Canceling Halloween Is the Cruelest Thing To Do to Kids

Such actions remind kids that government authority is stupid, arbitrary, and worth fighting at every opportunity.


For all the rumors of a "War on Christmas," few holidays face as many regular drone attacks as Halloween, which has been hammered over the years as objectively pro Satan, a stalking horse (via UNICEF collections) for one-world government, and a Purge-style event for perverts and candy poisoners (for the millionth time, there are no documented cases of kids chowing down on deadly goodies handed out by non-family members, and last year's highly touted "meth poisoning" story was about as accurate as this year's Mr. Rogers costume is "sexy").

But it's late October, so some idiot school district is, of course, banning Halloween. Yahoo! reports that the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 in Illinois is "moving away" from Halloween celebrations for "two-fold reasons." Officials say that the holiday may offend religious sensibilities (especially non-Christian ones that don't even equate the celebration with witchcraft or necromancy!) and causes poor kids who can't afford fancy costumes discomfort by rubbing the fact of their own poverty in their faces (as if one of the whole points of the traditional public-school system isn't to replicate and perpetuate racial and class stratification).

Here's an official statement from District 65's leadership, which is worth quoting at length both because of the heresy of paraphrase and because the soul-deadening prose of anti-fun thugs must be experienced to be fully appreciated:

As part of our school and district-wide commitment to equity, we are focused on building community and creating inclusive, welcoming environments for all… While we recognize that Halloween is a fun tradition for many, it is not a holiday that is celebrated by everyone for various reasons and we want to honor that.

We are also aware of the range of inequities that are embedded in Halloween celebrations that take place as part of the school day and the unintended negative impact that it can have on some students, families, and staff. As a result, we are moving away from Halloween celebrations that include costumes and similar traditions during the school day. We are confident our school communities will find new and engaging ways to build community within their schools.

In District 65, we remain committed to equity and discontinuing current and past practices that are not in alignment with our goals. Our schools are special because of the people who are a part of them and our commitment to serving the educational needs of our students. Many of our schools have already moved away from the traditional Halloween activities during the school day and have scheduled Halloween or other seasonal activities outside of the school day.

Full Yahoo! account here.

What's the upside of this sort of action? It's an object lesson that traditional, compulsory K-12 education persists mostly to remind kids that authority is brutal, stupid, and arbitrary, and to provide source material for the next iteration of Pink Floyd's The Wall, To Sir, With Love, Alice Cooper's "School's Out," Heathers, Mean Girls, or the next great youth-in-revolt statement. Indeed, the only good reason I can think of to oppose choice and letting parents and kids sort themselves into schools they really like is the negative effect it would have on future music, movies, novels, TV shows, and other forms of popular culture.

In 2014, Lenore Skenazy took to Reason TV to explain "Three Ways Parents Are Ruining Halloween." Take a look before stocking up on razor blades and rat poison.

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  1. So, no costumes in school? Right? But, after school? Fine. Knock yourself out. Newsworthy. Very newsworthy.

    1. As we have been learning, what happens outside of school might not stay out of school.

    2. Yeah, I don’t really have a problem with this either. Public education I have a problem with.

    3. It is not the no costume, it is the reasoning that is objectionable. And Halloween is more a pagan holiday then a Christian holiday. So there reasoning isn’t even solid.

      1. Oh it’s ok if it’s a pagan holiday?

        1. No it destroys their narrative that it is a Christian holiday.

          1. But wouldn’t the narrative be the same if they acknowledged it was a pagan holiday?

    4. As we have been learning, what happens outside of school might not stay out of school.

  2. “We are confident our school communities will find new and engaging ways to build community within their schools.”

    Like forming revolutionary cabals?

    1. like pouring all your school supplies in the middle of the classroom for everyone to share

  3. I’m surprised they didn’t pretend to be worried about the health risks of candy.

    Their gaslighting skills need work.

