Child in Halloween costume misidentified as crisis actor

The Israel-Hamas conflict began when militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7. But some conspiracy theorists claim none of it is actually happening and images of the war are staged by crisis actors.

A recent post on social media shows what appears to be a child covered by a white sheet, which is knotted above the youngster's head. The child is looking at a cellphone.

"One of Gaza's crisis actors got bored pretending to be a dead child killed by Israel," reads the text in the Oct. 25 post on X. "Side note- isn't it incredible how many days his phone battery is lasting? Considering Gaza claims to be without electricity."

But that's no crisis actor, according to Reuters. It's a kid in a Halloween costume. And the photo predates the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The image is part of a gallery of photos posted Oct. 29, 2022, on Facebook, featuring children dressed up for a Halloween costume contest held at the Central Korat mall in Thailand.

And this year, one of the images of children in costume from that event, including the kid in the sheet, was used by Central Korat mall in a Facebook post on Oct. 26, promoting Halloween Cosplay 2023.

Misinformation follows Perry's death

On the internet, celebrities who die are not allowed to rest in peace.

Actor Matthew Perry, 54, best known for playing Chandler Bing on the sitcom "Friends," was found dead Oct. 28 in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home. The cause of death has not been released. However, a social media user has a theory.

An Oct. 29 Facebook post includes a photo of Perry wearing a T-shirt that reads, "Could I be any more vaccinated?"

The text with the post reads, "RIP Matthew Perry. Passed in a hot tub. Likely cause of death is stuff induced heart attack - from the heat - and of course being propagandized to volunteer for his own delayed removal."

The post includes claims Wi-Fi is also a danger to vaccinated people, and offers information on "how to get the stuff out of your system before some heat or wifi sets it off."

But there is no evidence to support this claim, according to USA Today. And there is nothing in the COVID-19 vaccine that can be activated by heat or wireless signals.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told USA Today that Perry couldn't have died that way.

"The wildly arbitrary claims about the heat of a hot tub or Wi-Fi activating the vaccine to kill him is complete nonsense, devoid of any biological plausibility," Adalja said.

Experts said with an examination of the body and toxicology tests to be completed, it could be months before a cause is determined in Perry's death, according to the Los Angeles Times.

No one killed at party

Chicago police officers were called to a Halloween party about 1 a.m. Oct. 29 in the North Lawndale neighborhood following a shooting at that event.

"Why did a Chicago mass shooting that killed 15 early Sunday am go unreported in national media? 15 isn't 18, but it is a huge death toll," read an Oct. 29 Facebook post. The number "18" appears to refer to the Oct. 25 mass shooting in Maine in which 18 people were killed.

But this post is wrong, according to Reuters. No one was killed at the party in Chicago. There were 15 people injured and taken to area hospitals, with two of those victims in critical condition.

Chicago police said a suspect was in custody of responding officers and they had recovered a firearm. The shooting was reported widely on local and national news outlets.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at

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