Every year in the days leading up to Halloween, we all see, hear and read about the supposed dangers of trick-or-treating.  Stories of candy laced with rat poison, or razor blades, or sewing needles.  Oh my!  What's a parent to do in the midst of all that danger?

Here's good news that may cheer you up.  None of those stories are true. They're all urban myths.  Really.

These myths started in the early 1970s after a Houston area child died after eating Halloween  candy that had been laced with cyanide.  His father said it happened after they got home from trick-or-treating.

It turned out the man had poisoned his own child to collect life insurance money.  He was convicted of capital murder and executed in 1984, but the fear of poison Halloween candy he created is still with us today. He's still known as "the man who killed Halloween."

This fear is needless, because outside that one instance, there has never been a genuine credible verifiable case of poisoned Halloween candy. Not one. There are always rumors of course, but it always seems to happen to the rumor-monger's relative, or someone he knew or had heard about in the next town.

No one has ever been able to track the rumor and find the alleged poison candy or the alleged poisoner. The National Confectioners Association, which set up a Halloween Hotline to take reports of tampered candy, says it has never been able to verify a single instance of tampering.

For a time in the 1980s and 1990s, some police departments and hospitals offered to X-Ray trick-or-treat bags to spot metal or other foreign objects. They stopped doing that for two reasons.

First, they never found any foreign objects.  Second, hospitals X-Raying the candy realized the liability they were exposing themselves to if they declared it to be safe, only to have a child come down sick later.

The lesson here is that it's always smart to go trick or treating with your children, and be careful about sugar and fat content in what they eat afterwards.  That's just good parenting, but spare yourself the fear and worry about something worse that has never happened.