  4. Also, that sexy Mr. Rogers costume sure was sexy on that young lady in the picture.

    1. I want to be her neighbor.

      1. I want to be her Mr. McFeely.

  5. Couldn’t they have just said “no, dress-up and eat candy on your own time”?

    Not everything has to be celebrated at school.

    1. Wait, what about your gender identity and sexual preference? Shouldn’t that be celebrated at school (unless its cishetero of course)?

      1. Honestly cishetero people shouldn’t even be allowed at school because they’re violence.

      2. Depends on what you mean by “celebrated”, really.

        A GSA or PFLAG club? So long as the school allows other student clubs, then yes, it must allow those as well.

        Allowing students to take a same-sex date to prom? So long as the school allows students to take opposite-sex dates to prom, that must be allowed as well.

        Wearing a tux or dress to prom or other school dances? Same story.

        So if you want me to answer your question, you’ll need to give examples of the kind of “celebration” you’re thinking of.

        1. So telling my child he WILL be involved in the Diwali celebration, will have mock Muslim events, or Chinese New Year festivals is OK? Or is it just American customs that we can shit on?

  6. Halloween should have been canceled a long time ago.

    1. “HOW DARE YOU?”

  7. By the way,.Good Housekeeping has a list of some of the most awesome – I mean offensive – Halloween costumes:


    1. I love that the header picture is a little girl of color dressed as Maui with a shit-eating grin and a little white girl dressed as an upper class scold with a concern-troll look.

      1. Oops, looks like the girl I identified as “upper class scold with a concern-troll look” is actually dressed as a “holocaust survivor.”

        How many PC points do I lose?

    2. That first one they label as an Anne Frank costume is NOT an Anne Frank costume! It’s a 1940s British child costume. When all the children had pins tagged on them and put on trains and sent out to the country to keep them out of the way of Nazi bombings.

      It’s rather clever costume for those who get it. But it’s NOT Anne Frank. Sheesh.

      Also, most of the others are pretty damned good. Hard to tell if Good Housekeeping is satirizing woke culture or not. Hard to tell satire from reality or not. The Cecil the Lion costume is awesome! Makes me want to go out and make a Harambe with Baby costume.

    3. Thanks! I resolve to combine the worst features of two, maybe three of these costumes this year!

      1. Anne Frank with a plane crashing into her head?

      2. Dress as a holocaust survivor and say you are the victim of transphobic comments overheard at a chik fil a

    4. 3. Transphobic costumes
      12. A mentally ill person

      … But we repeat ourselves

    5. 2. Anything involving blackface
      I’m glad mickface is still an option. How about dressing as Northam or Trudeau?
      3. Transphobic costumes
      I remember cross dressing costumes from Halloweens past. Now I can’t tell if it is a costume.
      7. A terrorist
      No NRA costumes?
      8. Zombie versions of recently deceased celebrities
      Some years there are exceptions, like dressing as zombie George Romero in 2017.

  8. Canceling Halloween Is the Cruelest Thing To Do to Kids

    Such actions remind kids that government authority is stupid, arbitrary, and worth fighting at every opportunity.

    So it’s somehow cruel to teach kids that the most dangerous form of stranger danger comes from the sickos that voluntarily work for the state?

    1. It’s cruel to have the rose-colored glasses torn off at such a young age.

    2. I can think of any number of crueler things to do to kids.

      Read them Hillary’s book, for starters.

  9. The schools can’t ban the parents from taking their children out to trick or treat.

    Why parents are shitting their pants over this is crazy. Fragile conservatives. Back wehn I taught in a private (as in, not a government school) we didn’t celebrate Halloween, we celebrated a hippy dippy leftwing “international day”. But guess what? 99% of the parents took their kids trick or treating anyway.

    Halloween is not a school event. It’s a family event. Go take your kids trick or treating without worrying about whether you need government permission. Just go do it. Don’t be fragile redstaters wringing your hands over a War on Halloween. Sheesh.

    Ditto for Christmas. Just go celebrate Christmas and stop whining about red and green Starbucks cups.

