Ever since 1974 when Ronald Clarke O’Brian gave his son Halloween candy that was laced with a fatal dos of poison, everyone has been worried about the possibility of their own child ingesting fatal candy.
It’s easy to understand why parents are fearful. Kids are going door to door and stocking up. Some of the kids will often eat their bounty as they walk from one home to the next. All the kids know is that they are getting a rare, sugary treat. The idea that it could be dangerous doesn’t even cross their minds.
Parents know that while the vast majority of people who answer their door on Halloween night and pass out candy are good and decent people who wouldn’t dream of handing out toxic candy, they also know that that there’s always a chance that their child could cross the path of a dangerous psychopath who doesn’t like kids.
The good news is that there are some steps parents can take to make sure their child only enjoys safe candy this Halloween.
The first thing you need to do is commit yourself to watching your child like a hawk. Don’t assume that just because you told your child that they weren’t allowed to eat the candy until you have a chance to inspect it that they’ll listen. Stay close to your child and make sure they aren’t sneaking treats. This is why it’s good to have a couple of adults accompanying your child while trick-or-treating. The more adult supervision there is, the less likely it is that your child will take advantage of you looking away for a moment and grabbing a piece of candy.
As soon as possible, take a moment to inspect the candy. Commercially wrapped candy bars are great because it’s easy to inspect the packaging for signs of tampering. While broken seals and holes in the package don’t necessarily mean that the person who handed out the candy laced it with something harmful, packaging does occasionally become damaged, the damage does mean you can’t let your child have it.
If the candy’s packaging is damaged, make a note of the address, keep the candy away from your child, and bring the candy to the police for testing. Do not confront the person who passed out the candy.
Another way you can make sure your child enjoys Halloween but doesn’t end up with tainted candy is avoiding the act of going from one strangers door to another. Instead, look for businesses that have collaborated and put together a trunk and treat event for the kids. These events have turned into a wildly popular solution for parents who want minimize the risks connected to trick-or-treating but who also want their kids to enjoy Halloween.
Your third option is to limit your trick-or-treating to the homes of trusted family members and friends who you know will only hand your child candy that’s safe.