ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Halloween Hoaxes

Updated on October 21, 2011
WARNING! | Source

As October 31 draws closer, tacky websites and e-mail chain letters will start circulating the internet, warning parents to watch out for the dangers of Halloween. While letting your kids run from door to door and eat whatever people give them used to be completely innocent, recent years have seen an increase in watchfulness and fear on the parents' part.

Fortunately, most of these threats have been vastly inflated and are actually nothing to worry about. They are urban legends, which, by definition, are not true. They play on people's fears that bad guys want to harm our little children. These urban legends include, but aren't limited to, the "Poisoned Halloween Candy", and the "Drugged Tattoo". Sometimes schools even catch on, and send warnings home with their students.

How to Spot a Hoax

If you receive an email or wind up on a web-page that warns you about Halloween, you will be able to tell that it isn't true by looking for two details:

1. A typical alarmist warning will probably have some writing that is in all caps. "PLEASE TAKE THIS VERY SERIOUSLY!!!!" or "FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW-- IT MAY JUST SAVE A LIFE!!!!"

2. In the style of an urban legend, the message will not state any specific details- no time, location, or names will be given out. It will merely say something along the lines of "A journalist interviewed a convicted killer, and he said...", or "Police across the country have released warnings about poisoned Halloween candy...". The event may have happened to "An uncle of a friend of a friend", or "A woman who wishes to keep her identity a secret".

A warning about a  Mickey Mouse Tattoo laced with LSD
A warning about a Mickey Mouse Tattoo laced with LSD | Source

The Drugged Tattoo

This legend claims that drug dealers target school children with a rub-on tattoo, usually of a blue star or of Mickey Mouse, that contains LSD that can be absorbed through the skin. Sometimes these tattoos are reported to be laced with rat poison. If you have ever found evidence of any event like this happening, please forward me details on the location, date, and names of victims and police officers involved, because I have never found a documented case of this actually happening. It's just another Halloween hoax!

Poisoned Candy

Another very common urban legend that always resurfaces around this time of the year is of the poisoned candy. Some reclusive, evil neighbor hands out candy tainted with arsenic, razors, tiny screws, or something else that can cause great harm or even death. This is a very common fear among parents, and newspapers and schools often send out warnings about this possibility.

You will probably hear about this myth in some form or another, involving any range of imaginable poisons. However, I do not believe there has been a documented case of this happening, ever. No evil neighbor has knowingly poisoned hoards of children by taking advantage of this holiday.

The only story that is remotely similar to this is of Ronald Clark O'Bryan (a.k.a. The Candyman), of Texas, who intentionally poisoned and killed his son with Halloween candy in order to claim life insurance money in 1974. This man was executed, but the event led to awareness about the possible dangers of trick-or-treating, and several cities implemented Halloween safety programs.

How could anyone want to hurt a trick-or-treater as cute as this?
How could anyone want to hurt a trick-or-treater as cute as this? | Source

Halloween Safety Tips

1. Check all of your children's candy before eating. Throw away anything with a broken or distressed wrapper. Don't eat anything that isn't store-wrapped (eg. homemade cookies, popcorn balls, etc.)

2. Don't let your kids trick-or-treat alone, and don't stay out after most other people have finished trick-or-treating.

3. Sometimes local hospitals offer to x-ray your candy to screen it for foreign objects, so you may want to take advantage of this.

4. Tell you children that if anything tastes funny, they should spit it out and save it in case you end up needing evidence.


Of course, I've not advocating that you don't take any precautions, but I think you should think carefully before becoming alarmed, spreading the message, or spoiling the fun of this holiday for the children. Year after year, stories like these will continue to surface, but unless there is concrete evidence that someone in your area was charged with a crime targeting random trick-or-treaters, I wouldn't worry.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • stephaniedas profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Das 

      7 years ago from Miami, US

      Yes, you should never attempt to pet or feed trolls. :)

      And I remember hearing these things when I was little, and asking my parents to check my Halloween candy. It probably was a smart thing to do, as long as people understand that the threat is very, very minimal. Thanks for commenting.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Of all the advice I saw here, and there was alot of good advice, I found the don't pet the troll to be my favorite. :)

      I remember so many of these things being spread around when I had kids. it's good to know the truth from the false. Great hub!

    • stephaniedas profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Das 

      7 years ago from Miami, US

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Nexusx2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Great article


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)