Squaring the Strange Archives: Halloween Horrors and Hoaxes

by | May 15, 2018 | Benjamin Radford, Investigation, Media Appearances, Media Literacy, Psychology, Skepticism, Squaring the Strange, Squaring the Strange, Urban legends | 0 comments

In the latest in a series highlighting past episodes and archives of Squaring the Strange, here’s a look back at a show you might have missed:



To start the episode, Ben shares a tale from the road about being on the Oprah network’s Miracle Detectivesand stumbling upon a snack-food related miracle. Then in our main topic, the guys discuss Halloween scares of the past and present—not ghosts and ghouls but rather rumors and concerns that have terrified parents and the public. For instance, fundamentalists have long worried that Halloween has sinister links to Satanism and even mundane activities might pull kids into the Dark Lord’s influence. Halloween is linked to the pagan holiday of Samhain, which predates Christianity and therefore Satanism, yet the church has a long history of bristling at such competing traditions. And, ironically, many fundamentalists employ the very same recruiting tactics they accuse Satanists of using. The poisoned-candy panics seem to occur every year, flogged by the media, despite the fact that the only two cases of contaminated candy harming anyone involved the child’s own parent. Stranger danger in general is a concept to examine in light of actual statistics, and we should consider what harm we do to children by pushing a false notion of how much random people want to kill them. The poisoned-candy scares took on a racial tone when post-9-11 rumors circulated about terrorists turning to bulk candy purchases as a new tactic. Then, to wrap up, Ben and Pascual touch on sex offenders and their role in Halloween-related scares, and of course one of Ben’s specialties—scary clown panics!


You can listen HERE.


You can find more on me and my work with a search for “Benjamin Radford” (not “Ben Radford”) on Vimeo, and please check out my podcast Squaring the Strange! 


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *