Joel Best, a University of Delaware sociology and criminal-justice professor, said he studied newspaper articles from around the country in the search for the origin of an urban legend about a child collapsing after eating poisoned Skittles he was given for Halloween, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Wednesday.
"I couldn't find anything," he said. "There was one kid that was poisoned by his father for insurance money, and he just assumed that was happening all the time, and no one would ever suspect him."
Best said four reported incidents of children harmed by tainted candy were later retracted by the newspapers when further evidence emerged.
"Halloween is supposed to be a scary holiday," Best said. "We stopped believing in ghosts and goblins, but we still believe in criminals. It sort of updates our fears."
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