Candy tampering on Halloween?

Is trick-or-treating dangerous now, with the threat of poisoned candy from all of the real-life monsters out there? That is the impression of many parents. Actually, though, all that talk of poisoned treats is an urban legend. It’s not true. Needles and razor blades in apples, though, have been found, though very rarely.

I know what some of you are thinking: But that happened to a friend of a friend of mine! But such second-degree sourcing is a mark of an urban legend. Nevertheless, I do think parents need to be cautious. As we literary scholars know, myths and legends often have a true theme: In this case, the legend speaks of the truth that there really are evil people in the world who are eager to harm children.

By the way, the website Snopes.com, which tracks urban legends, is an invaluable resource. Pastors need to consult it frequently, since sermons are a major way that urban legends circulate. That and the internet.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr Luther from Lutherama

    If only more people would use Snopes before forwarding, my inbox would be much easier to handle.

  • http://thebookbeast.blogspot.com Darren

    I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve directed to Snopes. Homeschoolers (the people I deal with through my work most often) tend to be way too gullible.

  • Anita Wright

    I love snopes and often respond back with info from there to the people who litter me with forwards.
    I wish my folks had had it. I still remember having to wait for my parents to inspect all our candy before we could feast. Sort of takes some of the joy out of it when you have the worry that it’s been poisoned.


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