By Justin Wang and Devonna Dang
Stories and warnings of fear for such tampering surged in the late 20th century. However, the general consensus now is that such warnings are generally unfounded upon further reflection and study.
One such misidentification occured right here in San Jose. It was Halloween of 1996 when seven-year-old Ferdinan Siquig collapsed while trick-or-treating. Initial blood and urine sample tests led police to suspected that the culprit was cocaine laced within his Halloween candy.
However, later analysis did not find signs of the cocaine. Despite this, the story was already reported on before the later analysis was conducted. It’s easy to see how stories like these may propagate.
It is important to note, however, that while no death has been attributed to random acts of candy terror; there were two reported cases of death due to the fault of family members.
One was an accident in which a child mistook heroin for candy, and the other was a murder plotted by the child’s uncle for insurance money.
While both are tragic cases, no death has been attributed to candy from strangers and many reported cases of tampering end up being pranks by the child themselves.
Although Halloween candy poisonings exist in the realm of urban myth, tampered trick-or-treat candy have been documented. These cases constitute a different level of tampering than poisoning: it’s an attempt to kill whereas a pin in your candy is an attempt to scare or injure. About eighty cases of sharp objects in food incidents have been reported since 1959, and almost all were hoaxes. Only about ten culminated in even minor injury, and in the worst case, a woman required a few stitches.
Comparatively, a larger danger of Halloween is a kidnapping or abduction. “Freshmen year Halloween, my friends and I went trick-or-treating in this trailer park neighborhood… while we were walking in the more vacant part of the neighborhood my friends told me there was this guy wearing a clown mask and was stalking us,” says junior Kailyn Nguyen.
Car accidents are largely overlooked on Halloween. Because Halloween takes place at night, darkness impairs vision. It should be noted that if you decide to trick-or-treat, make sure that you can be seen at night. If the situation is that you are behind the steering wheel, keep in mind the hyperactive children possibly running around in the nighttime.
A gleaming light in the night time, lanterns, a component to the festivities of Halloween but also a fire hazard. The potential harm of fire could be alleviated by wearing costumes that are made up of one material. The more flimsy and thin your material constitutes, the more likely it is to catch on fire. Different materials react differently to one another, and depending on the materials, the costume could burn faster. ◆