Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween: the Health Police's favorite holiday

Halloween is the Health Police's favorite night out--the Safety Nazis' National Holiday. Here's Lenore Skinazy, writing in today's Wall Street Journal:

Halloween is the day when America market-tests parental paranoia. If a new fear flies on Halloween, it's probably going to catch on the rest of the year, too.

Take "stranger danger," the classic Halloween horror. Even when I was a kid, back in the "Bewitched" and "Brady Bunch" costume era, parents were already worried about neighbors poisoning candy. Sure, the folks down the street might smile and wave the rest of the year, but apparently they were just biding their time before stuffing us silly with strychnine-laced Smarties.

That was a wacky idea, but we bought it. We still buy it, even though Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Delaware, has researched the topic and spends every October telling the press that there has never been a single case of any child being killed by a stranger's Halloween candy. (Oh, yes, he concedes, there was once a Texas boy poisoned by a Pixie Stix. But his dad did it for the insurance money. He was executed.)

Imagine that. No one killed. Ever. Read the rest here.

1 comment:

KyCobb said...

I remember when I was a kid it was "razor blades" hidden in apples. Eventually communities began offering a service of x-raying Halloween treats. Virtually every such report in the last fifty years was a hoax, and in the worst such case, a woman needed a few stitches.