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Tricky Treats to Avoid This Halloween

Posted: October 25th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

A common Halloween concern, aside from the occasional ghoul and goblin, is the possibility of a child or family member being exposed to tainted candy. However, we recently came across some products and practices in the news that could present new concerns this Halloween.  Here are a few that really stuck out: marijuana shaped candy, alcohol soaked gummies, and supercharged snack cakes.

Popular Pot Pops

The first story which comes out of Buffalo, New York describes the sale of candy, believe it or not, in the shape of a marijuana plant. The sale of these products, “Pot Pops,” “Potheads,” and “Ring Pots” were brought to the attention of local authorities by concerned citizens. And if the product name alone  doesn’t light a spark then maybe the slogans will:

  • “Hey man, pass the bag,”
  • “Legalize,” and
  • “Providing you with candy that meets our HIGH STANDARDS.”

I’m sure you would agree,  teens and young adults have enough pressure to get involved with illicit drugs without having to be exposed to “candy” in the shape of these substances. These are not the kinds of “treats” that should make their way into your candy dish or your child’s trick or treat bag.

Beware of Boozy Bears

Another story, which can only make you ask, “what will they think of next?” involves a new way of consuming alcohol. Just when you thought you’d heard it all, someone discovers that if you soaked gummy bears or similar candies in alcohol they will absorb the alcohol and expand. Slang terms for these alcohol soaked candies include “boozy bears”, “drunken gummies”, or “rummy gummies.”

The problem here is the candy’s sweet taste can mask the strong taste of the alcohol, so the person does not realize how much alcohol has been consumed.  One can become fairly intoxicated very rapidly while mindlessly munching on these fruity ‘treats’.  Recipes can be easily obtained on the internet, but we are not encouraging you to include these treats in your Halloween party planning, especially if your guest list includes those who are under 21 years of age. It should be made perfectly clear that laws and regulations pertaining to alcohol possession and intoxication apply to these candies just as they would liquor in a bottle. If children accidently find and eat these alcohol laden gummies it could be a real disaster.  Don’t be tricked if you encounter suspicious looking or smelling gummy candies.

Keep me UP Cakes

Well perhaps this Halloween with its chilly gray weather, your problem is not staying relaxed but rather staying awake. So naturally companies are developing snack products intended to boost your energy (ie. treats supercharged with caffeine).  Marketed products such as “UP Cakes, “Coffee Mallows,” and “Java Mallows” are sweet treats packing a whopping 200mg to 300mg of caffeine per package. Considering a standard cup of black coffee has about 100mg of caffeine, inadvertently eating a large amount can give you the jitters, palpitations, gastrointestinal distress, and a bad case of insomnia. Recipes for homemade energy brownies using espresso beans and guarana can also be found on the internet, but we encourage some alternatives if you find that you need a little boost. Enjoy a nice steamy cup of joe or some ice cold cola. That way you’ll avoid being tricked by consuming excessive amounts of these medications.

If you have any Halloween related questions please call the poison center – anytime, day or night – 1-800-222-1222.  From all our ghoulish and ghostly goblins and friends at the Illinois Poison Center, have a happy and safe Halloween season, and remember to “eat responsibly.”

By: Tony Burda, Setor Akati, and Stefanie Kametas,

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