Trick Or Treat Nastiness?

kevanf1

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#1
I have been told by a couple of friends who live in the USA that the 'trick or treat' custom is now on the decline in the US. One of the reasons they have given is because some low lifes were apparently 'lacing' treats with such nasties as razor blades and/or poison. Now this sounds suspiciously like an urban myth to me but is it?

Can anybody actually give a genuine documented case of this happening?
 

OldTimeRadio

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#3
kevanf1 said:
I have been told by a couple of friends who live in the USA that the 'trick or treat' custom is now on the decline in the US. One of the reasons they have given is because some low lifes were apparently 'lacing' treats with such nasties as razor blades and/or poison. Now this sounds suspiciously like an urban myth to me but is it?
When this "news" first broke in the United States during the early 1970s (as I recall), just about everybody bit (sorry) on it. Police departments throughout the country (and I believe in Canada, too) issued newspaper press releases and delivered handbills door-to-door, warning parents of this horror, supporting the admonishments with lurid accounts of atrocities having supposedly taken place in other (usuallly unspecified) cities.

But there has apparently never been a single documented case, neither then nor later!

Moreover, few people seem to realize how relatively easy it would be to solve such a crime, if one actually occurred, at least if a number of different children were affected. All the cops would have to do is to speak with the injured children, question them as to which routes they'd walked and then compare the reports. They'd almost immediately get down to one single block or street section, probably no more than seven or eight houses.

Or let's say that only one child is injured. Well, the average child visits no more than 40 or 50 houses. Veteran police detectives score successes against odds a whole lot higher than that.
 

kevanf1

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#4
Heard on BBC Radio 2 this morning that there are people giving out chocolate coated cloves of garlic and dried marshmallows rehydrated with vinegar. Nice :) Probably our our urban myth spin off from the poisoned sweets etc. I do like the idea of chocolate coated garlic though :) It should deter some the older idiots who come begging at the door...

Guess what? I am not a fan of Trick or Treat, this is the UK after all not America.
 

Peripart

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#5
kevanf1 said:
Heard on BBC Radio 2 this morning that there are people giving out chocolate coated cloves of garlic and dried marshmallows rehydrated with vinegar.
Now that's class! It'll deter the little buggers without actually klling them (damn you, health and safety law!).

The were so many groups of Trickers out last night, it was unreal. Between 5.30 and 7.30, there must have been 6 or 7 separate rings of the bell. Well, I say that, but if you ignore them (as I did after the first 2 or 3), they don't just ring once, do they? It's dingalingaringafucking-DING all pissing evening. We gave up and went out for something to eat, and on the streets we saw loads of the little bastards.

Don't get me totally wrong (although, as you can tell, I do get a bit mysanthropic this time of year): although I hate what Halloween has come to represent, I can fully accept small groups of dressed-up under-10s accompanied by an adult. But when most of the groups consist of half-a-dozen 15-year-olds who seem to think that a hooded top constitutes a costume, then I'm afraid that "Halloween Nastiness" is very real, but it's not the people giving out "treats" who are the bad guys. If I didn't genuinely believe that a lot of these older kids would egg your house or scratch your car, I'd tell them to fuck right off. Instead, of course, I close the curtains and pretend to be out, or as with last night, go out for a meal when it all gets too much.

Last year, my other half admitted to giving some of the bigger ones money to get rid of them. I was appalled. It's not just implied intimidation any more, it's legalised mugging. As I say, if it were under-10s only, and you knew that the doorbell would only ring between 6 and 7, it would be bearable. As it is now, though - shoot the lot of 'em! String them up! Well, stop them bothering me, anyway - that would be a start.
 

AsamiYamazaki

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#6
We didn't have any trick or treaters last night which is a blow as I'll have to eat the candy supplies myself.

Our local shopping centre had a huge halloween event yesterday afternoon with all the shops giving out sweets, which meant the place was absolutely rammed full of dressed-up kids. I wasn't sure whether that meant all children would be gorged to exhaustion by evening or so hyped up on sugar that they'd be rampaging 28-days-later style through the streets looking for a further fix.