    1. It is their reasoning behind the ban, not the ban itself. It is the principle. I.e. because someone might be offended we should ban it all together. That is the problem.

      1. In the name of “equity”, in other words making everyone equally miserable.

        I’m not even that big of a fan of Halloween, but fuck that shit.

  10. I plan to dress up as Robert E Lee and hand out Juul pods and mini bottles of Jim Beam

    1. Forgot to add that I will be in blackface

    2. Better yet — Rebel Yell!

    3. Not authentic. The Marble Man didn’t smoke or drink. He just whipped slaves and killed Yankees. (Some, of course, needed killing.)

      1. He also wasn’t black.

        1. He might be *now*.

          *** kicks pebble ***

    4. Don’t sit at home and wait for them to come to you, get proactive. I intend to go down to the town square where they have the “approved” trick or treat route and get in the kids faces and tell them what exactly is wrong with every damn one of them’s costumes and call them all white supremacists. (If you can’t figure out a connection between a Halloween costume and white supremacy, you ain’t even trying.)

    5. S’more Schnapps

  11. >>it is not a holiday that is celebrated by everyone

    it was when everybody celebrated it by trick-or-treating and having school parties.

  12. Speaking of cruelty to children, Here’s some good news out of Texas:

    Judge rules that father of James Younger will have a say in his gender transition, but adds gag order

    LifeSiteNews is reporting Thursday afternoon that a Texas judge has ruled that Jeffrey Younger, father of 7-year-old James Younger, will have joint conservatorship over James, meaning that he will have a say in medical decisions for the child. However, the judge has also put a gag order on the father.

    As Twitchy reported Tuesday, a Texas jury had ruled against Younger, who’s trying to keep James from being chemically castrated and transitioned into a girl named “Luna” by the boy’s non-biological mother.

    1. That’s a real mess of a situation that conservative media isn’t being 100% honest about.

      The mother seems like she’s potentially got some mental issues, for sure, but I’m noticing most stories don’t lead with, or even mention, that the marriage was annulled because it turned out that the father is world-class lying sack of shit who claimed to be a combat veteran doctoral candidate, when in fact he was kicked out of the army for being gay and never finished college (this is only a couple of his lies – there’s not enough space here to go into all of them).

      On top of being a lying sack of shit, he has a history of being aggressive and abusive, which is why he was stripped of any say in parental decisions regarding his children.

      Which is so much as to say that I haven’t seen any evidence that the mother wants to give the child hormone blockers or anything like that other than the father’s say-so – the guy who has a long history of being an aggressive and abusive lying sack of shit.

      I’m not saying everything is peachy with the mother here (after all, she married this guy) – but take the shit this guy says with a healthy spoonful of salt.

      1. Well, the gag order makes a lot more sense now.

        1. Yeah – I feel for this kid. Lost the parental lottery big-time.

      2. Because he is a lying sack of shit, it is okay for the mother to chemically alter the child without his say so? Naw, his history have little bearing on if she should or shouldn’t be able to possibly permanently damage the child (the side effects of chemical castration can be permanent).

        1. Especially since the mother isn’t even the biological mother.

          1. That’s entirely irrelevant.

            1. Why?

              1. Because the conflict is between the kid’s parents. The court, nor you or anyone else, should care whether they’re adopted or biological parents.

                Acting like the relationship is “lesser” because it isn’t biological is a dick, immoral, unethical move.

  13. Children should not be allowed dress up in costumes and get candy.
    That would not be as much fun for them as be forced to read Marx, Lenin, Mao’s Little Red Book and Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.
    We ruling socialist elites know what’s best for kids everywhere because we were once kids raised by a bunch of Red Diaper babies.
    It is only through politically correct socialist indoctrination can children have fun enjoying the delights and wonders of proper socialist education.

  14. “Such actions remind kids that government authority is stupid, arbitrary, and worth fighting at every opportunity.”

    Every opportunity ?

    It was just a couple of weeks ago that Nick claimed all libertarians supported a limited coercive monopoly government !

    That seems a contradiction to me.
    Something Nick does a lot of.

