Halloween Follow-Up — by YOU

Hi Readers! I’ve been behind in my emails and just found this cool idea. Comes from a gal named Catherine. Let’s do it!

Dear Free-Range Kids: How about a post-Halloween column where you challenge your readers to scan their local news and post ANY violent incidents that happened at Halloween?

I just scanned my local news and there was nothing (not surprisingly). It would be interesting to see if your readers can find even ONE.

As a journalist, if I was working for one of the big stations or papers that’s the story I’d be running today:  “Stats show no trick-or-treat tragedies.”

So, readers: Pile on! Anything truly SCARY that happened in your neck of the woods? Or just a lot of candy, costumes and kids? — L.

87 Responses

  1. Unfortunately we had a Halloween horror story in LA – complete with candy strewn across the street…

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/11/3-year-old-trick-or-treater-in-hospital-after-halloween-hit-and-run.html

  2. I am sad for the family and child but also sad about the way the story was reported.

  3. I’m a free range supporter and easily found more bad news than I cared to: http://www.indystar.com/article/20101101/LOCAL0103/11010325/-1/7daysarchives/Arrest-prompts-warnings-about-online-predators and http://www.indystar.com/article/20101101/NEWS02/11010368/-1/7daysarchives/8-month-old-suffers-facial-burns-in-fireplace

    If this exercise was supposed to reassure me it didn’t; I thought Halloween was rather uneventful but the newspapers (as per usual) carry stories of grief to delight the prurient

  4. Our local news station did a brief segment on “keeping safe” at Halloween – and it wasn’t alarmist! We had a dentist reminding kids to brush after they stuff themselves with their loot, and a local sheriff’s deputy talking about how the greatest danger at Halloween is tripping on your costume and falling on your face, so shorten your costume and watch where you’re walking!

    That was it! I’m so proud of them!

    I had 400 kids come by. Ran out of candy 20 minutes before the end of Trick or Treat, and ran out of spiced wine 10 minutes after that! No tragedies, no kidnappings, no poisoned candy, just a steady stream of superheroes and zombies looking for a handout. It was pretty awesome.

  5. The small community where I grew up had two:

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50578507-76/car-mitchell-black-dark.html.csp

    Talking to people from home, the details seem a little shaky on both, but still…

  6. No tragedies here, despite the many groups of kids I saw out trick or treating without adult accompaniment.

  7. Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound glib. The two other stories linked above are indeed tragic and upsetting.

  8. All quiet here. Even the college kids in the rental house across the street were in bed by 10 (and that NEVER happens).

  9. I live in Detroit so there were lots of fires (although less than in the past). Nothing involving kids though.

  10. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013297423_redmondcase30m.html

    On Oct. 31, 2008, the 24-year-old software programmer hosted more than two dozen people who rotated between her apartment and three others, said Redmond police Detective Brian Coats.

    Among the people she met that night was a man who, unbeknown to her, was a violent sex offender, Coats said.

    Hours later, the same man broke down Jinaga’s door, gagged and raped her, and then strangled her, Coats said. The man then poured motor oil he found inside her home and caustic chemicals on her body in an apparent effort to conceal evidence, police said.

  11. Not local, but in Atlanta a 17 year old was shot after egging someones Mercedes.

    http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2010/11/prankster_shot_dead_after_eggi.html

  12. In the Chicago burbs, there were needles found in candy. The paper was pretty low-key about it – just recommended parents check candy before the kids eat it. I’m guessing that’s how it was discovered in the first place, since we’ve been told about that one since we were kids. First time I’ve ever heard of it actually happening though, I’m happy to say.

  13. A quick local scan reveals some adult-on-adult crime, including one murder. Nothing involving kids, tho. I guess the guys in the windowless vans took the night off.

  14. Sadly we did have a violent incident in San Francisco. A 3-year old and her grandfather were shot on the way home from trick or treating.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/11/02/BAH51G4UFP.DTL

    This wasn’t stranger danger or anything like that, it was just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it’s still really sad.

  15. Nothing in my area although I was disheartened by the large number of parents that I saw excorting their teenage children trick or treating. And also the couple of people we saw who were driving door-to-door – parent stayed in the van driving while the kids hopped out and went to the door and then got back in the van.

  16. The worst I heard about in my own neck of the woods was your run-of-the-mill vandalism and eggings, probably done by kids.

  17. I was going to mention the one in LA, for it was the only one I heard of on Halloween night. But from what I’ve heard children being hit by cars skyrockets on Halloween which is more of an issue with kids being taught proper rules of crossing streets than anything.

  18. http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/tampered-candy-schaumburg-trick-or-treating-halloween-report-20101101

    I wonder if they are still investigating these needles in candy though. I remember that most of the time it turns out that the kids or the parents did it as a hoax AFTER they got it from a house.

  19. http://www.kgun9.com/Global/story.asp?S=13423578

    Not sure if this counts as ‘violent’ or not, but this is the real danger of Halloween. A 6-year-old boy was struck by a car on Halloween night.

  20. The only incident I heard about in the greater Houston area (population about six million) was one child struck by a car in Galveston County.

    http://galvestondailynews.com/story/187598/

  21. Yeah…a local man decided that he didn’t want kids in his yard, so he loosed his dog to attack any of them that ventured onto his lawn. And when the parents tried to take matters into their own hands he attacked the parents with a utility knife. By the time the police arrived, three people needed to be hospitalized!

  22. There were two separate shootings in my hometown, Syracuse NY. One of the shootings occurred on the regular path of Trick or Treating we took for a dozen years.

    http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/syracuse_police_identify_teens.html

  23. My daughter tripped and fell, and it was all my fault. I encouraged her to cross the street “fast, fast, fast!” as I always do, but I forgot that she isn’t usually wearing a cardboard box. Down — boom! But she seems to have forgiven me.

  24. One has to wonder why the parents and kids did’nt just respect the man’s wishes and stay out of his yard.

  25. I think I’ve got the winner (no offense to all the poor folks who were murdered, etc.): worms in candy!

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700078037/Woman-says-worms-found-in-Halloween-candy.html

    Provo isn’t my neck-of-the-woods any more, but this was passed on by a friend via FB. (Thanks, Yvonne)

  26. A girl was bitten by a dog here–that was front-page news.

  27. “Anything truly SCARY that happened in your neck of the woods? Or just a lot of candy, costumes and kids?”

    Isn’t the idea of millions of eight-year-olds hyped up on oversugared candy truly scary enough?
    🙂

  28. This happened nearby. Not the neighborhood that I would take my kids to anyhow…people on housing authority don’t have money to spare for Halloween. Looks like it was gang related.

    Otherwise, nothing that I could see – I did see lots of teens out in groups without parents, and everyone was behaving! (even without parents, on Halloween!)

    http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2010/11/02/1234408/shooting-updatepolice-name-person.html

    The Kennewick Police Department is looking for Cameron Orlando in connection with the Halloween night shooting at the Kennewick Housing Authority, on 4th Place near Tacoma Street.

    Kennewick Police officers responded Sunday to Kennewick General Hospital after receiving a report of 15-year-old juvenile male with a gunshot wound. During their investigation officers were able to determine that the incident occurred at the Kennewick Housing Authority.

    The shooting victim was treated and released from the hospital.

    The incident is believed to be related to criminal gang activity.

    Anyone who may have witnessed the shooting is encouraged to call non-emergency dispatch (628-0333) or CrimeStoppers (586-TIPS) with any information.

    Read more: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2010/11/02/1234408/shooting-updatepolice-name-person.html#ixzz14FUzGiCg

  29. My neighborhood is one where people drive in to do their trick or treating. Instead of parking in one spot and walking this year (even though the weather was lovely), parents were following their kids down the street in cars. I’m not surprised at all that some kids were hit if this is common practice around the country.

