NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — For many, Halloween is one of the best times of the year.
“It’s free candy to them, someone has to pay for it, but it’s free to the kids,” Hendersonville Police Dept. Lt. Jimmy Garrett said. “They get a bucket of candy for free, and they get to eat on it for months.”
When it comes to Halloween, safety is paramount. “We ask all parents and our youth that are going to be out trick-or-treating to include something reflective on your outfit, on your costume,” THP Lt. Bill Miller said.
Lt. Miller added, in 25+ years of working in Hendersonville, he’s personally never seen an attempt to lace or damage candy, though he did mention others in Tennessee may have. It never hurts to do a quick check of your children’s candy at the end of the night. “There are a lot of worries, a lot of fears in parents’ minds about the tainted candy and so forth and so on.”
Halloween candy myths go back to when trick-or-treating really started heating up decades ago and continue, in various forms, even now.
“Almost instantly, there are stories about the dangers of this,” University of Delaware sociology and criminology professor Joel Best said.
University of Delaware sociology and criminology professor, Joel Best, began studying the myths back in the 1980s. “Almost instantly, there are stories about the dangers of this.”
Best said he’s found zero evidence of dangerous substances causing serious injury or death in his nearly 40 years of research. “Halloween is supposed to be scary—We stopped believing in ghosts and goblins, but we believe in criminals.”
Of course, social media hasn’t helped.
“Everybody’s now got a smartphone and a Facebook page,” Best said. “They can take a picture of a pin in a candy bar and post it online.”
And rumors spread like wildfire. It never hurts to be aware. But before you share, just double-check that what you’re sharing has factual basis.
When it comes to drugs in Halloween candy, Best said there isn’t really evidence to support the claim.
“It’s hard to understand the business plan, you know? You’re giving away something that you want to sell for a lot of money, and you’re potentially killing little customers,” he said. “If they do, somehow, get addicted, what are you going to do? Take their milk money? How is this going to work?”
As for the fentanyl found at the Los Angeles Airport last week, Best said that doesn’t really mean that you’ll find that in your kids’ candy bags.
“Having fentanyl in a skittles bag does not mean that you’re planning to pass it out on Halloween,” he said. “It just means that they’re trying to avoid anybody noticing the drugs until they get where they can sell them.”
Note: Fentanyl and other drugs still pose very serious problems, particularly in Tennessee. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact the National Drug Helpline at (844) 289-0879.