Police are investigating after a Huntley child bit into a piece of Halloween candy Wednesday night and discovered what police called “a large sewing needle” inside.
Huntley police on Thursday morning said the child’s father contacted the department after his 13-year-old daughter took a bite from a miniature Kit Kat bar that she collected while trick-or-treating, and then told her mother about the needle.
The girl might have collected that candy while in the Talamore subdivision, but Deputy Chief Mike Klunk said other candy was bought by the family and mixed in. Police said it’s unknown where and when the needle was inserted into the candy bar.
The child wasn’t injured by biting into the needle, police said. Detective Theo Kallantzes said the girl didn’t swallow the needle.
Klunk said a child in Chicago also found a needle inside a piece of Halloween candy and Huntley investigators have contacted Chicago police because the incidents are “very similar.”
Huntley police have reported the tampering to the FBI and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Klunk said. That’s because it’s unknown whether the needle accidentally made it into the candy, or deliberately was placed there.
“Anything’s possible at this point,” Klunk said.
If the candy bar rubbed against the needle, or entered the candy bar while both were inside a bag or bowl, Klunk said it might not have been located inside the candy.
“It was almost completely embedded,” he said.
The pin-point entry spot from the needle was visible on the outside of the wrapper, police said, but the candy wasn’t discovered as tampered with until the girl took a bite. As such, police are asking parents and caregivers to carefully inspect their children’s Halloween goodies before any items are consumed.
“The whole intent is to make sure you’re checking the candy. Unfortunately, we haven’t had any incidents, so you kind of forget,” Klunk said.
Any items in wrappers that appear to have been punctured, ripped or tampered with in any way should be discarded, Huntley police said.
This incident is reminiscent of a spate of alleged candy tamperings decades ago.
It was in the late 1970s and into the 1980s when fears spread of needles, razor blades and poison being found in children’s Halloween candy, triggering a scare that the treats weren’t safe. Many of these reported incidents later were declared hoaxes, although a Texas boy died in 1974 from eating Halloween candy laced with cyanide. His father was convicted and executed and four other children given the tainted candy never ate it.
Despite the hoaxes, some parents refused to let their children gobble candy collected during trick-or-treating, swapping out candy they bought themselves and already checked for signs of tampering.
It was in the 1980s that the National Confectioners Association launched a Halloween Hotline, where police agencies could report signs of tampering, but the organization shut it down about 30 years later, citing a lack of tampering incidents being reported.
No other incidents had been reported to Huntley police by Thursday afternoon, Klunk said, and police received no calls on Halloween about any suspicious activity.
Klunk said police will send the wrapper to the crime lab to check for DNA or fingerprints, which could lead to the culprit.
Anyone with information about the Huntley tampering incident, or who believes their child might have collected suspicious candy, is asked to contact Kallantzes at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 847-515-5333 or text TIP HUNTLEY followed by the message to 888777. A tip also may be submitted online at www.local.nixle.com/tip/alert/5945565.