While poisoned Halloween candy is mostly an urban legend, potentially dangerous foreign objects hidden in candy are unfortunately real, with a handful of cases reported throughout America each year.
In fact, we looked through all the media reports from the past three days and found 19 separate incidents of foreign objects hidden in Halloween candy.
It's hard to draw conclusions having only a handful of cases to look at, but there definitely does appear to be a cluster in the Northeast, particularly in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey region. And while most of the action was limited to the United States, we did find a trio of reports from Canada: needles in Manitoba, razor blades in Ontario and pills in Alberta. Wasn't that an Alanis Morissette album?
Sticking to the stereotype, razor blades, pins and needles were among the most common sharp foreign objects found in candy bars. Combined with pills, those four make up almost the entirety of the list, except for one outlier: A trick-or-treater in Fayetteville, Ark., reported receiving a bag of Christmas lights. (Doesn't it seem like Christmas starts earlier and earlier each year?)
Keep in mind this map is not comprehensive: there could be more incidents that did not get reported to the media. And some of these incidents may end up being revealed as hoaxes, like this report of a razor blade found in a candy bar in Auburn, Massachusetts.
Despite all the attention from local news outlets, no one appears to have been injured or harmed by the contaminated candy. Most of the foreign objects were discovered by parents checking the candy before kids dug in. Checking free candy given to your children by strangers: a great idea!
So with that in mind, enjoy the spoils of Halloween. And remember: while a milk dud may taste awful, it does not count as a foreign object.