The War Against Halloween: Nick Gillespie in Time

Hey boys and ghouls, it's getting toward the end of October, which means that idiot school districts around the country are engaging in a terrible annual ritual: The banning of Halloween costumes and candy!

I write about this at Time.com. Please check it out. Here's a snippet:

The excuses [for banning Halloween] range from vague concerns about “safety” to specific worries about food allergies to—get this—fears of breaching the wall of separation between church and state.

But whatever the motivation, the end result is the same as what Charlie Brown used to get every time he went trick-or-treating: a big old rock in the candy bag. What sort of lesson are we teaching our kids when we ban even a tiny, sugar-coated break in their daily grind (or, even worse, substitute a generic, Wicker Man-style “Fall Festival” for Halloween)? Mostly that we are a society that is so scared of its own shadow that we can’t even enjoy ourselves anymore. We live in fear of what might be called the killjoy’s veto, where any complaint is enough to destroy even the least objectionable fun.

I argue that this sort of ridiculous behavior helps explain why enrollment at charters and other schools of choice is booming.

By matching schools and students based on shared interests and goals, a lot of the serious conflicts that have traditionally roiled schools – over the role of curricula, sports, sex education, and so much more – simply disappear like a, well, bag of Halloween candy in a young kid’s room. Of course, disagreements don’t completely disappear in schools of choice (whether public or private). But they are less frequent and less intense precisely because everyone involved can always go elsewhere.

Schools where parents, students, teachers, and school boards are mostly on the same page rather than at each other’s throats? That’s an idea that’s almost as unimaginable as banning Halloween used to be.

Read more.

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  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "get this—fears of breaching the wall of separation between church and state"

    That's not so ridiculous as you might think.

    "The origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a pope, and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety."

    http://www.crossroadsinitiativ.....oween.html

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The Supreme Court's "Wall of Separation" precedents, which are so delicately sensitive as to block moments of silence because of their supposed religious motivation, would be broad enough to ban government recognition of the eve of All Saints' Day.

    The one think that might save Halloween, I think, is the hole the courts have carved in the church/state wall which grandfathers longstanding traditions. But YMMV - many longstanding traditions have fallen before the judicial juggernaut.

    Considering that any school district which loses a church/state suit has to pay not only its own legal fees but those of the plaintiff as well, they can't just *assume* that religious traditions will be held acceptable by the courts.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Just say no to this bullshit!

    I'm thinking if most of the population doesn't even know it's origins are religious, it no longer is. Dress your kid up and send the little beggar to school. And if the principal gives you a call, tell him to FOADIAF! If he tells you to come get him, tell him you'll be right there...after you get done with work. When he gets enough little monsters filling his office and screaming for 7 hours, he'll think better of it next year.

    Send your kid out on the 31st, dressed in whatever the fuck he wants, unsupervised and after dark. Tell the little beggar to bang on every door with a light on and jack the inhabitant up for candy. If the occupant gives them any shit about pagan evilness, religious outrage or gives them rice cakes, ensure your kid knows the the proper uses of toilet paper, eggs and soap.

    And tell the little beggar to HAVE FUN!

  • hotsy totsy||

    ^^^
    Wish I'd have said that!

  • hotsy totsy||

    Especially the rice cakes. We HATED to get that stuff when we were kids.

  • Robert||

    What about bath foam?

    Would it be ironic to soap the windows where you got bubble bath?

  • Robert||

    Some years I've given out samples of this: http://users.bestweb.net/~robgood/lather.html . The child on the right (bathtub left) is Corinne Low, the grownup is Darklady (Theresa Reed).

  • Live Free or Diet||

    The origins of the First Amendment are also, in fact, very Christian and rather American. It's largely a reflection of sectarian suspicions among the colonies. Maybe there should be a separation of First Amendment and State.

    Wait, no, they've already done that.

  • cavalier973||

    Meh. It bothers me that people "celebrate" Halloween by engaging in this blasphemous "dress up for candy" ritual.

