The Halloween Hoaxes Keep Rolling In

Yet more tales of tampered candy are exposed as frauds.


Police warn that the threat of tooth decay is still real.

With all the monsters being Scooby-Dooed into oblivion this month, from those phantom Klansmen in Missouri to that imaginary army of assassins stalking cops, you may have already forgotten the spate of news reports about booby-trapped candy supposedly handed out on Halloween. But having posted a roundup last Wednesday of the tampered-treat hoaxes that had already unraveled at that point, I figure it's worthwhile to share some of the stories that have exploded in the week since then:

• A Fort Worth man has confessed to planting a razor in a rice krispie treat, then telling cops one of his kids received it trick-or-treating.

• A teenager in Salisbury, Maryland, has admitted inventing a story about finding a needle in a Twizzler. The boy says he was only trying to prank his family, and that he did not expect his parents to call the police.

• One of the most widely circulated candy-scare stories this year involved some needles allegedly hidden in candy in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. They were hoaxes, too.

• A Hawaii woman got some attention by sharing a picture of needles she claimed to have found in her kids' loot. This turned out to be a recycled hoax: She had "borrowed" a much-circulated photo of the candy from Kennett Square.

Meanwhile, how many people this year have been nabbed for actually handing out tampered food to trick-or-treaters? Still a big zero.

For yet more candy cons, read my original post here. And for a different sort of holiday hoax, take a look back at the much-touted but entirely fictional "Halloween Revolt" here.

NEXT: How Partisanship Killed the Anti-War Movement

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  1. I see Walker went as Schadenfreude for Halloween this year.

  2. Maybe someday hoaxes like this will have less traction. More and more people are getting hoax exhaustion. So much stuff gets shown to be false so quickly and often that a lot of times I don’t even hear about it until its already been disproven. With the constant 24 hour news cycle it will hopefully get harder and harder to get people excited about this kind of thing.

    1. You’d think, but the appetite for this shit seems endless. Even if people forget about it in five minutes, they still click/watch/read about it. People like to be titillated, even with stuff they know is bullshit. It’s why this stuff never goes away. Also, I heard about this new drug called “jenkem”.

      1. Yeah, a friend of mine was at something called a “rainbow party” lastweekend.

        1. I’m interested in the activity known as “buttchugging”. Have you heard about that?

          1. I would like to attend the new phenomenon known as a “pharm party.

      2. The problem is that these hoaxes aren’t universally understood. Each wave hits a little bit of the public. So even if you only get 50,000 clicks on your click bait headline, reusing just ten stories at each halloween will take a solid generation or more to completely inoculate the populace to the claims.

        Worse, these stories are changing all the time. This year it’s mdma. A few years ago it was the evil mary jane. Someone shared with me last week a story showing how xanax was being put into candy. (The “Why would someone pay like $5 a pill to give fun times to children? Do people think everyone handing out candy is The Joker or some other fictional character who hates money?” was lost on her, sadly.)

    2. Millenials apparently believe anything and love to jump to conclusions, so I highly doubt this sort of hoax is going away.

      1. Not just anything? anything that conforms to their preconceived notions.

  3. In much more important news, communes are back baby!

    Dorms for grownups

    1. I’d be game for something like this. It seems like a good way to build a social group then move to an apartment afterwards.

    2. Worried about the complicated social dynamics of so many Millennials in one living unit? Fear not: Evans and partner John Talarico are hiring a “social engineer” who will facilitate group events and maintain harmony among roommates.

      Never growing up is what it’s all about, comrades.

      1. Yeah that’s the exact spot where I stopped reading the article yesterday. I mean the idea of a sharedish living space isn’t a bad one on its face, but hiring a professional busybody is beyond the pale.

        1. Dude, who’s going to monitor microagressions and make sure that the safe spaces are really safe?

        2. Wait, don’t you *want* someone telling you what to do at all times, and monitoring all your interpersonal interactions, Hugh? What’s wrong with you?

          1. The entire thing is hilarious. This guy has perfectly timed something like this, at a time when young people actually need an environment where all of their social interactions are monitored. The problem is going to come when some of these kids can’t pay the rent and have to be evicted. That should be fun.

