Let’s start with the scarrrrrryyyyyy stuff…poisoned candy.
Actually not! There are very few, if any, reported cases of poisoned candy/treats. However, there is one known case: Ronald Clark O’Bryan. In 1974, Mr. O’Bryan laced his son’s candy with a fatal dose of cyanide in order to collect on a large insurance policy. He may have laced other neighborhood children’s candy as well, but no one else consumed it or became ill. This was believed to be an attempt to cover up his misdeeds and place the blame on “random” tampering.
That said, it’s still a good idea to check all Halloween treats before eating them. It is also a great excuse for parents to taste test some of their favorite candy before it is all gone.
We can wrap up with some haunting Halloween traditions: dry ice and glow sticks, both common items we get lots of calls about:
- Dry ice IS relatively safe to use but should NEVER be used in a punch bowl or individual cups. The main concern is that ingesting dry ice or contact with the membranes in the mouth or skin can cause damage—essentially a cold “burn”. Extreme care should be taken to ensure it is neither ingested nor allowed to come in contact with the skin/mouth or lips.
- Glow sticks and necklaces contain a compound called dibutyl pthlate. Most calls to the Illinois Poison Center involve children either chewing on the glow item until it breaks open and ingesting some of the contents, or chewing until it breaks and the substance splatters in their eyes. And sometimes, it’s the big kids/adults who do the darndest things! In general, this can cause irritation more than anything else, but ensuring your children do not mishandle these products (be sure keep them out of their mouths!!) will go a long way to minimizing exposure.
Just like vampires, the Illinois Poison Center is awake all night! If you have
any questions or concerns this Halloween, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-222-1222 any time, day or night. Don’t forget to check out the “My Child Ate…” resource center, which gives toxicity level and treatment information for the most common substances/products ingested by children (and sometimes, big kids too!).
Hope everyone has a safe and FANGtastic Halloween!
Click on the link below to watch and enjoy with your family: