I am going to talk about two different Halloween delusions. One is fictional, and one is real, yet both are similar. I’ll start with the fictional one.
The fictional Halloween delusion is kind of interesting in that it involves a beloved comic character who every Halloween acts, well, out of character. I am talking about Linus, the kid who carries around the blanket, from the comic strip “Peanuts.” Linus is Our Hero Charlie Brown’s best friend, brother of his Chief Antagonist, Lucy.
Ordinarily in Peanuts canon, Linus is kind of a pint-sized public intellectual, offering shockingly reasoned wisdom based on fact, and therein lies the joke given he’s a little kid. In the classic TV special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” Linus suddenly and wildly veers out of character.
In other specials, he is more or less Wise Linus. In “A Charlie Brown Christmas” the version of Linus is Linus as Progressive Theologian. In “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” we get Linus as Early American History Expert, and he gives us a glimpse of what Thanksgiving might be like if you had a university history professor in your family.
However, in Great Pumpkin, Linus is now the Manson-esque leader of a pumpkin-worshiping cult, complete with his own Squeaky Fromme in the form of Sally, Charlie Brown’s kid sister, who is forever crushing on him. This is a rather jarring transformation, as Linus turns into this irrational wacko who gets very angry if you tell him there is no such thing as his god, The Great Pumpkin. There is a lot of insane babble about the sincerity of pumpkin patches, and if you have the most sincere pumpkin patch, then the Great Pumpkin visits you and bestows gifts. But you have to wait in your pumpkin patch on Halloween night for him. It’s all quite mad.
Moral of the story, the Great Pumpkin never shows and Sally realizes it’s all bullshit (a valuable life lesson for all children) and that she’s missed trick-or-treat. None of this deters Linus, and we end the program with Linus ranting like a QAnon person.
The real-life Halloween delusion is similar in that includes a complete myth and crazy people (Republicans) believe it. I am talking about the 2022 version of the poisoned Halloween candy hoax, the Great Rainbow Fentanyl Hysteria of 2022.
It all began as a legitimate concern in late August, when the Drug Enforcement Administration released a statement that fentanyl in the form of rainbow fentanyl was hitting the black market. The rainbow part comes from the colorful pill form of the drug, making it look a lot like candy. It’s not hard to envision this being a problem, kids will eat anything that looks like candy.
But then The Democrat’s Uncle Chuck, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer got the hysteria ball rolling with a statement about rainbow fentanyl that included “Halloween is coming … this is really worrisome and really dangerous.” Okay, Uncle Chuck means well, but a word about strangers poisoning kids at Halloween.
I remember this whole thing as a kid. My mom was terrified of it, so much so that any candy not in a commercial wrapper got the heave-ho. As the link above points out, some of this hysteria was due to an actual case of poisoned Halloween candy, but it was a father poisoning his own son for the life insurance money. There was also a fear of objects like razor blades, pins, needles, etc. in candy. This freaked people out so much that hospitals offered free X-rays of candy to detect foreign objects (no, really, this happened).
Now, this has indeed happened, but the incidents are few and far between, and there have been no deaths and the most serious injury was a woman who required a few stitches. Like the Stranger Danger hysteria that one can argue made the environment ripe for the rise of QAnon, the history of people freaking out about poisoned candy made the environment right for fentanyl-in-trick-or-treat bag hysteria. This time, given the shitworld we are living in, it became political.
Enter Fox News…
Taking the next logical step in the rainbow fentanyl panic, Fox News is now literally telling viewers not to let their kids go trick-or-treating this year. pic.twitter.com/ubjodQD13J
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) September 27, 2022
Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel warned in a FOX News interview that “Every mom in the country right now is worried, what if this gets into my kid’s Halloween basket, the rainbow fentanyl. What if my teenager gets this.” So, this is not exactly fringe people who spread this.
Two of the key pieces of bullshit, er, messages from the GOP for the midterms is crime is way out of control (not really) and THE BORDER. In 2018, it was THE CARAVANS, which meant that caravans of them there foreigners were coming to kill your kids and take your jobs. This year, the Mexicans are making candy fentanyl to ruin Halloween. Or something.
But the bottom line here is there were no reports of fentanyl in trick-or-treat candy. Of course, no one notes that, and no doubt in 2024, Republicans will be ranting about kids getting poisoned by fentanyl.
It’s almost enough to make one take a handful of…Smarties. Which everyone knows, are awesome.
The last word goes to the best Halloween band of all time (in my opinion, of course)…