of horrors! All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, is in a bit of trouble!
informal holiday, celebrated this Friday and every October 31st, is still big
business for the makers of spooky costumes, candy for which masked kids go
begging door-to-door, and alcoholic beverages that are liberally poured at adult
still happily pay to be frightened half to death at dimly lit haunted
houses. And Hollywood is rolling out
ever-grislier slasher movies, sure to send audiences into full-throated
what's the problem?
segment of the population has always objected to the holiday because of its
origins as a pagan Celtic festival. They say Halloween is anti-religious and
glorifies evil and the occult.
now many parents are complaining that Halloween dress-up parties at their
children's schools promote violence and unhealthy competition over who can show
up in the most expensive or scariest costume.
In turn, kids with cheap outfits or none at all face derision from their
peers. Critics also note that the
shrieks, fake blood and make-believe killing associated with Halloween can
traumatize little ones.
some schools have switched to harmless fall harvest festival parties, minus the
costumes. Others allow Halloween
dress-up, but only as benign storybook characters, not menacing monsters.
this has prompted a backlash. It's just
one more erosion of an American tradition that's been tossed out the door
because somebody didn't like it, a Maryland parent told the local newspaper.
of Americans still think sending their little ones to school or escorting them
about the neighborhood on Halloween night dressed as a vampire, or an un-dead
mummy, or a blood-soaked ax murderer — is all in good fun. But for many others
troubled by the violence in our world today, Halloween gore is a tradition
they'd like to send to the grave.
more of Ted's personal reflections and stories from the road on his blog, Ted