            1. Hell, the battles over just doing the dishes will be epic.

              This is worse than a dorm. At least in my dorms, the only area subject to the tragedy of the commons was the bathroom. We didn’t have kitchens – which I bet is going to be the place where most of the friction will happen.

              1. Probably. They should have just hired someone to clean the kitchen instead of a “social engineer”. WOuld have done a lot more to keep things running smoothly.

                1. A lot cheaper too I bet. This guy clearly has not thought this out very well. Put a bunch of overly entitled brats all in the same place, then not only expect them to actually get along, but to remain orderly and financially responsible? Laughable.

                2. No then you get people bitching on behalf of the cleaning staff. “How dare you make work for the cleaning staff” (in response to mild senior pranks) was a pretty common refrain from the upper class students on my college campus. They never did bitch about the mess their parties left in the elevators, though.

      2. “John Talarico are hiring a “social engineer” who will facilitate group events and maintain harmony among roommates.”

        This living space needs a Master like they have in Yale dorms.

        Oh, and you know when I promised not to make any more Master jokes?

        I lied.

    3. Forget communes or co-ops. Millennials, Evans says, want the chance to be alone in their own bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens, but they also want to be social and never lonely (hence #FOMO)

      These bedrooms and kitchens, are otherwise known as ‘safe spaces’.

      Social Engineer dude: ‘Now, Drew you’ve offended Kevin with your insensitive words by asking to watch a film that Kevin is offended. Did you know that Kevin’s best friend’s grandfather is 1/32 Arab and someone used the word ‘camel’ in that film? Kevin, you may go to your safe place now, Drew, no movies for you the rest of the week, and you have to do everyone’s laundry for the rest of the week.’

    4. The Soviet Union tried this from Lenin to Khrushchev.

      The idea was that kitchens were a source of social adhesion and the propagation of political ideas and by forcing people to eat together, it’d foster unity amongst the workers and encourage the propagation of Communist idea by living out Communist ideology. The fact it was cheaper and easier to find housing for workers by retrofitting large apartments that had been owned by the bourgeoisie and easier to police for counterrevolutionary ideas was a bonus.

      Ultimately, it failed. The communal kitchen was a source of friction amongst residents. People would prepare dinner in their rooms, hurry to the kitchen in their time slot, quickly cook the meal, and carry dinner back to their rooms to eat. When Khrushchev came to power, he ordered the building of apartments with individual kitchens.

      1. I never fail to be amazed by the failure of ideas for the most basic misunderstandings.

        If you have a communal kitchen, it only works if someone is preparing the meals for everyone! That’s why college dorms work: The kitchens are run by university staff (And/or volunteers at the dorms) to provide the food. People aren’t making their own meals there, outside of the microwaved ramen/burritos.

  4. The point of these warnings about tampered candy aren’t so much to scare parents, but to get the kids to have their parents check their candy for them. This way the parents get to steal the best of the loot.

    1. I tried that this year, but my kid is too smart. She didn’t buy it for a second.

      1. Drop some Mexican candy in. One bite and their mouth will be on fire and they’ll willing let you go through their candy for them.

  5. Well, hell, I wanted to see the story of the millions of dead kids in Colorado who were accidentally given the THC-loaded candy by the zonked-out potheads. Somebody needs to get to work on that!

    1. Colorado is a figment of your imagination. There is no such place, and there certainly isn’t a mass grave being covered up at the junctions of I-25 and I-70, which also doesn’t exist.

      Move along, citizen. There’s nothing to see or report on, here.

  6. You know that pushers are putting the pot into candy. But of course you never hear about it. Why? I’ll tell you why, the kids get addicted to the pot and so instead of telling their parents, they go to the pusher to get more pot!

  7. In Missouri they were handing out swastika candy.

    1. You may want to smell that before putting it in your mouth.

  8. Of course the biggest Halloween hoax is that the women at the Halloween party don’t look like the women in the Halloween catalog.

    Me: Oh, you came as Jabba wearing the slave Leia costume. Clever, and very topical what with the new Star Wars movie coming out this Christmas.

    Partygoer: This is just a slave Leia costume, jerk.

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