Sort of sadly, the former obviously applied.
 

stu neville

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#7
Peripart said:
...although I hate what Halloween has come to represent, I can fully accept small groups of dressed-up under-10s accompanied by an adult. But when most of the groups consist of half-a-dozen 15-year-olds who seem to think that a hooded top constitutes a costume, then I'm afraid that "Halloween Nastiness" is very real..
Exactly. Luckily for us, we live in a long but relatively quiet street, and all the kids and by extension parents know one another as the local primary is in the next street. All have agreed for a couple of years now that we just visit one another's houses, and that those who don't wish to participate don't have to. If a house is up for it, they'll put a lantern or pumpkin in the window, if none, they won't get knocked. All kids have to be primary school age and accompanied by an adult or they don't get anything - and as there's so many adults around the teenagers don't even bother trying (they won't key a car if their mum's mate is watching them.) Also, the bloke who lives half way up the road is desk-sergeant at the local nick. We are really, really lucky. And yes, having lived in the States, that's the kind of spirit that prevails there. People look forward to it, and respect those who don't wish to join in.

In the area in which we used to live, however, it was a nightmare. Not good at any time of the year (most people prayed for heavy rain most evenings), the week 31/10 - 6/11 was a good time to barricade yourself in, or go on holiday (which we used to do - go and stay with family: it was that unbearable at home.) Anyone who still endures that kind of crap has my deepest sympathies :(.
 

OneWingedBird

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#8
none at all last night... though i was at my work's wednesday drinky poos until about 8.30... maybe they'd all been and gone?
 

stu neville

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#9
Wasn't all quiet in this neck of the woods...
Police last night arrested 43 people in Avon and Somerset for a variety of anti-social behaviour-related offences.

Extra officers were on duty as the force launched Operation Relentless on nuisance behaviour to coincide with Halloween.

Police made 75 alcohol seizures – with more than half of those being from underage people and 40 being in alcohol exclusion zones....Additional staff were drafted into communications centres at Taunton and the police headquarters in Portishead this Halloween as part of the force's Operation Relentless.

Between 5pm and 11pm staff received 666 :)o) emergency 999 calls from members of the public who were mainly reporting anti-social behaviour type incidents.

Chief superintendent Lawrie Lewis said: "Despite the number of calls it was evident that many parents followed the advice and urged their children to have a fun Halloween but stay within the law."
link
 

escargot

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#10
We decorated the outside of the house with inflatable skeletons and an inflatable pumpkin, and put battery-operated flickering pumpkin lamps in the window. Kids going past were shrieking 'Look at that house! Skeletons!'

I dressed as a witch with a tall hat. We had a steady stream of little ghosts, witches, skeletons, Frankensteins, mummies, vampires, fairies, you name it, between about 5 and 8pm. After that we had bunches of young teenagers, all immaculately turned out in costumes and make-up.

I have a lovely lamp, like a white globe, which glows white and then slowly changes colour. It's battery-operated and small so it fits in my hands. When the little kids came, I'd say, right, let's see how clever you are! Concentrate - what colour is my crystal ball?
Then I'd switch it on, and they'd say, blue! Pink! Purple! Yellow! Green!
I'd let the little ones hold it and they'd detect the switch so they'd know it was a trick.

Then I'd say, now, you're all very scary, but there aren't any devils here, are there? And Techy'd lean round the door in his rubber devil mask.
The kids'd point behind me and I'd say, where? Over there? and they'd shout nooooo, behind you! and eventually he'd come right out and we'd all shriek.

(Some very small kids were straight down the path to their mums at the first sight of the lurking devil. Can't say I blame them. They accepted sweets in compensation, though.)

We'd then produce a 'cauldron' full of treats and they'd dig in and scrabble around for chocolate and loose change.

The teenagers were a bit wary at first, probably having had some abuse from other households, but they were polite and friendly and all done up to the nines. Next year I'll have some special tricks and treats for the older ones, rather than bringing out the cauldron.

It was all over by about 9pm and after that, peace and quiet. No bommyknocking, egging, or fireworks in the street. This is on a
rough northern council estate. Heaven. 8)
 

CarlosTheDJ

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#11
escargot1 said:
We decorated the outside of the house with inflatable skeletons and an inflatable pumpkin, and put battery-operated flickering pumpkin lamps in the window. Kids going past were shrieking 'Look at that house! Skeletons!'

I dressed as a witch with a tall hat. We had a steady stream of little ghosts, witches, skeletons, Frankensteins, mummies, vampires, fairies, you name it, between about 5 and 8pm. After that we had bunches of young teenagers, all immaculately turned out in costumes and make-up.

I have a lovely lamp, like a white globe, which glows white and then slowly changes colour. It's battery-operated and small so it fits in my hands. When the little kids came, I'd say, right, let's see how clever you are! Concentrate - what colour is my crystal ball?
Then I'd switch it on, and they'd say, blue! Pink! Purple! Yellow! Green!
I'd let the little ones hold it and they'd detect the switch so they'd know it was a trick.

