Candyman or traffic collisions? The true danger of Halloween revealed

Photo via The Billings Gazette

Photo via The Billings Gazette

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Most parents are scared that poisoned candy will kill their kids, but in reality, it’ll be the neighborhood that offs your offspring.

The paranoia surrounding lethal Halloween candy emerged in 1974 from the most infamous Halloween poisoning. A Texan named Ronald O’Bryan murdered his son, Timothy, for life insurance money. He laced pixie sticks with cyanide and passed them out to several children, including his son. Timothy was the only child unfortunate enough to ingest the poisoned candy, and O’Bryan was convicted and executed in 1984. When he died, however, the fear lived on.

The high profile Tylenol poisoning also had a part in spreading panic over candy tampering. This case was an eye-opener into how easily people can get away with lacing things with cyanide. These murders went unsolved and resulted in seven deaths, but no justice. This case was highly publicized and fueled the urban myth that someone was out to poison unsuspecting kids.

The fear of finding razor blades, needles, cyanide, or rat poison in Halloween candy is a real threat, but the truth is, it is highly exaggerated. The thought of a stranger killing unsuspecting children is extremely terrifying, so it isn’t surprising that the story of Timothy O’Bryan and others have stuck inside the heads of trick-or-treaters and their parents. As scary as it might be, there is a greater danger when it comes to All Hallows Eve: traffic accidents.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children are four times more likely to be hit and injured by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year. This is partially in part to the majority of these accidents resulting from the driver being intoxicated. Like every other day of the year, don’t drink and drive. Now you may be wondering; what you can do to lower the alarming volume of Halloween accidents?

Another widespread source of Halloween accidents and injuries is fire. Avoid leaving unattended candles, and avoid flammable costumes. When carving pumpkins, use electronic sources of light to illuminate them instead of leaving actual flames in your front lawn.

70 percent of children go trick or treating alone, and with traffic accidents still presenting a real threat, at least teach them to not get murdered or hit by a car before you decide to ditch your family.

It’s always best to stay in groups, bring flashlights, and stay in well-lit areas. And although it doesn’t hurt to double-check candy wrappers, don’t forget the most important rule of all. Look both ways when crossing the street!