Stories of tainted Halloween candy being handed out to children have circulated at this time of year for decades, but the fear is more urban legend than reality.
A report on the website howstuffworks.com states that until 2000, there hadn’t been a single proven incident in which a child was injured by Halloween candy from a stranger.
However, that year James Joseph Smith of Minneapolis was charged with one count of adulterating a substance with intent to cause death, harm or illness after he put needles into candy bars and handed them out. One child was pricked with a needle when he bit into a candy bar, but neither he nor any other children were seriously injured.
Still, Mankato Department of Public Safety Commander Dan Schisel said it’s a good idea for parents to look over their kids’ haul before letting them dig in and, “If there is anything in there that is not wrapped just discard that, throw that out.”
In the unlikely event that a treat is found that looks suspicious, Schisel said parents can, “Certainly call 911 and we can come and take a look at it and find out there area they were in and determine, ‘Was is suspicious or is it just a deformity in that piece of candy or something like that?'”