16 Surprising Facts About Halloween You Never Knew

16 Surprising Facts About Halloween You Never Knew

Trista - October 30, 2018

16 Surprising Facts About Halloween You Never Knew
A mugshot of the “Candy Man” killer Richard O’Bryan. New York Daily News.

1. A Family Committed the Only Halloween Candy Poisonings

Despite the dire headlines warning of poisoned candy every year, the reality is that no accidental poisonings of Halloween candy have ever been recorded. Only two candy poisonings have ever been recorded, and both were committed in the 1970s within families. In both cases, the poisonings were committed by family members to either conceal or commit another crime.

The first recorded Halloween candy poisoning was in 1970. A little boy died of a heroin overdose, and police found traces of the drug in his Halloween candy. However, it later came to light that the boy had found his uncle’s stash of heroin and consumed some, leading to his death. Hoping to pin the crime on someone else instead of revealing the family’s drug secret, the family knowingly sprinkled heroin on the boy’s candy to implicate a stranger.
The second, and final, recorded Halloween candy poisoning occurred in 1974. Timothy O’Bryan, of Pasadena, Texas, died after eating a Pixy Stick that was found to contain potassium cyanide poison. His father attempted to blame one of the houses they’d trick-or-treated at, but he couldn’t remember which one or any details beyond a “hairy arm.” It was later found that Richard, his father, had taken out a significant life insurance policy on the boy just days before Halloween and had asked coworkers where to buy cyanide.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“13 Facts You Never Knew About Halloween” Megan Willett, Business Insider. October 2013.

“8 Super Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween” Staff writer, Huffington Post. October 2014.

“The History of Halloween and Its Postcards” S&C ETC., Past & Present. October 2014.

“The most popular Halloween candy in every state” Leanna Garfield, Business Insider. October 2016.

“Americans will spend $350 million on Halloween costumes. For their pets.” Lou Carlozo, Christian Science Monitor. October 2015.

“I’m Wiccan and This is What Halloween Means to Me” Emma Cueto, Bustle. October 2013.

“Rare Halloween Black Moon Explained” Victoria Jaggard, National Geographic. October 2016.

“Ask Tom: How often is there a full moon on Halloween?” Tom Skilling, Chicago Tribune. October 2015.

“If You Want to Adopt a Black Cat, You May Have to Wait Until Halloween Is Over” Danny Lewis, Smithsonian. October 2016.