  30. I was in my sister’s town (Richmond, VA) for Halloween. It was an obnoxious mess of people creeping down the street in their cars while the kids ran to & from the cars with their loot.

  31. Only issue in our area was too many parents following their kids in cars, and one family having the kids get in and out of the car at each house. Oh, and I ran out of candy for the first time ever, but I didn’t know this neighborhood was quite so much THE place for people to drive to in this area for ToT.

  32. A local nutjob threatened some costumed kids with a stick, calling them “demons”, then was nearly shot when he threatened the police responding to the incident.

  33. Nationwide- these incidents do not sound alarmingly massive. How many kids would have gotten hit by cars or had parties or such on any other given Friday Night or such? All and all – we had a great night – car troubles – and all the dads trick or treating came by and threw in their two cents worth, they added them all up to a buck and we were off to home.🙂

  34. I live in a tiny resort town where it is difficult to trick or treat because only 1 in 5 homes is occupied this time of year. So this year we took the kids to a nearby town (population about 48,000) to trick or treat. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only were there hundreds of kids out but some of the older ones were without parents. And the best part was most of it took place after dark! So I am happy to report no tragedies and that Halloween is alive and well in my neck of the woods.

  35. Our kids plus some friends had an awesome time trick or treating in our very kid-friendly neighbourhood. There were tonnes of kids out this year including many groups of school aged kids on their own, which was great to see.

    The one tragedy which was noted in our papers was the horrible story of a 14 year old boy who blew part of his hand off and was severely burned while playing with firecrackers. I can’t help but wonder if eliminating kid’s access to fire and matches when they’re young, then turning them loose when they reach the age where they’re supposed to magically become responsible (over 13, according to the “experts”) contributes to tragedies like this.

  36. deanne… when I was a kid, there was an old man that my family knew. He took me fishing (without anyone else in the family with us – imagine!) and we caught tumbleweeds… ya, grew up in Kansas. Anyways, he only had part of one of his hands due to a firecracker in his youth. He was so old he probably remembered when fire was invented, so limited access to things like that had nothing to do with it. He was always an object lesson to us kids in the community about the dangers of firecrackers – we were reminded each year, before given firecrackers to play with. I’m happy to report, he’s the only one I’ve ever known to have a fire cracker incident. All of us kids still have all of our body parts. Accidents happen, not always due to negligence and not always due to lack of exposure when they were younger.

  37. @Marcy – We had that same thing happening in our suburban neighborhood but it wasn’t just the parents who drove their kids in, residents followed their kids, too.

    On a FRK note… my kids ran ahead of the adult walking with them and when the grownups commented that “something bad could happen” My oldest cherub (age 9) responded with “Really? 99 percent of people are good, and I am going to trust that everyone is out to have a good time. Besides, you know my mom, she wants me to be independent!” The dad laughed when he told me about it….AND then said maybe he should let his kids be more independent too. He likes the confidence my guys have. AWESOME!!!

  38. i opened up the links to all the stories of halloween night tradgedies…and the children were ALWAYS accompanied by an adult. I didn’t see any stories of unaccompanied children getting hit by cars. So either there WERE no unaccompanied children (which would be sad), or the ones that were trick-or-treating without an adult have been taught how to use a cross-walk and cross the street safely by their free range parents😉

  39. Nothing happened here, just a lot of candy. Actually, when we went trick or treating (around 8:30 p.m.) I didn’t see anyone else doing it at all. Maybe they went during the daylight–woo pee. The kids we took, who had never been apparently, stated it was the most fun they had ever had.

    As for the guy who loosed his dog to go after kids on the lawn? I can’t support that. Even if he didn’t want them around, he could’ve expressed it more nicely and appropriately. It would’ve served him right if he loosed it in the presence of someone with a concealed gun permit & they shot the dog dead.

    LRH

  40. In Tucson: http://www.kgun9.com/Global/story.asp?S=13423578

    But I agree with the point above regarding kids getting hit by cars on any other day. And this child was with an adult and other children.

