Jessica Vieira | Opinion Editor
Growing up, everyone’s heard at some point that Halloween candy could have razor blades hidden in it, or they could be poisoned with cyanide or rat poison and be given out to kids on Halloween night. I’ve even been warned against buying candies at grocery stores because of a rumor spreading that people are lacing candies with drugs. I went home one weekend, and was warned against THC laced skittles, and was told to “not buy them until this is all sorted out,” like there’s a huge conspiracy of high teens breaking into shipping facilities and switching out popular candies with ones that they’ve drugged.
There was a string of murders linked to poisoned Tylenol in the 80’s. The result of these crimes was the introduction of child-proof lids on medicine. There was an incident in the 70’s of a father giving five poisoned Pixie Stix to five kids, including his own child. His child was the only one that ate the candy and was killed. In the 60’s there was even a woman that gave out rat poison and dog treats to kids on Halloween. No one was killed, but she was arrested. The modern fear that people are giving out poison, edibles, razor blades, or otherwise tampered-with Halloween candy is greatly exaggerated. So why are rumors that drugged candies will inevitably find your kids so prevalent?
People are so scared of drugs because of the ‘war on drugs’ that politicians have been fighting for decades. You can't talk about the 'war on drugs' without talking about racism because the two are inextricably linked. Every time it's been brought up, there's an underlying theme that the culprits of these crimes are violent "thugs.” There's an unspoken understanding between every warning given about this candy that the people in possession of these drug-laced candies are people of color. The criminalization of marijuana and drugs disproportionately targets black and brown communities, even though the rates of drug and marijuana use are very similar in white communities. You could argue that, even though it might be unconscious, or internalized, part of the reason that so many rumors are being spread between white parents and the reason that it's such a hot topic in white communities that there are drugged candies just being given out is because of a kind of racism. It’s an excuse to talk about marginalized communities in such a light that paints them as these horrible drug-loving criminals, and it's an excuse to further criminalize people of color.
Kids are not being handed edibles when they go trick or treating. You can’t buy laced skittles at your local Target. It’s easy to believe that there are horrible people in the world that like to drug kids for fun, but before spreading fear, why don’t we investigate things a little more critically? When most violent crimes are committed, en masse, the perpetrator has access to seeing the crime through, and its effects. It’s hard to think about because of the brutality of it, but it would be extremely out of character for a serial killer to give people something that would do the job for them and send them off so that they won’t be able to see the job done.
So, check your candy if it’ll make you feel safer, but the likelihood that anything would happen is little to none.