Now they've gone too far.
You just came home from trick-or-treating
. You pour out your candy all over the floor, looking over your hoard.
"Now, now, eat something healthy first. How about that apple Mr. Hick
Sighing, you take a bite into the apple, only to discover that there's something painful in your bite! You spit it out to discover that the apple's full of razor blades!
A trope common in Urban Legend
, this is when someone puts something sharp, pointy, or just unpleasant into someone's food
. Common objects to put in are pins, needles, and razor blades. Note that this is not
just for Halloween candy; this applies to all foods equally, but gifts tend to be prevalent.
Named for one of the major examples; apples filled with razor blades.
It should be noted that there has never
been a recorded straight instance of this happening; the World War II
example below aside, it is entirely
an Urban Legend
. There are
documented cases of persons attempting to invoke this trope, however.
Anime and Manga
- In the first arc of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Rena gives Keiichi a box of rice balls. The first one he bites into contains a sewing needle. But not really. It's actually Tabasco sauce, but Keiichi's escalating paranoia has started screwing with his (and the viewer's) perceptions.
- In I Luv Halloween, Finch fills an apple with razor blades after he and his friends were cheated out of their candy. He gives the apple to a cop. The result isn't pretty.
- In One Piece, Zoro and Sanji get into one of their usual fights. In an attempt to prove himself stronger than Sanji, Zoro states that if Sanji (the Team Chef) put blades and poison in his (Zoro's) food, he would be able to eat it without problems. Wordof God is that Sanji actually did it, and Zoro did eat it without problems.
- One of the stories in Halloween: 30 Years Of Terror had Michael put razor blades in candy, For the Evulz.
- Odd is on Our Side, a graphic novel based off the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz, has a miserly man sick of trick-or-treaters trampling his garden pass out candy laced with corn cockle seeds (a Class IV toxin). One kid dies. The worst part? The candy laced with said seeds: candy hearts, purchased on the cheap after Valentine's Day. He was such a bastard he didn't even poison good candy.
- Parodied in a Sam & Max comic when the duo find an entire razor sticking out of a kid's apple.
- In Hellblazer, when John gets locked up in prison, an inmate attempts to spike his food with ground glass. Tables get turned, but God? only knows how. Results are messy.
- The original Night of the Demons featured a frame story of this. A cranky old man is angered by children, and comes home on Halloween with a bag full of apples and razor blades. The final scene involved the old man sitting down for a breakfast of apple pie made by his wife. He only asks her after taking a few bites where she got the apples...
- Of course, Fridge Logic says that to make apple pie, you have to slice the apples.
- Of course, there's also Fridge Brilliance in that's how the wife found out and deliberately left the razors in there.
- In Trick 'r Treat, the Serial Killer principle puts poison in some of his candy. There's also Creepy Child Sam, who uses a razor-chocolate bar as a weapon in one scene.
- Also, as a nod to this trope, when Mr Kreeg falls down the stairs, they're littered with hypodermic needles, straight pins, shards of glass, razor blades and candy.
- In Candyman, during her first exploration of the "shrine" to Candyman at Cabrini Green, Helen finds a small heap of chocolates on the floor; one of them is found to contain a razor blade.
- In the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, third book, Thomas bites into an apple with a razor blade in it.
- In Slaughterhouse-Five, Paul Lazzaro boasts about killing a dog by feeding it a steak with razor-sharp pieces of a spring
- In The Ghost Squad and the Halloween Conspiracy, the eponymous group of ghosts has to deal with a man trying to sabotage his brother's political campaign by spiking Halloween chocolates with rusty phonograph needles.
- In Chuck Palahniuk's novel Rant, the main character's mother puts things like ceramic beads and tacks in all the food she cooks so that the people who are eating it have to eat it very slowly and carefully, and thus actually get a chance to enjoy the flavor, not just wolf it down.
- In Harry Potter, Hagrid's cooking is a bit questionable, Harry found a talon in his casseroles.
- Played with in J. R. R. Tolkien's novella Smith of Wootton Major: for the Feast of Good Children, a Great Cake is baked full of toys and prizes (like the "gatteau de roi" mentioned below in the Real Life section). One prize is a strange little star. Young Smith gets it in his slice of cake and swallows it, which later allows him to travel to Faery.
- In the beginning of the Firefly episode "War Stories," the crew is indulging in a box of fresh apples Jayne bought for them, when Kaylee asks Zoe why she always cuts them with a knife instead of biting in. She relates a story from the war, where the Alliance and Independent armies had a standoff, got to talking, and the Independents mentioned they had no food. The Alliance soldiers tossed over apples—which had "Griswold" grenades in them and before anyone realized it, "there's three guys just kind of end at the ribcage."