Then I'd say, now, you're all very scary, but there aren't any devils here, are there? And Techy'd lean round the door in his rubber devil mask.
The kids'd point behind me and I'd say, where? Over there? and they'd shout nooooo, behind you! and eventually he'd come right out and we'd all shriek.

(Some very small kids were straight down the path to their mums at the first sight of the lurking devil. Can't say I blame them. They accepted sweets in compensation, though.)

We'd then produce a 'cauldron' full of treats and they'd dig in and scrabble around for chocolate and loose change.

The teenagers were a bit wary at first, probably having had some abuse from other households, but they were polite and friendly and all done up to the nines. Next year I'll have some special tricks and treats for the older ones, rather than bringing out the cauldron.

It was all over by about 9pm and after that, peace and quiet. No bommyknocking, egging, or fireworks in the street. This is on a
rough northern council estate. Heaven. 8)
Wow! You two are great!

Where do you live? I'm there next year.
 

escargot

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#12
You'll need nerves of steel. :D

We had a great time, symbolically honouring our dear dead. 8)

Got fleeced, though. Our house was so popular with the kids that there was briefly a cute, if macabre queue along the street, with little monsters patiently waiting to see the Scary People, and I later had to send Techy out for fresh supplies.

Next year - bigger, scarier, more decorations, better treats, more elaborate tricks.

And some of them flashing antenna things for the dogs to wear. ;)
 

Heckler

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#13
escargot1 said:
The teenagers were a bit wary at first, probably having had some abuse from other households, but they were polite and friendly and all done up to the nines. Next year I'll have some special tricks and treats for the older ones
Perhaps some Ice water in the cauldron and a few alcopops for them to bob for? :D
 

Peripart

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#15
You do it your way, I'll do it mine. I'm thinking of fitting a bucket above the front door, with a heater attached. For keeping the oil on the boil, you see...

Seriously, I'm fortunate enough to live in what most would consider a really nice area. It's quiet, and street crime is not an everyday worry. It does seem to me, though, that there should be some kind of implicit cut-off in the age of "kids" who go trick-or-treating. The older ones, especially those who don't go to even the slightest effort to dress up, seem to be using the night as an excuse for a good time at others' expense. After all, who's going to go to the police on Halloween to complain about teenagers banging on doors and climbing over front gardens to peer in through the front window? Any other night, they know they'd not get away with that sort of behaviour.

Think I'm a miserable git now? Just ask me about Christmas - you'll see miserable!
 

escargot

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#16
I live in a rough area. We don't get upmarket problems like mischief. Knuckle butties are given out, all year round. ;)

None of our trick-or-treaters was over about 14, and they were all as sweet as pie. I dunno where all the bad'uns were, perhaps they went to harass you.
 

OldTimeRadio

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#17
I remember the first time I went trick or treating. I was six so it had to have been 1947. I was dressed as a witch, and the outfit scared the heck out of a little neighbor boy two years my junior. He ran away. So I chased him up and down the street to show him that it was only me.

Mom had pinned together the costume and the peaked witch's hat from black crepe paper.

It rained.
 

Eponastill

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#18
I've been stuck in the house for a bit, so when the neighbours' kid came round with his adolescent mates and said "Trick or Treat?!" I came clean and told them I hadn't got anything. "So it'll have to be a trick, then" I said. They looked at me blankly. but we haven't got anything. Oh I said. What shall we do? they asked me. Oh I dunno, I said. Perhaps we'll come back later. Ok I said.

They didn't though. The well behaved middle class rebels that they are. What is the world coming to. Trying to extract treats without menaces.
 

lawofnations

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#19
The past four years no-one has come round to mine...

The first two years I had big bowls of sweets ready for the kids. Not even the neighbour's kids in 2005. I was gutted, especially when my wife forced me to eat all the sweets... :D

Last year I had a job interview and by the time I got back it was too late. And this year, I was out at a pub. I've given up on Hallowe'en in this country.

