TREAT TRICKED

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Our Halloween post last week cited the research of Joel Best, a University of Delaware sociologist, who said he had yet to find a reliable example of Halloween candy tapering from this nation’s seemingly endless supply of evil psycho strangers. It’s an urban myth he’s been looking into for nearly 30 years. But now, that urban myth is a reality. At least, if you add this: the crazed stranger needs to work at a candy factory.

Like all the reports featured in last week’s Halloween post, this one comes from Pennsylvania, where a 12-year-old trick-or-treater found a rusty razor blade in his M&M bag. There appeared to have been no tampering with the bag, implying the rusty blade had to factory-sealed inside! The M&M melt-in-your-mouth brand is manufactured by Mars Chocolate, who were “disturbed…a consumer had a product safety issue within our M&M’s Funsize packaging.” Cops are calling it a “manufacturing issue,” though the case is still being investigated.

Sounds crazy – maybe even psycho-crazy – but there is another report from July 2012 of a shank knife sealed in the factory inside a Jolly Ranchers package from a factory in Brazil.

The more familiar reports are the annual hoaxes, such as the one from Panama City Beach, Fla. where a child claimed a razor was embedded in a Snickers bar she received on Halloween.  After an investigation, local police said “the girl lied about the incident and the case is now close.”

Less familiar (in fact, downright strange) is a report from Ontario: parents complaining about toxic treats of a totally different stripe. Or, rather, strip.

When Rod Murray’s daughter received a comic book as her treat, she found it “anything but comical,” reports Cambridge’s The Record. “One of three books handed out features drawings of a child being beaten with a thick wooden stick and cast out into the rain by an adult, after an unsuccessful night of begging on the street for money.” Pretty scary stuff…even for Halloween. “Another book shows a man and a woman…covered in sores and standing under a ‘sin’ tree after disobeying a faceless figure. They are later joined behind a wall, erected by the faceless figure, by other men, women and children covered in sores.” 

Were these horror comics — reprints of the ones Fredric Wertham warned about in his book Seduction of the Innocent?

Actually, they sound exactly like the famous religious tracts of the cartoonist Jack Chick

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