  41. Ummm, our only tragedy was that we ran out of candy at 8:30pm. Eeeeeek. Never has happened before.

    No other tragedies to report, just lots of happy campers.

  42. I hate that this actually happened, thought it was an urban myth… I guess that’s why parents should insist that candy be inspected before it’s eaten.

    http://www.theprovince.com/health/Razor+blade+found+Delta+Halloween+treat/3767205/story.html

  43. Another good year here, lots of kids out, for the most part, in our old neighborhood, sans parents. There were the few odd who felt the need to drive down the street, but for the most part, kids over about 9 out in groups, and parents lining the sidewalks, trying to discern their little ghouls from the other little ghouls as they came back down the dark walks.

    Kid got an entire pumpkin bucket of candy, which I happily let him do in on Monday. All gone! Apparently he wants to be Batman next Halloween…

    Love kids’ sense of time.

  44. Actually that was exactly the headline in the paper the next day, “Police Beat Halloween: An Eerily Calm Night in the Rivertowns”

  45. Okay, the razor blade is weird, but I must point out re: the story about the worms in the candy…how the heck is that Wal-Mart’s fault? It sounds like the manufacturer’s fault to me! I think that’s part of the problem in the country these days…misplaced blame and going after the wrong source.

  46. It’s always good to know nothing happened on Halloween, as it nothing happens every year. Unfortunately, that’s not going to change fearful people’s minds. They will ALWAYS have the “what if” in their heads. Until they grow out of that, they will always be trapped in their own minds, and their children will be in there with them. Sad.

  47. Hi all, I’m the Catherine who suggested the followup story, thanks so much Lenore for posting it and to everyone who replied!
    I’ve looked at all the links and it’s quite interesting to see what happened across the country.
    In summary, it looks like the fear of sexual predators and child attacks is largely misfounded; that tragedies such as shootings can occur any night of the year if you’re out after dark in the wrong place; and, as Lenore pointed out earlier in the week, the biggest danger is kids getting hit by cars crossing the street.
    Oh, and unfortunately there appears to be a need to check the candy, but that’s really only common sense.
    I’m in Australia, and we don’t really have the same emphasis on Halloween here, but we’re catching up fast!

  48. I was getting all worried from the scary articles you guys have posted, and then Lorien made a point that brought me back to sanity – in all the Halloween tragedies posted, the kids were accompanied by adults! So obviously the adult supervision isn’t helping things, so why make Halloween yet another strictly supervised activity when it doesn’t seem to have a benefit?

  49. I was surprised by the razor blade in apple story too.
    http://www.theprovince.com/life/Razor+blade+found+Delta+Halloween+treat/3767205/story.html
    Also in BC: a fireworks store caught on fire — cause so far unknown. There were a number of deliberately set fires.
    http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Highrise+fire+contained+fireworks+store+destroyed/3762739/story.html
    Our neighbourhood is very into Halloween — we had a great time, no trouble here.

  50. There was one, just a few blocks away from my house where two guys were shot and the Sheriff’s dept had to pursue the suspect.. that’s about it

  51. But I should add that it had nothing to do with “stranger danger” or anything of that sort… just an adult confrontation gone really bad.

  52. Amanda: My understanding is that needles, razor blades, etc. in candy isn’t a new phenomenon, but that the perpetrators are almost always teenagers (sometimes siblings of the kid with the apple/candy) and that the candy wasn’t tampered with until after it had been collected.

  53. All quiet in Oakland.

    I opted to take my 3-year-old alone trick-or-treating, rather than in a large pack, which is pretty common at that age.

    She is very conversational, and often spent up to 4 or 5 minutes at a house, talking with the candy-givers.

    After the first few homes, she didn’t even want me coming to the door with her. “You stay on the sidewalk, Dada,” she said, “I want to do this lonely [her word for ‘alone’ right now].”

    She did great.