    My family has started celebrating Halloween the way it's supposed to be celebrated: we kidnap some guy, stuff him in a basket, and set it on fire.

  • Almanian!||

    Man, I wish I'd grown up in YOUR family.

  • anon||

    My family has started celebrating Halloween the way it's supposed to be celebrated: we kidnap some guy, stuff him in a basket, and set it on fire.

    As long as by "some guy" you mean some random politician, I'm totally down with this.

  • fish_remote||

    ....random politician

    Random?? For the love of god have some standards....pick a Schumer, McCain, or Graham at least. Go back for the "random" ones on the lesser holidays.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    I think he means "some guy" who comments here regularly.

  • anon||

    I write about this at Time.com. Please check it out. Here's a snippet:

    Hah! I thoroughly enjoyed the begging, but you still won't trick me into reading the drivel often posted at that site.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -As Christians you and I are placed in this world to be a light in a world of darkness. There is no lasting benefit to ignore a holiday that exists around us, but it also does harm to celebrate Halloween as it has originated and grown over the centuries.

    My suggestion? Christians should be teaching their children (age appropriately) that:
    • there is a spiritual world filled with goodness from God and evil from Satan (Eph. 2:1-10);
    •life with Christ has power over darkness (I John 4:4); and
    • those who celebrate Halloween either are unaware of its roots, or are intentionally promoting a world where evil is lauded and viewed as an ultimate power.

    To counter the evil influence of Halloween, we need to join together and celebrate the reality of the heroic efforts of Christian saints over the evil in their day. Many leaders in the past -- and present -- have fulfilled the mandate of destroying the works of the devil through their sacrificial commitment to Christ and His Kingdom.

    http://www.cbn.com/spiritualli.....att05.aspx

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "celebrate the reality of the heroic efforts of Christian saints over the evil in their day"

    Yeah, maybe there should be a day set aside to commemorate all the saints, along with celebrations on the eve of that feast...

  • Live Free or Diet||

    As an atheist I find I have two real choices about Halloween:
    -A- Enjoy the day when people dress up as various imaginary things that generally tend to piss off others who take their 3-in-1 (not the oil) Imaginary Friend very seriously.
    -B- Treat the whole thing as a way to spoil children with an overdeveloped appreciation for chocolate.

    I usually prefer B, but A tries to raise it's giggling head when the 3-in-1 types decide to annoy me.

  • hotsy totsy||

    The Devil made me buy that dress!

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    And fuck those assholes that hand out erasers, raisins, or apples.

  • Almanian!||

    Pennies. Srsly? PENNIES??!

  • Live Free or Diet||

    As few kids came around last year, I could hand out Twenties.

  • hotsy totsy||

    I'm comin' to your house, Live Free!

  • Live Free or Diet||

    $20 is enough to get a hotsy totsy woman to travel to Virginia? Times are tough!

    Wait, wait... Rosalie Totsie, is that you?

  • anon||

    OT: Friend of mine and I got kicked out of a strip club once for throwing change at the strippers.

    They weren't very good strippers and we had no intentions of ever going back anyways.

  • BoxyBoxyBoxyBoxy||

    IIRC, this is the default interaction in Canada, where there are no single dollar bills.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    They weren't very good strippers and we had no intentions of ever going back anyways.

    When and where I grew up, the women who worked in topless bars and strip clubs were often the toughest-looking women you ever saw. They usually looked either like old druggies or the chick who beat up the guy who insulted her biker boyfriend.

  • Jordan||

    What about rubbers? Yay or nay?

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    See my college comment below.

  • Floridian||

    This year I am going as the child catcher from chitty chitty bang bang. I figure a guy who hates kids that much must be a libertarian. Next year maybe I'll be the monopoly man.

  • John||

    Proof that these idiots didn't run Christmas out of schools because they hate Christians. They did it because they hate everything or certainly anything that gives anyone comfort or joy.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The expense of losing (or even winning) a church/state lawsuit would also be a factor.

