You Probably Won't Get Poisoned From Halloween Candy

Worry about the clowns, not the candy. Here's a short history of poisoned confectionary. 

Halloween! The best holiday — this isn't a discussion!

The funny thing about Halloween is that despite being largely innocuous, the celebration has aroused panic and fear amongst suburbanites for a while. While menacing teens in clown costumes are this year's biggest threat, for a while moms were more worried about poisoned candy than horrifying harlequins.

Jezebel's Bobby Finger investigated the tainted treats trend, finding the patient zero of poisoned confectionary. Back in 1974, an 8-year-old boy named Timothy O'Bryan was maliciously fed contaminated pixie sticks resulting in his death. It was easy to assume that the sugar was provided by an anonymous and malevolent townsperson during the spookiest season.

The truth of the story is more complicated though: many accused O'Bryan's father of setting the whole thing up to collect insurance money, which would make this particular kind of Halloween hysteria little more than a myth.

In fact, O'Bryan was eventually found guilty of murder. Here's how the court characterized the incident: "A more calculated and cold-blooded crime than the one for which appellant was convicted can hardly be imagined. Appellant murdered his child in order to collect life insurance money. The record reflects months of premeditation and planning.”

O'Bryan, who became known as the "Candy Man" in prison was eventually put to death for his crimes.

Since then, actual reports of poisoned candy are basically non-existent despite the local news' warnings. While some cases of Snickers and Reese's bars that cause mouth burning can be found in the deep annals of Halloween history, death by trick-or-treat is, ultimately, not a real thing.

So go out there and get totally high on sugar this year. Ain't no one (except those damn clowns) out there to hurt you.

[Photo: Pexels]

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