No, parents, nobody is going to give your kids free drugs on Halloween.

Well, COVID seems reluctant to just… go. Today has been much like yesterday – eyes feel puffy, some congestion, and a need to sleep more than usual. My default seems to be staring vacantly into space without any real ability to focus, which makes the ability to touch-type very useful, as long as I don’t get my hands out of alignment and start yoprgm tsmfpo9y, mpmdrmdr.

That means that today’s a video. I’d thought about Shaun’s latest, but PZ beat me to that. If you haven’t seen it, you really should. It’s pretty simple – a breakdown of who J.K. Rowling’s transphobic allies are. As with other analysis of that bigot’s behavior, beliefs, and buddies, this really makes one feel that she enjoys making other people suffer, so long as she’s still still rolling in dough.

So, for today I’ll direct your attention to a different bullshit moral panic – the traditional Halloween-time activity of convincing frightened parents that people want to give free drugs to their children. The TL:DW is this: whether it’s cannabis, meth, or fentanyl, nobody is going to give your children free drugs. That’s not a thing that happens. The people who make drugs want to sell them, because that’s how they make money.

I think what’s really depressing about this is how well it demonstrates that for a certain section of the population, they will believe anything if they’re told that that thing is a threat to them from “bad people”.

To those who need to hear it I will say this: Enjoy Halloween. Let your kids go trick-or-treating. Start trying to think of your fellow humans as being, well, your fellow humans. The ones you need to be afraid of are the ones constantly telling you to be afraid of the people around you.



  1. Katydid says

    Going as far back as the 1970s, the fear-mongers were trying to scare everyone with stories of razor blades in apples and needles in candy bars. In the 1990s, my kids’ elementary school expressly forbid any sort of recognition of Halloween–my daughter was sent home for wearing a sweater with a pattern of fall leaves (in shades of red and orange and yellow). Instead, there were posters about “trunk of treat” being hosted by various churches. Come for the mandatory sermon, get a piece of candy from someone’s car trunk (that’s not creepy at all?!?).

    Now the hysteria has racheted up to drugs in candy–and as you pointed out, nobody’s giving away drugs for free, to a customer base that doesn’t have any money.

  2. says

    I’ve been hearing nonsensical stories of people putting needles or razor-blades in apples for about as long as I’ve been trick-or-treating. No one ever said they’d got or seen such a thing, no evening news show reported any such thing actually happening to anyone anywhere ever, but the stories, and stories about stories, kept on going around year after year.

    And true to form, John Oliver passed on a breathless and dire-sounding news-item that warned about the idea of fentanyl in your kids’ candy, and only at the end matter-of-factly noted that there had never been any actual reports of anyone finding any drugs in any Halloween candy.

    This one relatively tiny branch of Satanic Panic is probably as old as Halloween itself.

  3. says

    @1: “Trunk of treat?” Oh no, that totally screams candy, not dead bodies in trunks, not at all, nosireebob!

    Seriously, who came up with that?! All the better-sounding silly names must have been taken. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue either. “Trunk OR treat” rolls off the tongue better, but sounds more ominous; sort of like “cake or death!”

  4. anat says

    In my neighborhood church, trunk or treat started with the pandemic, they are still doing it this year.

  5. Katydid says

    @Raging Bee; typo, that should have been “trunk or treat”, not “trunk OF treat”. I became aware of it in the 1990s when I had kids old enough to take trick or treating. In my area, it’s virtually always associated with a church. (Not sure about other areas.) Usually there’s someone hysterically insisting how DANGEROUS it is for children to visit the neighbors’ houses–so much SAFER to come to church (where no child is ever harmed?!?) and go rooting through the trunk of someone’s car for treats.

    However, I live in a small neighborhood where everyone pretty much knows each other. The adults tend to cluster in the cul-de-sac with a firepit set up and chat while the children come past. Lots of people bring their dogs along with their children. My dog is very social and doesn’t mind costumes, so I have a baby shark dog sweater he wears for the occasion (it’s usually chilly on Halloween).

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Raging Bee @ # 2: No one ever said they’d got or seen such a thing, no evening news show reported any such thing actually happening to anyone anywhere ever…

    I recall a Los Angeles newscast, circa 1970, of a man getting arrested (and beaten up severely in jail) on charges of putting a razor blade in a Halloween apple – followed by a report of the trick-or-treater involved confessing having inserted it herself.

  7. says

    I believe every single example of actual “danger candy” was either self-inflicted, or a murderer trying to use the trope to hide a murder.

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