    There was a case where a school district replaced "winter holiday" with Christmas, and the court said it was unconstitutional because their motive was religious - a school board member, IIRC, said America was a Christian country. Oops - you lose!

  • ||

    I've often been perplexed how school districts putting the name of the federally-decreed holiday on the calendar is a religious endorsement and therefore a 1A violation, but the federal government, you know, PASSING A FUCKING LAW declaring Christmas a national holiday, for which federal employees enjoy time off from work, is not.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It depends on the motivation, in the above case some guy said the US was a Christian nation. In a different school district, if officials know to keep their mouths shut, there may be a different outcome. In such situations, Christmas can get grandfathered in as a harmless secular holiday.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Proof that these idiots didn't run Christmas out of schools because they hate Christians.

    It is often (perhaps mostly) Christians that complain about Halloween.

    http://www.beliefnet.com/Love-.....ween.aspx#

  • John||

    It is sometimes then. But as the post shows it is often others as well. And their arguments only get a hearing because school officials are keen on banishing any sort of tradition that children might like or enjoy.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I acknowledge the existence of killjoys in public schools (duh!).

    I suspect that in some cases there are also sincere fears of legal liability - peanut allergies, church/state, for instance.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    SoCons Warn About Vampires

    -The thought of vampires make most people cringe. In the case of Twilight, it's up to parents to make that decision for their household. On the one hand, it's just a story. At the same time, teenagers and children need to know that the practice of the occult is very real. The Bible does not mention vampires, but it does speak to the significance of blood.

    In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22 (New Living Translation)

    Those who say they are "vampires" and drink blood are committing a grave sin.

    When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division... Galatians 5:19-20 (NLT)

    You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Acts 15:29 (NLT)

    http://www.cbn.com/entertainme.....ssion.aspx

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Those who say they are "vampires" and drink blood are committing a grave sin."

    Sure, but dressing up as a vampire doesn't mean you're claiming to be one.

    And Twilight sucks.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If people want to voluntarily get together and drink each other's blood there should be no law against it, nor do I hold it to be immoral.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Well, if you can find an example let's look at and see what we find.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Eduard, you drink the blood of Christ regularly, no? And I think you are a fine, moral person :).

  • anon||

    Fucking vampiric catholics.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Ooh, how original! I love creative, transgressive humor!

  • ||

    If people want to voluntarily get together and drink each other's blood there should be no law against it...

    I don't think you'd necessarily run up against any disagreement with your source, given that the preface of the quoted text was:

    ...it's up to parents to make that decision for their household.

    ...nor do I hold it to be immoral.

    Your prerogative, just as declaring it to be immoral is theirs. As long as neither of you wants to bludgeon the other with the strong arm of government, who gives a shit what you think?

  • Moogle||

    Libertarians supporting a day where people go door to door demanding handouts?

    Just sayin'

  • anon||

    Hey, it's called "trick or treat" for a reason. I ain't givin' nobody shit cept what they deserve!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I don't have a problem* with any one demanding welfare either, so long as they don't use force when I saw "non".

    *at least a problem I think should be legislatively solved, just an annoyance I may mock

  • Jordan||

    Not sure if serious...

  • Floridian||

    I think most libertarians wish there was more charity in the world as opposed to confiscation of wealth by force.

  • sloopyinca||

    The entire concept of trick or treat and the contract implied has been explored.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    IS the alt-text haunted?

  • Hyperion||

    All I want to know is, where is MNG?

    This was posted in an earlier thread. Read the comments! Good grief, the mask really is off!

    Peak Derp Proggie Fascism

  • Almanian!||

    I hate Halloween now, primarily because adults have confiscated the holiday from kids for themselves. "Banning" it in school just furthers this end.

    I don't get it. Loved Halloween as a kid, absolutely DESPISE seeing adults dress up and act like idiots as adults.

