Given the number of haunted houses and other Halloween-related festivities on The Five-Year-Old’s calendar this weekend, it seems like a good time to review the literature on a crucial question: Does garlic protect against vampires?
According to a 1994 study by Sandvik H, et al, which Daddyo found via PubMed Mobile, the answer is a rather disconcerting no. Garlic may in fact have the opposite effect. Let’s go to the abstract:
Vampires are feared everywhere, but the Balkan region has been especially haunted. Garlic has been regarded as an effective prophylactic against vampires. We wanted to explore this alleged effect experimentally. Owing to the lack of vampires, we used leeches instead. In strictly standardized research surroundings, the leeches were to attach themselves to either a hand smeared with garlic or to a clean hand. The garlic-smeared hand was preferred in two out of three cases (95% confidence interval 50.4% to 80.4%). When they preferred the garlic the leeches used only 14.9 seconds to attach themselves, compared with 44.9 seconds when going to the non-garlic hand (p < 0.05). The traditional belief that garlic has prophylactic properties is probably wrong. The reverse may in fact be true. This study indicates that garlic possibly attracts vampires. Therefore to avoid a Balkan-like development in Norway, restrictions on the use of garlic should be considered.
So parents, if you’re looking to protect your kids (or yourselves) from vampires this Halloween, it’s probably best to skip the garlic-infused face paint.