reporter recently Tweeted. “They confiscated these snacks that look a lot like the real thing. All are laced with THC."
Blame the 70s, man
The New York Times traced back one of their own headlines about a dentist who laced candies with laxatives in 1959, which is when the whole tainted Halloween candy story could have originated. But it wasn’t until the early 1970s where it really got popular.
For anyone of a certain age, it’s hard to forget stories about razors in apples and needles in your Three Musketeers. Parents would carefully inspect Reese’s peanut butter cup wrappers for any rips, holes, and tears — or so they had the littles believe. (Kids: It’s always a ruse to get the candy! Moms and dads know how to ‘trick’, too.)
Still, since then, there’s almost always a blip about how one kid died from eating something from his candy bag in some part of the country. But these are almost always found to be hoaxes, says Best. While some children have died around Halloween, it’s not directly because of candy they unsuspectedly ate from their pillowcases, plastic pumpkins, or bags.
“I can’t find any evidence of any child being killed or seriously hurt by a contaminated treat picked up in the course of trick-or-treating,” he told the Times.
The best advice for Halloween trickery: Save the hearsay for the rumormill and enjoy the season. And if you simply just can't relax about the unfounded reports, there are plenty of adult-only watermelon candies out there that can help.