Halloween is a holiday dedicated to fantasy – I mean, what other time of the year can you witness Super Mario making out with a sexy nurse? For parents, though, Halloween fantasies are dark and full of even darker terrors. A day when strangers can legally pass out candy to their children, everyone’s in disguise, and general mischief is in the air.
But how realistic were your mom’s fears that you might ingest rusty nails concealed in mini-chocolate bars, or trip over your costume and fall down a flight of stairs?
Creepy clowns and evil demons aside, Halloween can be a pretty scary time if you don’t use your common sense. It’s all fun and games until someone pokes his own eye out with a prop sword. So here’s a list of everything she could have warned you about, and how likely it is to actually happen this Halloween.
7. Eating poisoned candy
Probability: Not going to happen
Look, eating candy from a stranger that’s laced with arsenic is kind of possible in the general sense that anything is possible, Sort of like how a mad man wearing a hockey mask could chase you around with a chainsaw, for example. But there’s never been a documented case of it in American Halloween history, yet – at least.
There are some cases of kids eating poisoned candy on Halloween, like Timothy O’Bryan, who died in 1974 after eating contaminated Pixy Stix. But the perpetrator wasn’t a lunatic stranger. Turns out, the truth was something much, much darker: Timothy’s dad poisoned his own son for the insurance money. Other similar supposed incidents of candy tampering have also turned out to be hoaxes.
6. Swallowing a hidden razor blade
Probability: Has happened, but won’t happen to you or anyone you know
Finding rusty nails or razor blades in Halloween treats is a common urban legend, but if it were true – shouldn’t you be worried about any and all kinds of packaged food, year-round?
Like poisoned sweets, stuffing candy with pins, blades, or needles is pretty rare. That said, it has happened – there have been 80 reported cases of people finding sharp objects in Halloween candy, but almost all of them were found to be pranks. The only real documented incident was in 2000, when a man passed out candy bars he stuffed with needles. Only one boy was pricked with said needle, and he wasn’t seriously injured.
5. Costume catching on fire
Probability: Somewhat likely
Unless you go the DIY route, there’s a good chance your costume will be some last-minute purchase from the pop-up Halloween shop down the street – likely some kind of sexy [insert occupation/animal/borderline-offensive stereotype]. The problem with these costumes, aside from their total lack of originality, is that they are usually made with cheap, unbreathable, and flammable fabrics.
4. Cutting your hand while carving a pumpkin
Probability: Semi-likely, if you have weak knife skills
Cutting your hand off is a pretty big stretch, but carving-related incidents are common during the month of October. Every Halloween, The Hand Center of Western Massachusetts alone sees four or five patients with severe hand and finger injuries. Nationally, that number is in the thousands, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
3. Poking yourself in the eye with a sword (or other props)
Probability: Depends on how clumsy you are
Shockingly, there’s no data for just how many people actually NEED their pirate eye patches after poking themselves in the peepers with cheap props, but ‘witches brew’ plus a toy sword isn’t always the best combination. If you’re at all clumsy, and decide to dress as any sort of character that wields a sword, machete, knife, or shish kabob – well, enjoy both of your eyes while you still have them.
2. Tripping on your over-sized costume
Probability: Pretty likely, if you’re someone who enjoys ‘adult’ beverages on Halloween
For some reason, many Halloween costumes tend to involve long, draping outfits – if you’re not going for the sexy look – which makes tripping almost a guarantee, especially considering the general debauchery you’ll be getting into.
The most common Halloween injuries seen are leg injuries, due to falls from long costumes and/or costumes that impair vision. Bottom line: make sure your clothes fit!
1. Getting hit by a car
Probability: Much more likely than you’d think
With the sun setting earlier, if you wear a dark costume after sunset, you’re basically in camouflage. So it’s no surprise that October 31st is the deadliest night for child pedestrians, according to a study from State Farm. Add in the fact that some people aren’t exactly sober behind the wheel after parties, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Even if you’re not trick-or-treating – because you’re an adult and aren’t trying to creep out the neighborhood, remember? – walking around at night on Halloween can be dangerous. Make sure you’re wearing reflective clothing, or attach some reflective tape to your outfit, no matter how dorky it looks. Carry a flashlight, and always be mindful of your surroundings. Try not to get into a car with fogged-up windows, either – you can never be too careful on Halloween.
All I ask is for you to please be smart while going out this All Hallow’s Eve, now that you know what to watch out for and how to be careful. You should really take into account what you eat, wear, and do! But at the same time, don’t let it ruin your night because as we can clearly see – the majority of these things don’t even happen. So, tell Mom to simmer down and let you have your fun. Just be smart and be safe!