Follow TV Tropes


Razor Apples

Go To
Now they've gone too far.

"How many people out there are doing the old razor blade in the apple trick? Good... kids goin' to the hospital. That's... that's the spirit of Halloween. Hope there's enough room."
Caligari, American Nightmare

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 gave you?"

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 Legends, 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.

Not to be confused with the giant, kid-crushing apples/cherries/some sort of killer fruit of the rose family in I Wanna Be the Guy. For when this trope is used to sneak dangerous objects to people with no intention of consuming the food item, it's Jail Bake.


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. Compare the Super-Trope, Tampering with Food and Drink, as well as Revenge Is a Dish Best Served, where the altered food is intended for someone specific instead of being distributed For the Evulz.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • 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. Word of God is that Sanji actually did it, and Zoro did eat it without problems.
    • Much earlier, Doc Q of the Blackbeard Pirates gets his Establishing Character Moment by offering apples to random people... and most of the apples contains a deadly explosive.

    Comic Books 
  • One of the stories in Halloween: 30 Years Of Terror had Michael put razor blades in candy, For the Evulz.
  • Odd Thomas: 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: Freelance Police 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.
  • Conversational Troping in the Halloween Episode of Impulse. The over-100-years-old Max Mercury makes popcorn balls for trick-or-treaters, who freak out that if they aren't proper safety-sealed commercial products, he could have put anything in them.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • In My Little Pumpkin, Delia and Professor Oak have a rule that Ash and Gary can't eat any candy until they return to Delia's and have the candy checked. Pallet Town is a small town where it's unlikely sweets will be tampered with, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The original Night of the Demons (1988) 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 involves 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...
  • In Trick 'r Treat, the Serial Killer principal 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 2021 sequel, the odd but kindhearted Sherman Fields, who delivers candy to children, is accused of adding razorblades after a white girl becomes a victim of one. Sherman, a Black man, is murdered by the officers who come to arrest him. He's exonerated when the razors continue to be distributed, but Sherman ends up becoming part of the Candyman legend and Candyman takes his form often.
  • Halloween:
    • In Halloween II (1981), a trick-or-treater and his mom are shown arriving at the emergency room of the hospital where the action of the film takes place. The boy has a razor blade stuck into his gums between his front teeth; presumably it got there when he bit into an apple.
    • In Halloween Kills, a trick-or-treater rushes to the door of the couple living in the old Myers house, claiming her friend had swallowed a razor blade in a piece of their candy, had vomited it back up and was suffering internal injuries. Turns out the kids were lying to distract the couple while a third kid stole their entire bowl of Halloween candy. They're not amused.
  • Kenny & Company: On Halloween afternoon, Mr. Donovan warns the kids to be careful with candy apples and popcorn balls, as those have been known to contain razor blades or rat poison. That night, a creepy-looking guy gives Kenny, Doug, and Sherman each a popcorn ball; once his door is closed, the kids throw the popcorn balls back at it.

  • 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.
  • Lampshaded in Goosebumps' The Haunted Mask: Sabrina's, Carly Beth's friends, mom instructs her every year to throw away any candies that are not in their original wrappers for fear of poisons and sharp objects.
  • 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 "gateau 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 IT, young Henry Bowers kills young Mike Hanlon's dog by feeding it meat laced with antifreeze.
  • In one Paddington Bear story, Paddington almost swallows the coin in the Browns' Christmas pudding, as he's not aware of the tradition (see the real life section).
  • Ground glass is placed in the food at a diner in the horror novel What About The Baby? by Clare Mc Nally. The result is quite bloody.
  • In the Sven Hassel novels, before they become Fire-Forged Friends Tiny is fed ground glass by the Legionnaire, but it only seems to increase his joie de vivre. This is probably meant to imply the big brute is Made of Iron, rather than because the technique doesn't work.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The New Adam-12 Revival series had a Halloween episode where someone was handing out caramel apples with razors stuck in them, but only to children of Asian descent. The officers trace it back to an bigoted old man who sees them as Yellow Peril taking over "his" country.
  • 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 the second episode of Chucky, a flashback shows a young Charles Lee Ray finding an apple with a very obvious razor blade in it among his Halloween treats. He takes a bite out of it anyway and smiles as blood pours from his mouth. Later on, Chucky gives a clueless lady another such apple as "thanks" for giving him the information he needed. Next time we see her, she is bleeding profusely from her mouth as she reports the "horrible red-haired child" to the cops.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Oz had a member of The Mafia killed by ground glass slipped in his food over a long period. The problem with this technique in real life is that any glass fragments large enough to cause damage would be noticed when the victim ate it. Even if he didn't, he would seek medical help long before the damage became fatal.
  • Supernatural: In the episode "It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester" a man dies from razor blades in Halloween candy, in a supremely gory fashion.

  • A couple of well-known rapping clowns seem to love this trope when mentioning Halloween. Check out "Mr. Rotten Treats" and "Halloween on Military Street" to name a couple.
  • In Tommy one of the many abuses Cousin Kevin heaps on the title character includes putting broken glass in his dinner.

  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • The Binding of Isaac: The "Apple!" item is one of these. It stains Isaac's mouth a clear blood-red, gives him a tears up from the injury and occasionally lets him spit out an extra-damaging razor instead of a tear.
  • 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.
  • Improbable Island: The October 2019 Monthly Memento is a lifetime supply of Razor Daves, created by a mishap with two poorly-programmed AIs at the razor blade and candy factories and an inspector so overworked that the only possible solution he actually had time to implement was to repackage them all with bright yellow labels reading "free bonus razor (caution: contains razor)".
  • 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.
  • Mother 3: After Flint is arrested during the first chapter, Claus leaves him an apple right outside his cell. Flint takes a few bites only to encounter the razor blade, which he promptly uses to cut his way through the cell bars.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the first arc of Higurashi: When They Cry, Rena and Mion give Keiichi a box of rice balls. The first one he bites into contains a sewing needle which draws a small amount of blood. The sixth arc reveals some more about this: There wasn't really a needle, and the "blood" was Tabasco sauce. Keiichi's escalating paranoia has started screwing with his (and the viewer's) perceptions, causing a hallucination based on a horror movie he saw.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Sniffles is forced to eat one in Happy Tree Friends.
  • Rooster Teeth Shorts: Geoff finds one in Haunted Tales of Mystery. Jack spots it and warns him in time, only for Geoff to turn the apple over and take a bite out of an actual shaving razor.
  • Ross's Game Dungeon gave each game in The Last Stand series a rating based on Halloween candy. The Allegedly Free Game The Last Stand: Dead Zone got a rating of "apples with razor blades inside".
  • The Creepypasta I Did Something Bad Last Halloween involves the protagonist, an abused girl, being force-fed halloween candy by her mother in the hopes that she will eat a poisoned one. She survives, but this inspires her to start poisoning halloween candy, but only if the victim deserves it, ex. a boy who copped a feel. It helps that she reverse-pickpockets the tampered candy into their trick-or-treat bags
  • At the beginning of his review of Trick 'r Treat, Count Jackula is busy preparing for Halloween by jamming razor-blades into fun-sized chocolate bars, citing that he is forgoing the usual partying he does on Halloween in favor of passing out candy to trick-or-treaters due to not having a costume.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • 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 culprits were their own relatives, not random strangers. Both cases are discussed on 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.
    • 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.
    • There are also a few cases of children dying after eating Halloween candy, and the media goes into a frenzy due to this trope and initially attributes it to poisoning, only for it to later be discovered that the child died of unrelated natural causes (the fact that it occurred after consuming Halloween candy being purely coincidental).
    • It's also possible for purely accidental cases to happen if a screw, nut or other piece of metal becomes detached from the machinery in the factory; foodstuffs are supposed to pass through a metal detector after being packaged to prevent this sort of thing, but they're not perfectly reliable and corners sometimes get cut.
    • Lastly, there are certain artificial sweeteners that can have deeply unpleasant side effects if ingested in more than tiny quantities, as described vividly in this Amazon review. They probably won't kill you, but they might make you wish they had.
  • Fear of this happening causes some communities to go to extremes like x-raying the kids' candy. Of course, some parents choose 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 and Spain, 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.
  • Likewise, in England, it's traditional for a coin to be put in the Christmas pudding, to be kept by whoever's slice it turns up in. Because of the size of the coin (traditionally this was, and still is, a silver sixpence piece) and the consistency of the pudding, the recipient will usually notice it in the bowl and avoid biting it, though.
  • The King Cake is a traditional pastry eaten during the Mardi Gras season, and oftentimes contains a small trinket inside representing the infant Jesus, usually a tiny plastic baby. The cake is hollow inside and the baby is easy enough to spot, but bakers have lately began leaving the baby outside the cake for the consumer to insert themselves, to avoid liability on the off-chance some idiot chokes on it while wolfing down a piece.
    • Similarly, in Mexico this trope is ''invoked'' and birthed a related Urban Legend with the "Rosca de Reyes". Eaten on "Mage Kings Day" (reference to the Three Wise Men from the Bible) on January 6th, it's the same concept as the King's Cake, except the one who finds the tiny plastic Jesus has to pay for the traditional food (tamales) for the celebration of Candelaria Day (February 2, the official end of the winter holidays). There are usually three or more "monitos" (figures) per cake so the expenses are shared, but there are tons of anecdotical tellings of people who swallowed the figures to avoid paying the tamales. Talk about cheapskates!
  • In Ireland, the Hallowe'en Barm Brack (similar to fruit cake) generally has an (easily swallowed) ring in it as a fortune-teller, with the idea being that whoever found the ring would be married within the year. Traditionally, it may have included a dried pea, a stick, a coin and a piece of cloth: all small, hard objects.
  • The NYPD seriously considered 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 given out that night.
  • The Hoornse Taartnote  sentence is a core element within Dutch jurisprudence. In 1910, one man tried to murder another man by sending him a cake containing arsenic trioxide for his birthday. The intended victim didn't eat it, but his wife and maid did. The wife died, the maid barely survived. The perpetrator tried to get around the murder charge by arguing that there was no intent, because the wife wasn't his target. The judges didn't buy it and introduced the concept of recklessness to modern Dutch criminal law.
  • 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.
  • An apparently unique case happened in Germany, where a man ingested cobra poison after eating a banana, but he survived, if with great difficulty. The police initially suspected a crime until the remaining bananas were analyzed and bite marks were found on one of them. What likely happened was that a cobra happened to bite into the banana and injected its poison into it, and the poison then slowly spread into the other bananas as well.
  • A Taiwanese fanartist known as Avimedes was offered homemade cookies at a convention, only to find out too late that they had needles inside. It's believed that she may have been given the cookies because she draws Sans/Frisk art, which a fellow fan really didn't like.
  • In fall 2018, Australia saw a rash of needles in strawberries.