    SLD, anyone can do what they fucking want...but I don't have to like it...etc. etc. etc. GET OFF MY LAWN!

  • John||

    ^^THIS^^

    If Halloween were just cute small children and their parents coming to my door I would like it. But the day it became New Year's Eve junior and an excuse for adults to dress up and act like jackasses, it lost me. I cannot stand the holiday.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    There used to be traditions of adults coming to each others' doors, eg, Christmas carols. That might not work today because people might be offended or scared.

  • Robert||

    Wassailing was the original trick or treat. It was by adults, usually drunk, and the threat was there. That's why they went in bands: to make the threat more credible. The singing came later. It was done both around solstice and mid-autumn. Eventually it split into the nicey-nice around solstice, and the extortion around mid-autumn.

  • WTF||

    Surely you don't object to slutty halloween constumes?

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    The Sexy Pizza

    (Not deep dish)

  • WTF||

    Well, deep dish is not pizza, so...

  • Pelosi's Accommodator||

    That's where my mind went. Grown-up Halloween is friggin' awesome.

  • mr simple||

    I'm pretty sure adults have been dressing up and having parties since long before you were born. And how anyone can object to having fun is beyond me. What a sad, dull existence.

  • Bam!||

    Given that, according to Wikipedia, kids had to explain to adults what trick-or-treating was as late as the 1950s, I very much doubt that adults were dressing up until recently -- say, the last 20 years.

  • H. ReardEn||

    They used to be called masquerade balls. BAM!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm pretty sure those adult parties were happening when you were a kid too, you just weren't invited to them.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I never really enjoyed Halloween as a kid. Seemed like a lot of work to collect candy where I would only want to eat maybe 25% of it.

    LOVED Halloween in college.

  • Jordan||

    I love how every female costume is "Slutty (insert normal costume here)". God bless you, Patriarchy.

  • ||

    Next year I'm thinking of going as "slutty Nancy Pelosi" or "slutty Hillary Clinton"

  • WTF||

    Thanks for putting that image in my head right before lunch.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    How are you making a pant suit slutty?

  • ||

    I'm thinking polyester short-shorts, low-cut blouse, and sensible shoes and schoolmarm hair.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I do appreciate slutty not off the rack Halloween costumes.

    I was in college 2004-2008, toward the end I guess was when Dexter was getting big. A girl wrapped herself in saran-wrap to be a Dexter victim (I have since seen it repeated, but I give her props for being first).

    I'm not sure what it says about me that I was highly aroused by the costume.

  • anon||

    I do appreciate slutty not off the rack Halloween costumes.

    What a snob. I appreciate all of them.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I do too. But in a sea of naughty referees I appreciate diversity.

  • anon||

    Why, on the most sacred of slutty days, would you want to kill every man's erection within a 5 mile radius?

  • Live Free or Diet||

    That's almost word-for-word what I originally wrote.

  • ||

    This will not kill the squeeze's erection. He's a sick pervert.

  • sarcasmic||

    John would hit it.

  • anon||

    Are you saying John has developed immunity to the tactical boner nuke?

  • sarcasmic||

    The only thing that wilts his boner is svelte young women with small titties.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Straight guys: We're ALL sick perverts!

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Eww. I'd prefer "slutty zombie," complete with the smell of rotting flesh.

  • Floridian||

    I thank the person that started selling sexy "fill in the blank" costumes. It is the one time of the year some girls dress unashamedly slutty.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Slutty slut
    Slutty imam
    Slutty feminist professor
    Slutty Professor McGonagall
    Slutty survivalist

  • Brett L||

    God bless the ones who don't need Halloween.

  • Hugh Akston||

    That's a pretty great Rorschach costume.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Needs a hat at least. Here's mine from a few years ago.

  • sloopyinca||

    I argue that this sort of ridiculous behavior helps explain why enrollment at charters and other schools of choice is booming.

