UPDATE: When asked for police reports and photographs of the supposedly blade-filled candy, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office revealed that the child's mother tossed the candy without taking any photos. In short, this story stinks to high heaven. That HCSO shared a scare-mongering post with no evidence is more terrifying than any falsified reports of bad candy.
We should treat stories shared by the police with the same amount of skepticism we apply to children's Halloween candy. No cop has ever OD'd from touching fentanyl
and, by and large, no one is handing out free drugs to children
. Still, a Hillsborough County family reportedly fell victim to the third of the Big Three Halloween rumors, telling police that they found a blade buried in a miniature 100 Grand bar.
The mother of an unidentified 8-year-old girl from Riverview told authorities her daughter bit into the candy on Friday and found the hidden blade of an X-acto knife. There was no indication of whether the child was injured, and a suspect has not been identified.
“It is despicable that someone would tamper with a child’s Halloween candy for their own cruel enjoyment,” Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister wrote on the office's Facebook page. “We are reminding all parents of the importance of checking over EVERY piece of candy your child received while trick or treating.”
Joel Best, a University of Delaware professor who
researches the history
of Halloween candy urban legends, found only 200 reports of candy tampering in the U.S. and Canada between 1958 and 2018. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the reports were found to be hoaxes. Best pointed to the singular nature of such reports as its own proof, noting that a person handing out dangerous candy should lead to a rash of reports in the area.
"Is it possible that someone maliciously passes out treats with the intent of harming children at random? Of course," he told the CBC
. "But this raises the question why there usually aren't multiple reports from the same area."
Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.