5 Halloween Myths Busted
There seems to be a lot of bogus information floating around about Halloween. Here are five of the most popular myths … busted by the folks at Live Science.
Myth #1: Evildoers use Halloween as an opportunity to poison children. It seems the perfect crime, but the only problem is this “stranger danger” just doesn’t happen. In only one case has a child died from eating poisoned Halloween candy. The candy was planted by the 8-year-old boy’s father in an attempt to get the child’s life insurance money. The convicted murderer, Ronald Clark O’Bryan, was executed in 1984 for the 1974 crime. The only recent exception to the surprising lack of Halloween candy tampering is one odd case in 2008 in Ontario, where a handful of children in a single neighborhood found cold medicine pills in sealed boxes of Smarties. However, the orange gel capsules were obvious outliers from the rest of the candy, and no child consumed the medication.
Myth #2: Armed gangs will hunt pit bulls in the streets this year. A message spread on Facebook and Twitter this September warning dog owners to lock their doors on Oct. 31 because Halloween had been declared “National Kill a Pit Bull Day.” “Baseball bats, knives, bricks and poisons (a hotdog soaked in radiator fluid works well) are all suitable tools,” ran the grammatically challenged message, attributed to someone named Terry Jordan. In fact, as debunking site Snopes.com uncovered, the messages and warnings were all a hoax aimed at punishing Terry Jordan of Slater, Mo., a councilman who was a major player in developing an animal ordinance for the city. An early version of the ordinance singled out pit bulls as vicious, but the wording was later changed so as not to specify any particular breed as aggressive. Presumably someone in town was angry enough at the original draft to go vigilante on Jordan with the false “Kill a Pit Bull” post.
Myth #3: Halloween is nearly as pricey as Christmas. Halloween isn’t that big a boost to the economy. According to the National Retail Federation, spending on Halloween costumes and candy is expected to hit 8-billion-dollars this year. That’s dwarfed by Christmas holiday says, which are expected to reach $586.1 billion this year.
Myth #4: Sex offenders hunt on Halloween. Like tales of poisoned candy and apples filled with razor blades, the idea that sex offenders target trick-or-treaters appears to be an urban legend. According to a study in the journal Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, there was no uptick in child sex crimes on Halloween. Of 67,307 non-family sex offenses reported, none were more common on Halloween, the researchers found.
Myth #5: Vampires are real. Just for fun, let’s go over the mathematical reasons why vamps can’t exist. According to University of Central Florida physicist Costas Efthimiou, if the common myth of vampires were true (that they suck their victims’ blood and turn them into vampires, too), the entire population of the world would have been converted into vampires in a mere 2.5 years after vampire legends emerged. Using a human population of just over 5 million (the population in the 1600s), Efthimiou assumed that vamps would convert, at minimum, one person per month (hey, why not?). At that rate, the entire world would be vampires in less than three years, he found, even taking into account human population growth.