Most parents spend just about every single day reminding their kids not to take candy from strangers, but once a year that rule goes out of the window, as they take actively take their little horrors from door to door to encourage just that. And just as reliably as Halloween comes around itself, so too do the scare stories of strangers just waiting to kill their kids with poisoned candy.
Well this year's iteration of the killer-stranger has taken things to a new high, so to speak. The New Jersey Department of Health put out a warning that people may be waiting to sneak weed edibles, disguised as sweets, into children's candy buckets.
This was repeated by officials in Pennsylvania and Oregon and subsequently picked up by local media, but needless to say, the internet wasn't convinced. Or, for that matter, very sympathetic. So we'll start with the original tweet from a news anchor in Oregon:
Okay I'll give her the fact that these pot gummies look similar to normal gummy sweets, so you can kind of see how this prospect could be scary to parents unwilling to let their eight-year-olds get high. But fortunately, Twitter got involved to remind everyone of a few important facts.
Firstly, there were the practical economists, who pointed out that weed is expensive, and candy is not. And that no self-respecting adult is going to be spending that kind of money on anyone but themselves, much less a child that's not their own.
Then, there were the people already familiar with the idea of Halloween scaremongering, and not quite buying into the panic. After all, the weed terror is the latest in a long, long list of Halloween scares and urban legends.
These started emerging after a Californian dentist, William Shyne, was charged with handing out candy covered laxatives to children back in 1959. Since then, newspapers had periodically given out warnings, always unsubstantiated, of drug laced sweets and dastardly plans. More recent scare stories of choice have also included candy apples with razors hidden inside and sweets mixed with ecstasy.
Then, there were the people that just really wanted in on the act, of course:
Pro-legalization groups have criticized authorities for even putting out the warning, citing the fact that there is no evidence of this ever having actually happened before. The only link drawn attention to was the case of a 10-year-old boy who was taken ill after consuming weed edibles, but he'd actually found them in his parents' car, rather than them being gleefully handed out by a sinister a stranger.
At the end of the day, no matter how much the internet stoners protest their innocence, this is likely to be a rumor that pops up year after year, given the fact that some states are legalized and some are not. And on the brighter side, if you ever needed an excuse to "taste test" your kid's candy, here's your chance.