    Hey, what the fuck is this bullshit? When did the term "private school" go out of fashion and get replaced by "school of choice"? Charter schools and private schools are the only two options to public schools (with the exception of homeschooling). So let's drop this "school of choice" bullshit phraseology and call private schools what they really are.

    Jesus Fucking Christ.

  • Wendell||

    I recently subbed at a private school. The call themselves "independent schools" now. It must be away to compensate for liberal guilt.

  • sloopyinca||

    Tat's exactly what it is. Bunch of fuckheads and their renaming of everything out of political correctness and guilt.

    Happy Holidays
    Schools of Choice
    People of Color
    Etc...

    Notice the holidays and concepts that were created by or glorify government are never changed though.

    Labor Day
    Memorial Day
    Thanksgiving

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Just say no to guilt!

  • anon||

    I honestly only like Halloween because all the absurdly hot college girls dress up like sluts and give up sex like it's free candy.

    And I find absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    At my college they called that Saturday, not Halloween.

  • anon||

    If your college isn't UNC you can't possibly imagine the debauchery that happens on halloween.

  • wareagle||

    my eldest son is a UNC graduate. I don't want to know.

  • anon||

    It's a 3:1 female:male ratio. I'll just leave it at that.

  • ||

    I'm going to be Joanna from Office Space

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Yeahhhh, that would be great.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Wrong boss. You should say don't stint on the pieces of flair.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Also Nick, your linking to the 1973 Wicker Man just proves that you are not to be taken seriously.

  • Jordan||

    NOT THE BEES!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Nick Cage remake is not to be watched without the Rifftrax synced commentary.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    So I saw a church sign that was advertising something called Trick or Trunk. What the hell does that mean? Turn a trick, or you go in the trunk?

  • anon||

    I saw one of those too. As far as I can tell, it's basically trick or treating in a parking lot. At least, according to this description.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    So it's tailgating for kids?

  • cavalier973||

    A lot of churches like to do something called "Hell House", where people get to experience what it's like to be in Hell.

    This year, I hear, part of the festivities include a looped video of Paul Krugman, and compelling the participants to try to successfully log into an Obamacare Health Exchange Website.

  • Warty||

    I learned that British Columbians and Nova Scotians celebrate Halloween with fireworks. Why the fuck is this not an American tradition? We need to conquer and subjugate Canada so we can learn their Halloween secrets.

  • Brandybuck||

    We're not even allowed to celebrate our Fourth of July with fireworks. For the children!

  • Robert||

    We use firecrackers on Halloween, but it ain't exactly to celebrate, if you know what I mean.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Pope Francis celebrates Halloween* by selling off one of his two Harleys:

    "Pope Francis has donated his Harley Davidson motorcycle to be sold to raise money for a hostel and soup kitchen that serves Rome’s homeless.

    "...The sale of the motorcycle will fund the renovation of Caritas’ Don Luigi di Liegro Hostel and Soup Kitchen at Rome’s Termini station.

    "...The Harley Davidson Motor Co. presented two of its motorcycles and a biker jacket to Pope Francis in June, when Rome hosted the 110th anniversary celebration of the iconic American motorcycle. On June 16, the Pope blessed about 800 bikers and their rides in St. Peter’s Square.

    "Pope Francis has encouraged clergy and religious to show humility in their choice of transportation."

    http://www.ncregister.com/dail.....z2hzzSvS9Q

    *Technically not a Halloween event but I'm trying to stay on topic

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Maybe someone can make a road-trip movie out of this.

  • Brandybuck||

    You're just quoting from your other article. This is why Reddit doesn't like us. This is why we can't have nice things.

  • B.P.||

    Lat year I gave out packs of bubblegum cigarettes to all the little kiddies on Holloween.

  • cavalier973||

    How American children once celebrated Halloween.

    This isn't the whole clip, though. The full scene has the children building a huge bonfire and running around the neighborhood without any adult supervision at all.

  • Robert||

    Then who was taking the pictures?

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