TIL that there has never been a documented case of a stranger intentionally poisoning a trick-or-treater by tampering with candy; the closest case was Ronald Clark O’Bryan, who laced his own child’s candy with cyanide, as part of a scheme to claim life insurance

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/where-did-the-fear-of-poisoned-halloween-candy-come-from-822302/

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  1. More on the origin of the urban legend

    >On Halloween, 1974, an 8-year-old boy named Timothy O’Bryan died. His candy had, indeed, been poisoned. A few days prior, his father, Ronald Clark O’Bryan, took out a $40,000 life insurance policy on Timothy and Timothy’s sister, Elizabeth (then age 5), as an unimaginable way to get out of debt. The only way to collect required that at least one of his children die, so the elder O’Bryan laced some Pixy Stix with cyanide and cajoled his son into eating one before bed.
    >As murder would negate the insurance policy, the father had to cover his tracks. Already showing a wanton disregard for the lives of others—children, at that—he decided to potentially kill a few. He distributed some of the tainted candy to at least four other children (including his daughter), according to the Houston Chronicle, setting up the story that a neighborhood madman or demented factory worker had caused the tragic death of his son. Fortunately, he was unsuccessful. None of the other children ended up eating the poison, in part due to a quick reaction from authorities and in part due to dumb luck—an 11-year-old tried to eat the sugar in the Pixy Stix he received, but could not undo the staples that O’Bryan had used to reseal the package.
    >As tragic as this story is, it is the only known example of a person intentionally poisoning Halloween candy and providing it to neighborhood trick-or-treaters. And Ronald Clark O’Bryan won’t be poisoning any more candy—the state of Texas executed him in 1984.

  2. Plus I’m pretty sure the average razor blade is considerably wider than the average piece of Halloween candy (and of course I wouldn’t *dare* besmirch the good name of that one house that always gives out full-sized candy bars with even the *suggestion* of deleterious conduct).

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