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Fact or fiction? Breaking down the dangers of Halloween

Posted at 9:44 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 13:16:42-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every year we hear scary stories about what happens on this haunted night. We set out to find what's true and what's just a bunch of hocus-pocus.

Candy tampering: Fact

Just last week an Ohio police department posted pictures of candy a mother brought to the station after finding a needle inside.

Several similar cases made the news in Wisconsin over the past few years.

However, reports of strangers poisoning candy and giving it to children on Halloween have been shown to be tall tales.

The University of Kansas Health System Poison Control Center sees more issues with non-food items like dry ice and glow sticks.

"As we know, a lot of things tend to go in little ones' mouths," Poison Control Educator Stefanie Baines said. "So they bite and chew the glow stick, and it either gets in their eyes, in their mouth or on their skin, and that can be slightly irritating."

The center also gets calls about allergic reactions from makeup, which is why experts recommend testing it on a small patch of skin before full application.

The University of Kansas Health System Poison Control Center welcomes questions and can be reached at 1-800-222-1222.

Most Dangerous Night of the Year for Children: Fact and Fiction

This claim includes both fact and fiction depending on which factors you examine.

A study from a pediatric journal found the odds a pedestrian will be hit and killed by a car are 43 percent higher on Halloween night than during similar time periods one week before or after.

While fear of that danger is based in reality, others are tenuous.

Despite the fear surrounding sex offenders, national crime data reveals no specific spike in sex crimes before or after Halloween. There's also no evidence that kidnappings increase around the holiday.

You can be scared to death: Fact

Dr. Andrew Sauer, University of Kansas Health System Heart Failure program director, said "traumatic events" can affect people psychologically and physically.

Sauer said fear or excitement can negatively impact vulnerable patients, like those who already have heart disease or heart failure. Abrupt episodes can lead to sudden cardiac death or cardiomyopathy, but it's unlikely to occur from just Halloween hijinks.