Halloween has plenty of urban legends. However, I think most of us can say they never thought something like cannabis would be one of them. Every since I was a kid, Halloween has been my favourite time of the year. What’s not to love? Ghost, goblins, scary movies, spooky decorations, pumpkin carving and dressing up. I never cared much about the candy, just everything else that comes with Halloween, including all the urban legends. After all, some urban legends have a grain of truth to them. Then again, some just come from film or an overactive imagination.
With that said, let’s get into a few Halloween urban legends, and yes, cannabis made the list.
Most of us know the movie, Candyman, is about an African American man brutally murdered for having an interracial love affair. He comes back to get revenge on anyone who repeats his name five times in a mirror, kind of like Bloody Mary. In fact, the movie borrows directly from the Bloody Mary urban legend of the 70s which revolves around repeating the name however many times in front of a mirror to summon a vengeful spirit.
The story goes Mary was a witch (another word for any woman who dared to not listen to men) from hundreds of years ago and executed for being involved in black magic, and this is how she gets her revenge.
No need to worry. There are no known cases actually involving anything like Bloody Mary or the Candyman.
Laced Halloween Candy
Now, this is one of those urban legends that actually does have a kernel of truth to it. In 1964, a mentally ill housewife from Long Island decided the neighbourhood kids were too old to be trick-or-treating and swapped the full-size Mars bars for steel wool, dog treats and buttons conspicuously labelled “poison” (didn’t contain poison). While somehow worse than raisins, no children were harmed. She plead guilty to child endangerment and was committed to a psychiatric hospital for a full evaluation. There have been no real reports of laced Halloween candy since. At least according to Sociologist Joel Best, who specializes in studying candy-tampering legends.
Naturally, however, the tale earned cult status over the years. It’s now a staple Halloween parable for parents who just don’t want their kids eating obscene amounts of candy in one sitting. When have scare tactics ever worked, right? Of course, some sheltered, anxious people genuinely believe there’s an ongoing issue with candy laced with everything from razor blades to needles and broken glass. Best assures us this is not the case, and points out that the real danger to kids on Halloween is hit and runs and racist incidents.
Back in the 70s, some folks in the US decided to pass out temporary tattoos instead of candy. A rumour began warning people they were laced with LSD.
The biggest issue with this legend is purely logistical. LSD can’t absorb through the skin. Dozens of chemists who handle and manufacture massive amounts of LSD regularly, like legendary underground chemist Donnie Shackelford, confirm this.
“No, you cannot be dosed through the skin. I never wore gloves in any procedure unless lye is used, and it isn’t in this procedure. I learned the hard way by dropping a flask with 20g of LSD in it — I was extremely upset. I’ve had it all over my hands many, many times.”
Donnie Shackelford, some time after being arrested in 05.
Basically, LSD is expensive, and I’m absolutely positive that no one wants to waste good drugs on temporary tattoos, of all things. Maybe the idea is that tattoos were just a better option rather than candy that can rot children’s teeth or something. Who knows.
There is one legend that has most people scratching their heads. If it’s not razors or LSD, it’s cannabis, apparently. The idea of drugs in food is a pillar of urban legends since before the industrial revolution. The majority of backers on this one are likely anti-cannabis supporters looking for new ways to demonize cannabis. Although plenty of edibles these days are in appealing candy or gummy form, there’s no research to suggest children are actually taking home edibles. If you suspect your child has been exposed to an edible, check your own stash first.
What are some of your favourite Halloween urban legends? Let us know in the comments below. For the latest news, editorials and more, don’t forget to follow CLN.
From all of us here at CLN, Happy trick-or-treating!