  54. Our Halloween in Lincoln was great! The weather was a bit cool, but the kids stayed warm running from house to house. And rather than fret over the kids tripping over their costumes, we adults made imaginary bets on which kid would trip first! (No one was hurt, only 5 minor tumbles in all and a bit of spilled candy.)🙂

    Best part: my 4-year old overcame her fear of “the man in the mask” who has haunted her since last Halloween, and went up to some spooky houses with only the company of her big sister and younger cousin.
    All in all, a wonderful (and lucrative!) Halloween.

  55. But isn’t that the thing: _if_ there had been one incident, than _that_ would be big news? Non-news, unfortunately, are no news.

    So long,
    Corinna

  56. Got swarmed unexpectedly (I think we got the wash from the nearby elementary school) and ran out of candy 20 minutes in. Still, Halloween here (WA. state) was nice and peaceful.

  57. Nothing here. I can’t believe the stories about kids getting shot… I know it could have happened any night, and they had adult supervision, but it’s shocking to me that it happens at all. I feel so sheltered- but not in a bad way, really.

    Nothing happened around here. Too many parents driving kids to every driveway on a street instead of getting out and walking for a block or two, but no tragedies from that. The police were out and very visible, but that was entirely for the benefit of the known troublemakers who also had a very visible presence in town that evening/ the people who come whipping along the main street at 20 over the sped limit. It’s drivers that scare me on Halloween, not boogeymen.

    This was the first year my 2-year old was out. He tried to go into every house we went to, and at a few he got to the living room and tried to take his boots off. People got a laugh out of that!

  58. I found one:

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/valleynewsdispatch/s_706919.html

    This dentist is trying to buy back kid’s candy. I can think of nothing more sinister.

  59. Nothing to report from Central Mississippi. Happily, I plan to turn my 9 year old out on the street next year for trick or treats. There were TONS of kids out when we got back from the Halloween ‘carnival’. 2011 sees us skipping the soirée and hitting the streets.

  60. Christina, the needles in the candy-bar incident in Chicago area WAS a hoax. Check it out:
    http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/11/schaumburg-police-halloween-snickers-candy-needle-felony-cook-county.html

  61. I could not find any either. But the sad part is the media coverage that involkes fear means less and less kids are trick or treating, at least in my neck of the woods. Maybe it is different in the burbs, but here in Oakland, SF, Berkeley etc- so few kids come by. I find it sad.

    LIly

  62. Ann B, thanks for reporting the followup on the needles in the candy being a hoax. Seems this is often the case – but only reported several days after Halloween.

  63. Sean, it’s my understanding that dentist buy-back programs send the candy to the troops – people who, unlike me, get free dental.

  64. No incidents here. One thing I notice in retrospect: there weren’t any parents following in vehicles. Years ago, that was common around here. So maybe people have gotten a bit wiser. It seems terribly unsafe to be cruising around watching your kid while other kids may dash in front of your vehicle.

    There was at least one group of young teens prowling about in costumes. Nobody bothered them and they certainly didn’t bother anyone.

    My kids get so much candy every year, we donate most of it to a charity. Even after the donation, I don’t know how my kids could eat all their candy and remain alive. (My name is SKL, and I am a candy rationer.)

  65. Two things… I posted about the first one on another thread: http://www.globaltvbc.com/Razor+blade+found+candy/3767247/story.html Candy bar with exacto knife. I still think she did it for attention.
    Just watching the news tonight, it isn’t even on the website yet, but another contaminent was found. This time, a needle in another candy bar. ARGH!!! Once again, I believe it was done for attention.

  66. Here in DC/MD/VA the only thing I heard of was a father doing a hit and run on his wife and child as they were trick or treating. Can’t seem to find a news story though.

  67. I found the needle link. http://www.theprovince.com/life/Steel+needle+found+Ladner+Halloween+candy/3779818/story.html

    seriously – I would put good money down that this was done as a prank/for attention by the boy in question. Or by his parents trying to get Hallowe’en banned.

