Trick-or-treating was one of the most fun things I remember about celebrating Halloween as a child. Each of us having a well developed sweet-tooth, my brothers and I looked forward to the large bags of ‘loot’ we would bring home.

Even during my childhood, stories would resurface about razors hidden in apples and other possibilities far scarier than any ghosts and goblin inhabiting my neighborhood on the evening of October 31st.

To this day, I am not sure how many were real and how many were urban legends. Nonetheless, my parents laid down some rules and procedures to protect us.

First, we were forbidden to eat anything in our bags until we got home and my parents could inspect the loot. Second, we were to stay in a group. Generally I was with my brothers. Third, we were to stay in the immediate neighborhood.

When we did get home, my mother would empty each bag into a separate large bowl. Then she would inspect each piece. Her rule of thumb was to discard anything that was not commercially wrapped. And the commercial wrapping on such items as candy bars could not be torn or opened in any way.

That meant apples and other fruit, lovingly made home-baked cookies, etc. went head-first into the garbage can. My sense was that these treats were probably fine, but Mom was taking no chances.

My mother’s procedures are still applicable today. Some communities have taken it a step further. Last year, a Denver, CO walk-in clinic offered to x-ray trick-or-treaters’ bags of loot.

While few cases of tainted candy are reported, no parent wants to face the scenario of their child eating such a snack.

Adopting procedures like my parents did is one way to handle this problem. Or you can side-step the issue altogether and invite the kids to their own Halloween party.