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Here is a little background on some of the traditions of Halloween, where they came from, and some myths that have been commonly mistaken as truth!

We  here at TanksUSA would first like to wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween this year!  Down here in Florida, Halloween marks the time where the weather finally drops below 90 degrees and we don’t have to deal with thunderstorms every afternoon around 4pm, but for the country, Halloween marks the beginning of the winter holiday season!  With that being said, there are a few traditions and some urban legends about this spooky holiday that I have been curious to learn more about and see what truths lie in the lore!  Below is a list of some very common and uncommon Halloween traditions and legends, along with how they came about and how true some of the legends are.  Read on….if you dare!!!




      THE MYTH 

We have all heard about this legend at one time or another as a child and as an adult.  This is the urban legend that some evil neighbor decided to take the extremely large amount of time to place razor blades, syringes, needles, or poison inside of candy before re-wrapping the candy to look unopened and then giving it out to unsuspecting kids.  I have a hard time believing this one for a few reasons:

  1.  Why would anyone decide to become such a horrible person on this one day of the year, but not do anything else the other 364 and a 1/4 days?  Does a trigger go off in their head when they hear Halloween that makes them want to cause harm or possibly death to innocent children on this one special day?
  2. Wouldn’t it be pretty easy to figure out who was responsible?  A kid who is trick-o-treating does not visit more than 100 houses (and that’s a high estimate) in a night.  This means that there is a good chance the authorities would be able to figure out who is responsible pretty quickly.
  3. How are they going to make the candy look like it has never been opened?  Its not easy to open a candy wrapper, but it is even harder to not damage it when opening, and even harder to put it all back together after smooshing some sort of blade or weapon inside it.  You would have to have some fancy machinery in order to do this and this would also make it easy to figure out who is the guilty party

       THE FACTS

There have only been 2 cases that have been substantiated to actually have adults giving out something that was not for kids to enjoy, however, they never meant to harm anyone and no children were hurt.

  1. 1959 – Candy-coated laxative pills were given out to trick-o-treaters by William Shyne, a California dentist, who was charged with outrage of public decency and unlawful dispensing of drugs. [1]
  2. 1964 – Inedible objects, such as steel wool and dog biscuits were given out to children that were thought to be to old to be trick-o-treating by a disgruntled woman in the Long Island area.  No children were injured in any way but the woman did plead guilty to endangering children [1]

The real danger from this myth is the fact that there have been real cases of people using this myth to cover up the murder or accidental death of a family member or to sensationalize a news story.

  1. 1970 – A 5-year old boy accidentally died when he ate some of the heroin that his Uncle was hiding in the family’s home.  The family tried to protect the uncle by claiming, falsely, that the child’s Halloween candy was sprinkled with heroin. [1]
  2. 1990 – A 7-year old girl, Ariel Katz, died while she was trick-o-treating and the initial reports from the press were blaming poisoned candy as the cause even though her parents had informed the police immediately that she had been diagnosed with a deadly enlarged heart condition.  The enlarged heart conditions was determined to be the unfortunate cause of death. [1]


This is definitely fiction.  The only thing that this myth has done allow media sources the ability to sensationalize the news and create fear that is not necessary.


Although the tradition of wearing costumes and dressing up for Halloween can be traced back to this holiday’s origin, has collecting goodies and treats also been a staple of this holiday since it started?  Common sense would have you think that there is now way that the ancient tribes in Northern Great Britain would not be going door to door asking for candy, dressed up like a ninja!  However, the tradition of dressing up in costumes and requiring people to provide you with treats can be traced back to the Celtic period around the beginning of the Christian era. [2]

The modern version of trick-o-treating was formed in the 1930’s and 1940’s when local governments and businesses started to promote trick-o-treating as an alternative to vandalism, pranking, and rowdiness. [2]


This one is definitley fact!  People have been associating the tradition of dressing up in costumes and collecting treats or goodies since the beginning of the Halloween or “All Saints Day” Holiday!



Everyone loves to take their kids to the pumpkin patch and pick out that perfectly shaped and sized pumpkin to take home and carve into a jack-o-lantern, place a candle inside of it, and put it out on the front porch as a centerpiece of their Halloween decor, but has this always been so?  The answer to this is both yes and no!

Yes, people have been carving jack-o-lanterns since the early beginnings of Halloween when the Irish and Scottish would follow the folktale of Jack the blacksmith who did not think too highly of St Peter and also played a trick on the Devil.  These actions caused him to be blocked from having access to both heaven and hell.  Jack then picks up some embers from hell and places them in a turnip to allow him to see better as he wanders the realm between heaven and hell for eternity. [2]

The “no” part of this answer deals with the use of pumpkins when carving a jack-o-lantern.  The original jack-o-lanterns were made of turnips to follow the folktale of Jack the Blacksmith.  It was not until the early European settlers of the “New World”, first discovered pumpkins, decided to use them for carving since they were already hollow and much easier to carve. [2]


Fact – Jack-o-lanterns have been a part of the Halloween tradition since it began.

Fiction – Pumpkins have only been used since the early settlers of the new world arrived. [2]

There are many more myths and traditions that are associated with the Halloween Holiday!  If you know of one that you would like to share or if you are not sure about somethings validity and need help investigating, please share with us in the comments!  I hope you enjoyed this post and I wish you and your families a happy and safe Halloween filled with fun and lots and lots of yummy candy!!



  1.  Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoned_candy_myths
  2. Washington Post – 5 myths about halloween – https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-halloween/2014/10/24/b9b60800-5939-11e4-8264-deed989ae9a2_story.html
Happy Halloween

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