My father-in-law had people ringing the doorbell on Monday and Tuesday night. Who the heck goes out that early?
 

corsair2000e

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#20
I was in The Philippines over Halloween visiting relatives. On 31 October there was nothing, no trick or treaters, no-one dressed up, no celebrations and no rowdy behaviour. Over there, the big day is 1 November. On that day everyone visits a cemetery where a loved one is buried. The cemetery we went to was jam-packed full of people visiting their parents/spouses/childs grave. Actually, it is a tradition to have a tomb rather than a simple grave, with a roof and a bench to sit on. Also there are pictures of the tomb's occupant(s) placed on the tomb--how long would they last in Britain. We visited my wife's parents tomb. There must have been 20 of us around it. We said prayers then had a picnic: rice, noodles, fried chicken, cakes and soft drinks. It may sound bizarre or macabre to some, but it was anything but that. Everyone had a good time and it was more a celebration of the deceased's life than a melancholic vigil.
 

PeniG

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#21
That's called Dia de los Muertos, and you'll find it in all Spanish-colonial areas, I believe. It used to be Hallow Day, the day for which Hallow E'en is the Eve. Around here you can get candy skeletons in little brightly-colored plastic coffins, and the folklorico party skeletons - mariachi bands, flamenco dancers, anything festive - can be had year-round in the tourist stores. Many Hispanic families do trick-or-treat or a Hallowe'en party or haunted house on Oct. 31 and then go out to the cemetery on Nov. 1. Why not have two holidays instead of one?

Unlike the upper-middle-class Anglos, who don't even have Halloween anymore, but have tame little school carnivals with noncontroversial names like "Pumpkin Fun Day" and lame educational games.
 

escargot

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#22
We were so pleased with our visitors' conduct that I wrote a letter of praise for them to our local rag. As I mentioned earlier, this is a rough area. The local schools have a tough job. The kids're great though. 8)
 

escargot

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#24
You haven't met me, have you? ;)

I've just popped over to t'shop and was greeted with lots of big hellos from a bunch of kids outside. I'm touched that they recognise me without my witchy clobber on. I think.

T'other day, I left my car boot open after bringing some shopping in, and there was soon a little lad knocking on the door to tell me. He was delighted to be thanked and told what a gentleman he was. 8)

I love living here. It's one of the poorest areas in the county and has lots of social problems, but the kids are lovely. :D
 

kamalktk

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#25
This person wrote up a scholarly article on Halloween candy poisonings. He was not able to find a single case of it.
http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2013/10/31/309911.htm

"My data now cover more than 50 years, and I still haven’t found a documented case of a child who was seriously harmed by a contaminated treat. I can’t say it has never happened; after all, logicians tell us that it is impossible to prove a negative. But I can say with great confidence that it isn’t common. Nonetheless, people still worry: a 2011 poll of parents with young children found that 24 percent had concerns about poisoned treats."
 

liveinabin

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#26
We have recently moved to a new area and I really wasn't sure what to expect here. I bought some sweets in but I was a bit 'bah humbug' about the whole affair.

We had one very little girl with both parents and that was it even though the street was full. Then I realised that the houses that were getting children had displays or lights in the windows, a couple of candles on the doorstep and we had loads. All with parents, all 10 years old at most. Loved it. I'm going to make more of a effort next year.
The scariest one though was the silent Chinese twin girls!
 

escargot

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#27
Great stuff! :D

I have lovely special Halloween lights for my window, along with a sign (printed and laminated by moi) explaining what to do, i.e.

Trick or Treaters Welcome!
Please -
- come after tea
- bring and adult
- beware of devils!

The devils bit is because while I distract the kids, Techy creeps round in a scary mask to frighten them. :D

We had loads of little visitors last night, all with adults apart from the very sweet teenagers who came along later. All were impeccably behaved as usual.

I made them all participate in my regular Halloween trick, which consists of looking at my crystal ball and telling me what colour it is. It's actually a battery-powered colour-changing lamp. As soon as they call out a colour, it changes to another colour so I can say 'But you said it was blue! What colour is it now Red? No, green? Who's making it do that?' and so on.

Some have been coming for the full 7 years that I've been doing it and are old hands. They love to bring their little sisters or brothers or cousins along. It's great fun, and wonderful social capital. ;)

It lasted between about 6 and 8pm, and after I took the lights down there were no more knocks. Certainly no egging or trouble.

Looks like liveinabin and I are the only pro-Halloweeners on here! :lol:
 

marion

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#29
We didn't get any at all, all the kids in the street are Muslims, I suppose they don't have anything to do with Halloween. No one puts Halloween lights in their windows, even the few white people.
 

Recycled1

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#30
I spent £1 on a bag of kids' sweets. I had two lots of visitors, then it started to rain heavily, so no-one else came to my door. I've been happily polishing off the drumsticks, parma violets etc.! :D
 
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