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.