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Tuesday, October 9th 2007

10:59 AM

Halloween under attack

  • Posted by: Steve Biodrowski

A couple of related articles about efforts to shut down Halloween celebrations in schools...

  • YourHub.Com tells us that Kohl Elementary school in Broomfield, Colorada, is replacing its annual Halloween parties with "Fall" parties, in order to be more "inclusive." In response, Louise Benson points out that, despite its Christian roots as "All Hallow's Eve," Halloween "has morphed into a truly non-sectarian American cultural holiday," and it si an "over-reaction of some Christians and Muslims to relate this harmless holiday to evil forces."
  • The Telegraph.co.uk has a similar story about a Tonna Primary School in Neath, South Wales, which may ban its annaul Halloween disco party and rename their October 31 event "Autum Festival."  Curiously, the proposal seems to have been initiated by school staff based on concerns that the event might offend religious parents - even though, if  anything, parents are upset by the proposal and want their kids to be able to enjoy the traditional Halloween party. School staff were quick to reply that no decision has been made yet.

The Telegraph article mentions the Bishop of Bolton's campaign to stop sales of "gruesome" costumes to kids, which I had briefly mentioned in this previous post. Fr. Eugene Monaghan of St. Josephs's romana Catholic CHurch in Neath weighed in: I think the meaning of Halloween ahs been confused over the years just tin the same way as the meaning of Christmas has been confused."

The curious thing about these two articles is that, in both cases, it is not quite clear who is being offended for exactly what reason. In the first instance, we seem to have a case of Halloween being banned on the theory that it is a Christian holiday whose religious connotations should not be endorsed by a secular school. In the second case, we have a proposed ban because Christians might object that the religious connotations of their traditional holiday have been abandoned as the day morphed into a secular celebration.

Personally, I can never remember a time in my lifetime when there were any religious connotations attached to Halloween, and I grew up in the Catholic Church. Whatever the origins of the day (as All Soul's Day, which precedes All Saint's Day), they have long ago been replaced. You might as well insist that Valentine's Day is a religious holiday because it is named after a saint (although what if any connection St. Valentine had with the holiday is unclear).

For all its associations with ghouls and ghosts, Halloween is about as safe and sane a holiday as you could ask for. All the stories about razor blades in apples are urban legends, and I'm sure more people are injured on July 4th from fireworks or on Christmas from drunk drivers than on October 31. Halloween does not celebrate evil nor endorse violence, and people who object to the day should just get over it already.

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