If you’re anything like my parents, you’ll sift through your kids’ bag of loot Halloween night, examining each piece for potential tampering. Some eagle-eyed moms and dads may even be on the lookout for drugs disguised as candy from unscrupulous neighbors. Every year or so it seems there’s a new danger to look out for — needles in chocolate bars, cannabis lollipops, or ecstasy that looks like sugar candy. This year, let’s set the record straight on what to keep an eye out for, and how everyone can stay safe while having spooky fun.

The Claim: Naughty Neighbors Give Kids Drugs

In recent years, there have been claims of dubious tricksters sneaking substances costumed as candy into trick-or-treat bags across the country. Things like THC-laced gummy bears or cartoon-shaped “Molly” pills have all made the rounds on Facebook, warnings parents about the dangers of those trying to trick youngsters into overdosing. With the influx of marijuana edibles, particularly in states like Colorado, parents should be on the lookout for candy that may pack a bit more than sugar. But the issue may not be as widespread as the internet would like you to believe.

The Reality: Kids Aren’t the Target Audience for Most Substances

While there may be a few bad seeds out there with the intentions of handing out substances to kids, most people aren’t looking to dispense drugs to minors, especially young children. In fact, the people most impacted by drugs are adults. Substance use and abuse can be social, but it is more often isolating, and not something that most want to share with children. But in the interest of public safety, many states and lawmakers are ensuring that kids stay safe on Halloween and all year. Colorado recently banned marijuana gummy bears and other edibles shaped like people and cartoon characters. It’s important to be vigilant to protect your children, but the people you should most worry about using drugs on Halloween aren’t the ones going door to door dressed as princesses or superheroes.

Picture displayed of trick-or-treater holding pumpkin shaped basket.

Keep an Eye Out

While the chances of your child receiving a trick instead of a treat are low, it’s still important to stay vigilant. After you’ve scoured the neighborhood for the house handing out the full-size candy bars, it’s not a bad idea to host a candy-checking party at the kitchen table before letting your little ones tear into their treasure. Mom and Dad might even be able to score a chocolate bar or two. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking through your kids’ haul:

  • Look for familiar brands and labels, discarding less-than-familiar alternatives
  • Ensure that wrappers are secure and have not been tinkered with
  • Toss out loose candy or homemade goods from neighbors you don’t know and trust

What (and Who) You Really Need to Watch Out For

It’s important to be mindful of little ones on Halloween to ensure their safety, but young adults are much more likely to overindulge on All Hallow’s Eve. Teens may also be at risk for binge drinking and dabbling in substances. You may have checked your children’s candy when they were little, but it’s even more important to openly discuss substance abuse with teens, college students and other loved ones to prevent dangerous overdoses and addictions. Although little ones might not have to worry about colorful ecstasy pills or edibles, teens (and even adults) might encounter these seemingly tempting substances.

If your teen or college student is attending a Halloween party this October, talk to them about making smart choices, including:

  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol whenever possible (especially minors)
  • Having a designated driver (for those old enough to drink)
  • Watching their drinks to ensure there’s no tampering
  • Knowing who they’ll be with and where they’ll be

There are plenty of ways to have Halloween fun without drugs and alcohol, for both kids and adults. Whether you’re spending Halloween with the family, or living it up with your friends, stay safe and healthy for a fun-filled night of memories.

The Recovery Village wishes you an evening filled with frightfully good treats and few tricks. But if the party goes too far, you don’t have to be overcome by a haunting addiction. With trained medical staff, clinical professionals and a host of wellness activities, The Recovery Village can help you redefine the meaning of a good time with substance abuse treatment designed with recovery in mind. Call 352.771.2700 today to learn more about customizing a personal development plan so that by next Halloween, you’ll be ready to have a ghoulish good time without the dastardly consequences of substance abuse.   

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