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5 Halloween Urban Myths (That Just Aren’t True)
Fear – that’s what Halloween is all about. Ghosts and ghouls. Zombies and vampires. Poisoned candy. Hang on a minute – when did that become your worst trick-or-treating nightmare? Trick-or-treating is supposed to be fun, with a little bit of monster-under-the-bed type scary thrown in. It’s supposed to be a time when nothing in this world (or the next) can stop your child from getting as much sugar in them as inhumanly possible. When did you turn into the paranoid parent who screens your kid’s candy hoard like a TSA agent screens passengers on a flight to New York?

Before you start donning latex gloves to pat-down gummy bears, you might wonder what fuels your fear. Was it that email you got the other week about Al Qaeda’s plot to poison the nation’s candy reserves? Or how about that story you heard from your friend at work, who has it on good authority from his friend’s cousin’s mother’s aunt (twice removed) that Satanists run rampant in your neighborhood and are intent on performing child sacrifices?

Urban myths, like any good lie, contain just enough truth in them to be plausible. Here are a few urban legends you can tick off your nightmare list so you can get a good night’s sleep and worry about more important things, like how you are going to make that princess costume using only contact paper and cotton wool:

  1. The poisoned candy myth. It’s easy to understand how this one got started, but there’s no evidence that a stranger has ever handed out poisoned candy to random children at Halloween. That’s not to say despicable people don’t use trick-or-treating as a diversion to poison their nearest and dearest. The cyanide-laden Pixy Stix tend to stay in the family.
  2. The razor blade in the apple myth. This has actually happened before, but is rare and usually an unthinking teenage prank rather than a vicious plan to kill your child. In fact, nobody has ever died from needle- or razorblade-infused food (to date, the worst injury has required a few stitches). So although it isn’t likely that you’re going to bite into something sharp, you might want to wash any fruit you bring home before eating. Nothing like a dose of E.coli to ruin your Halloween.
  3. The blue star tattoo myth. This is an email perennial, warning of local drug-dealers handing out LSD-infused temporary tattoos, shaped as (you guessed it) blue stars, to grade-schoolers. Seems rather charitable of junkies to give away their drug profits to school children, but anything goes at Halloween.
  4. The strawberry Pop Rocks myth. Keeping with the drug theme, this myth started and spread via email back in 2007. The story goes that another group of kind-hearted drug-dealers are out there handing strawberry-flavored meth to your kids in the schoolyard. And if your innocent gets tired of strawberry, they can always try peanut butter or chocolate-flavored meth instead. Mmmm, peanut butter and strawberry meth-flavored sandwiches, anyone?
  5. The satanic rites myth. There is absolutely no evidence that your child is likely to be abducted, molested, sacrificed to Satan in a wild naked bloodlust ritual, or otherwise tampered with on Halloween more than any other day of the year. And the same goes for your pet cat (black or any other color). In fact, if you talk to any self-respecting Satanist they will tell you they often take Halloween off, since it’s obviously for amateurs.

Really scary things
So what should you be scared of at Halloween – apart from the obvious threat of the zombie apocalypse? One word: traffic. “More kids are hit by cars while trick-or-treating than any other time of the year,” said New Jersey personal injury attorney Richard Console. “Although poisoned candy makes for good evening news teasers, the real danger is in kids crossing streets without checking for traffic, or drivers not watching closely enough for children darting out into the street.”
To protect yourself (and your child), Console suggests:

  • Wear light colored or reflective clothing/costumes. Black is ghoulish, but it’s also hard for drivers to see.
  • Carry around flashlights or glow sticks for added visibility.
  • Make sure costumes are of the appropriate length, to avoid tripping and falling.
  • Decorative contact lenses can look cool, but they can also damage your eyes. Avoid the “one size fits all” lenses found at costume stores and get a prescription set from your optometrist. Buying decorative lenses any other way is both dangerous and illegal.

Being injured is no laughing matter, whether caused by a distracted motorist or by tripping over a Jack O’Lantern, so be careful this Halloween. Have fun, and worry more about speeding vehicles than roving Satanists.

Posted on October 30th, 2011 in
Site News by admin

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