  68. In Wichita, a little girl dressed as a princess was used as a decoy to mug people.

    And an article about why Halloween is good for you:
    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=608975

    And 76 arrests for DUI.

  69. I am happy(?) to report that the needles incident in the Chicago suburb has now proven to be a hoax. A 16 years old boy put the needles in his own candy in an attempt to get attention from his family. His father took it at face value and reported it to the police. So, no children were at risk after all, which is good, but my heart does go out to this kid…

  70. I live in DC and had an incident free Halloween unless you count my husband accidentally locking us both out of the house! Luckily our landlord lives nearby and got over to us in less than 20 minutes to let us into our apartment.

  71. This just appeared as “Breaking News” in my local paper – the horrors – trying to prevent teen pregnancy!

    CONDOMS: Oregon trick-or-treaters get surprises
    By The Associated Press

    SILVERTON, Ore. — Some teenage trick-or-treaters received condoms in their bags on Halloween in Silverton.

    Daniel and Kathleen Harris told The Statesman Journal the free condoms were part of their effort to promote health. They also handed out toothbrushes and candy bars.

    The father of one 14-year-old girl who received the condoms, Daniel Cote, was offended and said it was inappropriate to give them to children without the parents’ consent.

    Kathleen Harris said giving the condoms to the 14-year-old was a mistake. She said their usual practice is to ask teens if they’re 16 or older and to give them a speech on safe sex.

  72. No tragedies, but this is a bit of a heartwarming Halloween story:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/opinion/31stine.html?_r=1&hp

    Kids being kids.😀

  73. Controversy over Missouri’s sex offender Halloween law laid to rest
    « on: Today at 06:53:15 AM »QuoteControversy over Missouri’s sex offender Halloween law laid to rest

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7992/is_20101028/ai_n56194328/

    The specter of police trying to catch registered sex offenders in the act of passing out Halloween candy to young ghosts and goblins no longer frightens all of the state’s offenders.

    Sex offenders convicted before a 2008 law restricting their Halloween activities took effect are free from the edicts of the law. The law requires sex offenders to stay inside their homes from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Halloween, unless required to be somewhere else, turn off outside lights and post a sign that says, “No candy or treats at this residence.” The law also restricts sex offenders’ travel, except for certain work or emergency situations. Failure to comply with the law is a Class A misdemeanor.

    Several sex offenders, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, challenged the constitutional ity of the law in federal courts in Missouri, and in November 2008 a St. Charles man was charged for violating the law. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson dismissed a challenge pending in her court.

    The St. Charles Circuit Court dismissed the case against Charles Raynor, and last January the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the decision and said the law is unconstitution ally retrospective as it was applied to Raynor.

    After the state Supreme Court issued its decision, the state filed a motion to dismiss the challenge pending in the Western District of Missouri on the basis that the issue was moot. In their motion, the defendants conceded that the law cannot be applied against those convicted before Aug. 28, 2008.

    U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey dismissed the case in May, and earlier this month she granted the challenger’s motion for attorneys fees and costs totaling $2,862.50. The challenger, a John Doe, had won a temporary restraining order against applying the law to him on Halloween 2009.

  74. http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/11/01/2142099/boy-5-critically-wounded-in-backyard.html

    This boy was shot while out playing in his Halloween costume. He died the following day.

  75. OK, that just jogged my memory of the Asian exchange student shot to death on Halloween night in Louisana, dressed as John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever – he knocked on the wrong door, expecting to attend a Halloween party when he was shot to death after the wife screamed at her husband to “Git yer gun”.

    No sex offenders, just GOOD upstanding citizens “Pertecking” their property.

  76. http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/11/01/halloween.slaying.ap/index.html

    SUMTER, South Carolina (AP) — A 12-year-old boy trick-or-treating with his family in central South Carolina was shot from inside a home Friday and killed, and his father and brother were wounded by the gunfire, authorities said.