- In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Goes Home Again," Paul Gilstrap planned to use poisoned Neptune candy bars to cover the murder of his wife. Unfortunately, his employer caught him putting the poison back, which meant that the police would connect him to any tetrachlorodrine poisoning deaths, and he had to get all of the candy bars he had poisoned out of circulation. He failed to get one from an armored car driver who had purchased it and already taken a bite. Since Gilstrap knew that the poison was quick-acting, he caught up to the driver just before he collapsed from the poisoning. Gilstrap then grabbed the dying driver's gun and shot him five times at point-blank range, thinking the police would not do a toxicology on a shooting victim. Except Adrian finds a dead pigeon outside Gilstrap's house hours later while trick-or-treating with Julie.
- In an episode of Leverage, Sophie and Elliot are attempting to teach Parker the art of persuasion. She is told to persuade Elliot to give up his apple for her orange. She does so by claiming to have put a razor blade in the apple, just as Elliot takes a bite out of it, causing him to spit it out.
- There was an episode of The Commish where someone was giving out poisoned candy, so the title Commish had his son go out trick-or-treating, which they then tested one piece at a time as it was gotten. Turned out it was a neighbor of the Commish's.
- Supernatural did an episode where a man dies from razor blades in Halloween candy, in a supremely gory fashion.
- A Criminal Minds episodes had the psycho of the week place LSD and Rohypnol laced sweets into the bank candy bowl. Victims had psychotics episodes of rage, which they would subsequently have completely no memory of.
- In the Freaks and Geeks Halloween episode, the geeks discuss some of the foreign objects rumored to be hidden in the candy, including razors and pins, heroin, rat hair, and excrement. Later in the episode, Mrs. Weir attempts to hand out homemade cookies and is angrily rebuffed by another mom, who refuses to let her kids accept unwrapped treats due to the possibility of tampering.
- In the Bottom episode "Terror", Eddie and Richie get razor apples while out trick or treating. When Eddie questions why the razor blades are there, Richie tells him it's a "Halloween tradition".
- In Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman, a little girl is found dead after having an apple filled with razor blades shoved down her throat. Unfortunately for the protagonist, an author living in an unidentified totalitarian state, this is ripped from the text of one of his stories.
- Kingdom of Loathing's All-Hallow's Steve is that world's Anthropomorphic Personification of this trope. Naturally, you can only fight him on Halloween, during the trick-or-treating event.
- Ib: The story book Carrie Careless and the Galette des Rois tells of one particularly nasty subversion, where it isn't the eponymous Carrie swallowing/biting down on the object that is painful or deadly, but rather Carrie's best friend having to cut the object - actually a misplaced key - out of her stomach as the story's horrific conclusion. It's even creepier than it sounds.
- The WWII POW autobiography The Colditz Story relates how the clique of prisoners referred to as the 'Men of Spirit' spent the little time they didn't devote to escape attempts stuffing the rotten vegetables in the kitchen waste full of old razor blades, since it was taken out of the camp to be used as pigswill in the surrounding farms. Since the German authorities regarded this as sabotage, punishable by death, this was a risky pastime.
- There are only two instances of children actually dying from eating candy that was tampered with; in both cases, the victims died at the hands of their own families. An eight year old boy died after eating Pixy Stix that had been laced with cyanide; however, it turned out that the poisoned candy had been planted in his trick-or-treat bag by his own father, who also gave a few pieces of tampered candy to his daughter as well as three other children in order to cover his tracks so that he could collect on the life insurance (thankfully, neither the daughter, nor any of the other kids ate the candy).
- In another case, a five year old child lapsed into a coma and died after getting into his uncle's stash of illegal drugs and consuming a lethal dose of heroin. The child's family sprinkled some of his Halloween candy with heroin in an attempt to invoke this trope as a cover-up; it didn't work. Both cases are discussed on Snopes.com as well as other cases which were initially thought to involve Halloween poisonings. The presence of foreign objects in candy, including needles, has occasionally been shown as true, but only in isolated cases.
- Fear of this happening causes some communities to go to extremes like x-raying the kids' candy. Of course, some parents choose for a more low-tech solution like not letting the kids eat anything that's clearly homemade and making sure none of the store-bought candy looks like it's been tampered with.
- In Newfoundland, Canada, it was a common practice for people celebrating Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) to put items in the pancakes — usually coins, but sometimes thimbles, rings, or needles. Obviously this necessitates eating the pancake very carefully — you don't want to bite into a coin, not to mention the needle.
- Similarly to the above, for Epiphany/the Feast of the Three Kings in France, it is the custom to bake a cake called the galette/gâteau des rois, with a trinket or bean in it, with whoever finds it getting to be "king for the day." You need to be careful eating the cake, however, because the "fève" (the aforementioned generally-porcelain trinket, after the French word for "bean") can make your teeth hurt a lot if you bite on it.
- NYPD was seriously considering cancelling trick or treating in 2001 due to the instances of people receiving Anthrax in the mail. One spokesman said that they didn't have time to examine all the Pixie sticks that are given out that night.
- There have also been reported cases of dog treats laced with poison or sharp objects littered around dog parks but more cases are reported than found true, and often it's the result of dogs eating poisoned bait set for vermin animals or small animals that were killed by the bait. This has led to increased regulations regarding the use of poisoned bait for pest control.