A piece of Halloween candy can be a real treat, until you bite into something that's not sweet at all.

Growing up in Gloucester Township, us kids got warned on several occasions by parents and teachers, sometimes both together in a school letter from the PTA, that there could be foreign objects in our Halloween candy.

Kids and parents were advised to open and check every piece of candy for things like razors, pins, etc. before it got eaten. We'd even been told of reports that someone in our own neighborhood was tampering with candy. But who believes that stuff? I brushed it off as a rumor, an urban legend. Who would mess with candy being handed out to kids trick or treating on Halloween?

You think it's all fake until you go to break open a milk chocolate bar filled with caramel and nougat and find a straight pin inside. Thank goodness I didn't bite into it.

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I recall several instances of that happening where I lived in Erial one Halloween. Does anyone else who grew up in that area remember it, too?

It was during the 80s, and we trick or treated EVERY single house we could between Lincoln and Bellview Ave. in Clementona. That was probably about 10 square blocks. We're talking SERIOUS candy hauls. With SO much candy in every kid's sack, how could authorities ever narrow down who was handing out tampered treats, especially pre-wrapped pieces of candy? It was harder to tell with those than, say, homemade chocolate or caramel apples or something.

So, every single Halloween my parents would have me and my brother spill all our candy onto the kitchen table and each piece would be inspected to make sure it was safe to eat. Nothing unsavory ever happened again, but I won't forget that pin. I've not touched that same kind of candy bar since.

Moral of the story: It never hurts to examine before you open. People with nefarious motives are much more creative these days, and with the internet, there's too much information out there on how to tamper with anything. Look closely and have a safe and Happy Halloween.

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