    The shooting suspect, Quentin Patrick, was in custody, a jail official said. Patrick, 22, has been charged with murder and three counts of assault and battery with intent to kill. The jail official said she didn’t know whether Patrick had an attorney and his telephone number was unpublished.

    The family was headed home from a city-sponsored event downtown when they decided to stop at a few homes, Sumter Police Chief Patty Patterson said. The father and his four children approached a home with a porch light on about 8:30 p.m. EDT while their mother waited nearby in a vehicle.

    As the family was at the door, they thought they heard fireworks. The 12-year-old boy, his father and brother were all hit by the gunfire. The boy died at a hospital, Coroner Verna Moore said. The other two children were not hurt.

    The boy’s father and brother were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities have not released the identity of the family.

    Patterson also would not release any more details about the shooting.

    “The investigation is continuing into what has been a very tragic evening,” Patterson said. “Our sorrow and sympathy goes out to this family.”

    The police chief said there were other people inside the home at the time of the shooting, but she didn’t expect any of them to be charged.

    A neighbor said he heard a loud noise about the time of the shooting and thought it was simply Halloween mischief.

    “I thought, trick-or-treat night — pranks go down. Anything goes,” said Lenwood Dixon, 49, who works at a hazardous waste and recycling company. “I heard a noise like maybe gunfire, then my daughter saw a bunch of lights flashing and saw some cops.”

    In his six years in the neighborhood, he said he wasn’t aware of any violent crimes. He said a few trick-or-treaters had been on his block that night.

    “I’m surprised. Since I was here, I’d never heard of anything like that happening. It’s a quiet neighborhood,” he said. “You don’t see many children in the neighborhood. It’s more elderly.”

  77. Yoshi Hattori
    Born in Nagoya, Japan to Masaichi and Mieko Hattori, Yoshihiro was 16 years old when he went to Baton Rouge as part of the AFS student exchange program; he had also received a scholarship from the Morita Foundation for his trip. He was the middle child between a brother and a sister, and was described as a gregarious teen who played on his high school rugby team and loved fishing.

    Two months into his stay in the United States, he received an invitation, along with Webb Haymaker, his homestay brother, to a Halloween party organized for Japanese exchange students on October 17, 1992. Hattori went dressed in a tuxedo in imitation of John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever. Upon their arrival in the quiet working class neighborhood where the party was held, the boys mistook the Peairs’ residence for their intended destination due to the similarity of the address and the Halloween decorations on the outside of the house, and proceeded to step out of their car and walk to the front door.

    Hattori and Haymaker rang the front doorbell but, seemingly receiving no response, began to walk back to their car. Meanwhile, inside the house, their arrival had not gone unnoticed. Bonnie Peairs had peered out the side door and saw them. Mrs. Peairs, startled, retreated inside, locked the door, and said to her husband, “Rodney, get your gun.” Hattori and Haymaker were walking to their car when the carport door was opened again, this time by Mr. Peairs. He was armed with a loaded and cocked .44 magnum revolver. He pointed it at Hattori, and yelled “Freeze.” Simultaneously, Hattori, likely thinking he said “please,” stepped back towards the house, saying “We’re here for the party.” Haymaker, seeing the weapon, shouted after Hattori, but Peairs fired his weapon at point blank range at Hattori, hitting him in the chest, and then ran back inside. (Kernodle 2002; Fujio 2004; Harper n.d.) Haymaker rushed to Hattori, badly wounded and lying where he fell, on his back. Haymaker ran to the home next door to the Peairs’ house for help. Neither Mr. Peairs nor his wife came out of their house until the police arrived, about 40 minutes after the shooting. Mrs. Peairs shouted to a neighbor to “go away” when the neighbor called for help. One of Peairs’ children later told police that her mother asked, “Why did you shoot him?”

    The shot had pierced the upper and lower lobes of Hattori’s left lung, and exited through the area of the seventh rib; he died in the ambulance minutes later, from loss of blood.[1]

  78. This particular “halloween” story impacted my own life on a very personal basis – The attorney we chose to defend my son’s false accusation came highly recommended, having won not one, but TWO aquittals for a man also falsely accused of sexual abuse by a child.

    I couldn’t understand why this attorney dragged his feet and made NO attempt to prove our son’s innocence, however apparent it was. He had come SOOO hjighly recommended!

    It wasn’t until the day my son was released from detention for a crime he was forced into accepting a horrific plea bargain for that his attorney related the ‘ending’ of his “success” story. “Oh? Didn’t I tell you this already?”

    Tacoma, 1989 — Kaare and Judy Sortland were arrested on charges of molesting 14 children at their Hugs & Kisses Day Care Center. In May 1990, they were prosecuted on charges against one child. A jury found them innocent. In November 1990, after a second trial that lasted eight weeks, charges against the couple for sexually assaulting two 5-year-old boys were dismissed.

    Superior Court Judge Albert Morrison said two psychologists had inappropriately enhanced the two boys’ memories. The judge said the psychologists who elicited accusations were biased by the $28,500 each would receive from the state for treating the children.

    In a tragic postscript, on Halloween night two years later, Kaare Sortland was shot six times and killed on the front lawn of his house. Just before the shooting, Judy Sortland heard her husband of 30 years yell, “I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it!”

    The Halloween night murder of Kaare Sortland has never been solved.

  79. I decided to scroll the comments, expecting to read a bunch of fluff about kids fighting over Snickers bars. But now, I’m scared of NEXT Halloween! Thanks for instilling fear that wasn’t there before! LOL

    My Halloween was uneventful, as always. We *gasp* entered someone’s house to get candy. And we were already about 1/2 way through our kids’ bag-o-treats (don’t get mad, we shared with our kids!) before we thought about taking our candy to the police department to be x-rayed for needles (I don’t know if they still do it, but I remember they offered it as a “service” when I was a kid). It prompted a conversation about it, and we all came to the conclusion the needle thing was an urban legend that went out of hand.

  80. I enjoyed Halloween even more after reading your book. You wouldn’t believe the surprised looks I got from parents when I told them that there’s never been a real incident of some random candy poisoning in a neighborhood, that it really became an urban myth. I think everyone started to realize how we’ve been brainwashed to be freaked out by apples and candy given out by our neighbors. And recently the emails being forwarded around with the warning about water bottles after some girl got her tongue stuck in one. Really? It’s so wonderful to have this filter in my head now when this fear and paranoia is created. There will always be weird random incidents, some real, some made up. But as you so astutely point out, let’s teach our kids about real dangers and create resilient kids. Thank you!

  81. Alleged meth in 4-year-old’s candy: http://www.kcbd.com/Global/story.asp?S=13441329

  82. ejly, on November 4, 2010 at 00:44 said:
    I’m a free range supporter and easily found more bad news than I cared to: http://www.indystar.com/article/20101101/LOCAL0103/11010325/-1/7daysarchives/Arrest-prompts-warnings-about-online-predators and http://www.indystar.com/article/20101101/NEWS02/11010368/-1/7daysarchives/8-month-old-suffers-facial-burns-in-fireplace
    If this exercise was supposed to reassure me it didn’t; I thought Halloween was rather uneventful but the newspapers (as per usual) carry stories of grief to delight the prurient

    _____

    That could have happened on any cold night. The father left a child alone near an open fire to get a construction tool, having absultely nothing to do with Halloween.

  83. I am a little late, but better late than never.

    Nothing that wouldn’t happen any other day. There were some seemingly random shootings in a rough neighbourhood just before Halloween, so most of the families there either took their kids to a safer one for trick or treating, or just had small gatherings. We had a good number of kids come over to my street, but ridiculously low for the amount of schools near us(5!), and saw mostly young teens. Around 7:30pm (sad!) people were handing my son and I PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS OF CANDY! Because not enough kids showed up.

  84. In fact, I had to cut the trip the short because there was no way we’d be able to eat it all.

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