Candy Ellestad took one bite of the Snickers bar, and along with the expected caramel, peanuts and milk chocolate felt metal in her mouth.
“I moved my tongue around, and I started to pull the pins out of my mouth,” the Proctor woman said on Tuesday.
Eventually, Ellestad discovered eight or nine pins, or tiny nails, that she removed either from her mouth or from the uneaten portion of the “fun size” candy bar.
Ellestad, who was unharmed, took that unpleasant bite on Monday. It launched a Duluth police investigation because Ellestad said the candy was obtained at Bay View Elementary School’s “Fall Fest” on Sunday. The school is part of the Proctor school system but is located within Duluth city limits.
John Engelking, Proctor’s superintendent, questioned whether the candy actually came out of the school event.
“We have no idea where it came from,” he said. “The candy was opened at home. I’m sure the police will get to the bottom of it.”
There’s no doubt about the origin in her mind, Ellestad said. She found it in her son’s school binder and decided to eat it herself. But when she asked her son about it, he confirmed that it came from the school event, she said.
Duluth police said on Tuesday that they have no suspect, since many people donated candy for the event. But Ellestad said she doesn’t suspect anyone locally because there was no sign the wrapper had been tampered with.
Instead, she thinks it occurred during the manufacturing process, possibly because of some sort of mechanical failure or because of someone’s deliberate action.
A call to Mars Inc., which owns the Snickers brand, wasn’t returned in time for this story.
Two of Ellestad’s three children attend Bay View, and she works there as a paraprofessional, she said. She helped at festival and donated two bags of candy herself.
Before presenting the wrapper and the pins to police, Ellestad posted pictures on her Facebook account. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had been shared more than 1,600 times and attracted 82 comments.
She considers discovering the tampered-with candy bar a fluke, Ellestad said, but on Facebook she urged other parents to check Halloween candy closely. Duluth police were offering the same advice.
Her children would be trick-or-treating as usual on Tuesday, Ellestad said, but the incident did give her pause.
“It’s scary because we definitely can visibly go and check the candy, but how do you prepare for something in the middle?” she said.