CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati's Kroger has decided to stop selling a controversial Halloween prank accessory, after several parents complained that there was nothing funny about it.
The accessory? Colorful fake syringes, that are actually ballpoint pens. Some of them are red, appearing to contain blood inside.
The syringes were for sale in the Halloween aisle, in a number of Kroger supermarkets.
Mom: 'We have a heroin epidemic'
Cincinnati mom Linda Meyer took a picture of them, and complained to store management that she found nothing amusing about the item.
"There is no place for this," she said. "We have a heroin epidemic. I just think it is a horrible idea."
Meyer said it offended her personally, because she could only imagine if a friend of hers hit by the heroin crisis had spotted the gag toy during a grocery shopping trip.
"It just sends the wrong message," she said. "My friend lost her son to a heroin overdose last fall. So this is extremely personal to me."
Kroger Apologizes, Pulls Toy
Kroger spokesperson Patty Leesemann apologized for the oversight, saying "we have notified stores to pull them from the shelves. They should not be on shelves – we are following back up to ensure that they are pulled."
Of course, toy syringes have long been part of play "doctor kits" that many 3 and 4-year-olds get for their birthdays.
They typically contain a pretend stethoscope, bandages and syringe. In addition, fake syringes like these have apparently been sold in Halloween shops for years.
However, with the heroin crisis in the news every day, a prank toy that appears to be a real syringe is not going over so well in 2016. And Kroger has responded quickly.
WCPO.COM reporters Hillary Lake and John Genovese contributed to this report.
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