Oct 302006
Authors: Emily Polak

There have always been stories about the strange and unusual surrounding Halloween-poisoned candy, razor blades in fruit and tortured animals.

But officials say that these fears may be more fiction than fact and people should instead be more concerned with safety and public courtesy.

Myth 1:Poisoned Pop Rocks

Although poisoned Halloween candy continues to be a common concern among parents, there has never been a recorded case of someone handing out poisoned candy to children.

There have been a few incidents in which a child was killed by candy laced with poison, but these have been murder attempts aimed at specific children, not random poisonings of all trick-or-treaters who show up.

The National Confectioners Association has run a Halloween hotline for the past 10 years to answer questions about suspicious goodies and has never found a real case of poisoning.

Myth 2:Sharp surprises

The legend of razor blades being placed in candy apples began in the 1960s for no clear reason, according to Jack Santino, author of “Halloween and Other Festivals of Death and Life.”

Rumors spread quickly, and there were a few isolated cases, but none resulted in serious injuries. After the investigations, all of them turned out to be hoaxes.

“We haven’t had any candy poisonings or razor blades,” said Gary Kinsey, spokesman for Poudre Valley Hospital. “It is kind of an urban myth.”

Myth 3:Crossing a black cat’s path

Stories about torturing and sacrificing black cats in the days surrounding Halloween cause concern for many animal shelters and pet owners.

Although there are some isolated cases of cruelty to black cats around Halloween, it is not as widespread as legend may suggest.

The Humane Society of the United States researched news accounts of such maltreatment during Halloween of 1996 and did not find any reports confirming the rumors.

Many shelters still refuse to adopt cats around Halloween, including the PetsMart in Fort Collins.

“We don’t adopt black cats the three days surrounding Halloween just because of what people may do to them,” said Matt Berry, a manager at PetsMart and senior liberal arts major at CSU.

The real myths

So what should we be concerned about around Halloween?

According to the CSU Police Department, college students should make extra efforts to party safe.

“Obviously there are a lot of people wanting to have fun,” said Cpl. Yvonne Paez, public information officer for the CSUPD. “Be sure to party safely.”

Paez said there are more DUIs and other alcohol-related incidents in the days surrounding Halloween. She emphasized the importance of being safe and having a designated driver.

Staff writer Emily Polak can be reached at news@colleigan.com.

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