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.

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