Remember when we were kids and everyone thought crazy neighbors were going to put needles in our Halloween candy and give us apples full of razor blades? Yeah, well, there’s a new urban legend in town, and it’s equally absurd.
People all over the country are tripping over themselves to share a viral Facebook post warning parents that they might find some party drugs in their kids’ trick-or-treat bags. The post features a picture of what look like a bunch of colorful MDMA tablets (also known as “Ecstasy” or “X” or “Molly”) and says, “If your kids get these for Halloween candy, they ARE NOT CANDY. They are the new shapes of ‘Ecstasy’ and can kill kids through overdoses!!!!”
Look at all those exclamation points, you guys. This must be pretty serious.
Oh, wait — actually, it’s not serious at all. In fact, the Jackson Police Department has since pulled that warning down. As Snopes, Mental Floss, and many other sources can confirm, elementary-aged kids accidentally overdosing on sweet tart-shaped “Ecstasy” is not a thing.
According to How Stuff Works, the only instances of children dying from tainted Halloween candy were perpetrated by the kids’ own family members: an uncle who sprinkled Heroin on his nephew’s candy to hide that the child had gotten into his drug stash, and a father who laced his own son’s candy with cyanide.
While it is true that MDMA is produced in a variety of shapes and colors that look candy-like, this has has always been the case. The appearance of these tablets is in keeping with it’s reputation as “the party drug,” and not some wild new variant designed specifically to harm small children. Snopes also points out that MDMA is expensive and hard to get in large quantities, so someone handing a bunch out to kids wouldn’t even really make sense.
It’s not hard to see why these urban legends balloon out of control so quickly. It’s Halloween-themed, it’s creepy, it feels sort of threatening without actually being a threat. When we pass them around, though, we take the focus away from things that are actually worth being concerned about. For example, kids are twice as likely to get hit by cars on Halloween night. That’s a big deal.
Having a safe and fun holiday should always be our main priority, but that doesn’t mean we need to dissolve into a panic over every little thing. No one wants to get your kids high, and if you’re really that nervous about it, you can always inspect their candy while your shoveling it into your face after they go to sleep.