I have to admit, maybe Halloween should be relegated to an underground festival, a holiday that people celebrate in private, an annual celebration with a stigma of being evil, a day to celebrate the devil and speak with the undead. With that in mind, I have mixed feelings when I hear about efforts to stop Halloween celebrations in this country even today.
According to an article in the Pictorial Gazette, over near the town I grew up (Old Lyme, CT established 1666)...
An East Hampton elementary school recently banned the school's popular Halloween parade - a tradition for decades - citing "safety concerns." School officials said they feared a masked intruder could harm or even snatch a child.
I think journalist Erik Hesselberg commented on this perfectly:
Are they thinking of the Osama Bin Laden costume that was the hottest item in Halloween sales a few years back?
(The Hartford Courant has an in depth article on the subject.)
This year, Halloween falls on Sunday. The sabbath. Not surprisingly, some Christians have become upset about this, and have either tried to outright cancel Halloween... or at least reschedule it for another day. Common logic would indicate Saturday night, right? Heck... maybe even the day after, Monday?
Down in the Baton Rouge Louisiana area the Mayor has announced it will be moved to Thursday night.
"We moved it to Thursday because of all the activity in the city, to give the children a chance to go out and Trick-or-Treat."
Rideau said Thursday was chosen by the Baker City Council because of church services on Sunday, college football on Saturday and high school sports on Friday night.
Uhhh... do they have evening masses on Sundays in Louisiana? Have they ever attempted to reschedule professional football games held on Sundays? And, by the way, haven't they had Halloween on the calendar longer than any of the college or football games they now have to schedule around?
There are other ridiculous efforts to ban Halloween. At Lyme Consolidated Elementary School, where my nephew Drew terrorizes, also in Connecticut, doesn't celebrate Hallowen because they consider it a "Pagan" holiday. To be fair, they don't celebrate ANY religiously tainted holidays, including Valentines Day. Says Drew's mom, my sister Patty:
Instead of having Halloween activities, and dressing up for Halloween, they may dress up as one of their favorite characters in a book. Most kids get creative enough and figure that whatever they want to be for halloween IS somewhere in a book. Like Drew, he is going to be Spider Man. We know there are Spider man books! You do get your occasional geeks who dress up as Mark Twain. They can have a FALL party, equipped with pumpkins and leaves, but aren't supposed to do much with witches and skeletons.
So they're allowed to celebrate the season of Autumn... isn't this considered a little Wiccan?
This article is already bastardized with links for outside reading, but here's two more: The History Channel has a great article on Halloween... and if you think Halloween is a religious holiday, you might want to look into this religion.