Trick or myth
Treating would be nothing without the tricks. And Halloween wouldn’t be fun without a scare or two. That’s the allure of the terrifying tales that circulate around Halloween and have taken on legendary status. Still, some of those who celebrate this spooky ritual take the Halloween pranks too far. But chances are, those Halloween stories are just that – stories. Well, most of the time. Here’s the truth behind some popular and pervasive Halloween-based urban legends.
A lunatic has hidden razor blades in apples
You heard it when you were a kid, and if you’re a parent now, you probably give the same warning to your own children: “Be careful what you eat on Halloween, because it might cut your mouth to shreds!” Thankfully, that’s very unlikely to happen. Booby-trapped treats are largely an urban legend. Joel Best and Gerald T. Horiuchi assert in their scholarly paper, The Razor Blade in the Apple: The Social Construction of Urban Legends, that these threats to children and their Halloween sweets are highly overblown. In fact, most of the alleged incidents turned out to be hoaxes. There have been a few cases of sharp objects in fruit – which, yes, is frightening but they didn’t necessarily happen during Halloween – however the majority of those were actually pranks.
A real murderer is behind the Scream face mask
Wes Craven’s slasher movie Scream presented us with an instantly recognisable villain: Ghostface – whose mask was inspired by the figure in Edvard Munch’s 1893 painting The Scream. Understandably, Halloween became a prime time to wear that mask – and for people to worry whether a real murderer was hiding behind one of them. After all, if everyone is wearing a mask, how can you know who poses a threat to you? It turns out that there may actually be something to this myth. According to Newsweek, there were indeed a handful of murders after Scream came out that were apparently inspired by the movie. In one, the killer wore a Ghostface mask while brutally stabbing his victim with kitchen knives. The bottom line: you never know who is behind a mask, but thankfully, it’s usually just a harmless trick-or-treater.
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