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No, your Halloween candy is not being poisoned

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Monkey Business Images Incidental Economist’s Aaron Carroll digs through the literature on Halloween candy poisoning to make the case that is completely, truly just an urban myth:

Amazingly, despite the widespread fear of Halloween poisonings, no evidence of a genuine Halloween poisoning can be located. A professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware, Dr. Joel Best, has tried to debunk this myth repeatedly. After scanning major newspapers between 1958 and 1993 for stories about Halloween candy tampering, Dr. Best found nearly 100 stories that he followed up with phone calls to police and hospitals. Of those stories, Dr. Best found absolutely none that could be positively attributed to random Halloween violence. The majority were the result of pranks. The reported incidents usually involved the discovery of contaminated treats, but with no actual injury to the children. When these cases were followed up, even the contamination usually turned out to be a hoax – often one initiated by the children themselves.

That and more myths debunked in Aaron’s book with fellow Indiana University professor Rachel Vreeman, “Don’t Swallow Your Gum.”

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