    1. It was just a couple of weeks ago that Nick claimed all libertarians supported a limited coercive monopoly government !
      Don’t they?
      And it’s not really a contradiction to say that all else being equal, it’s better to have a small, limited government than no government. But still to understand that government can easily be corrupted or go to far and needs to be resisted and kept in check. If you want limited government, you always need to be beating it back.

      1. Yep. To quote Mencken:

        The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.

        1. Yep, we have to defend the scoundrels even if we have no sympathy for them. I wish people would be more responsible with their rights.

      2. I have not problem with non-coercive governments !

        I do oppose coercive monopoly governments though because they contradict a free market and freedom of association – both of which you obviously do not support.

        1. “non-coercive governments” went extinct when we ran out of frontiers to flee to.

          1. All that need be done is prohibit government from initiating force.

        2. No, I didn’t actually tell you what I support or don’t. Why is it so difficult to understand that people sometimes talk about ideas and beliefs without it being a statement of their own views?
          Most libertarians, as far as I can tell, do support a coercive, monopoly government, albeit a small one. I don’t support anything when it comes to politics and government. I just hope they don’t fuck it up too badly.

          1. If someone supports coercion they are by definition not libertarian.

  15. I don’t care much about Halloween but trick-or-treating is a bad idea. I suspect it was invented by some leftist politicians to train people on how to demand things from the government (taxpayers). It even occurs shortly before election day.

    1. Yeah, no one should ever be generous or kind or give anything away for free. Any traditions involving anything like that must be a communist plot.

      1. Trick-or-treating is not asking; it’s demanding and includes a threat. I remember kids soaping the windows or TPing the houses of those who didn’t give candy. True, that was back in the ’60s, and nowadays behavior is better, probably because there are much fewer kids doing it.

        1. You’re really deep in the ideology, huh?

        2. Demanding?

          Turn off your porch light. You won’t get any trick or treaters, and no demands.

          1. “Turn off your porch light. You won’t get any trick or treaters, and no demands.”
            I don’t mind handing out candy; I have already bought two bags of KitKats for next Wednesday.

            It is the IDEA of getting something for nothing, or worse, getting something by dressing up as a vigilante and extorting junk food from your neighbors. Ideas matter – or I wouldn’t be reading Reason, as you shouldn’t be.

            1. There is nothing wrong with the idea or reality of someone voluntarily giving you something for nothing.
              Fucking Objectivists are nuts.

        3. That kind of behavior is far from universal and was never my experience of Halloween. I never took away the lesson that it’s OK to demand free shit from everyone. There were always people who kept their lights off and we left them alone. It’s just a fin thing for kids. Most people enjoy that. You aren’t obliged to and if people vandalize your property because you don’t, they should face normal consequences.

    2. Trick or treating has its roots in iron age traditions, not sure there were a lot of Marxist in iron age Europe.

    3. Or a lesson in community forming voluntarily instead of enforced top down. People leave porch lights on if they want to participate. Off if they don’t.

      1. You are talking about the way it is done (nowadays).

        I am talking principles.

        If it’s just asking, why not just ask? eg, Can we have some junk food, please?

        Instead of “Give me some junk food or I’ll play a trick on you”.

  16. I’m pretty sure I could think of some crueler things to do to kids.

    1. Seems to me that the problem is canceling Halloween for dumb reasons. If schools want to stop doing Halloween because it’s school and not social hour that’s fine with me. I’m good with schools being less involved in children’s social lives.

    2. Cancel Eid al-Fitr?

      1. When have Eid al-Fitr celebrations taken place at school?

        Which is kind of the point… a school not celebrating a holiday isn’t “cancelling” the holiday. Heck, kids that want to take time off school for religious observances can do that too, if there’s actually a conflict.

        Not participating is not the same as cancelling.

        1. When have Eid al-Fitr celebrations taken place at school?

          They take place at schools with enough of a Muslim demographic to want them.

          The reason we have Christmas, Halloween, Easter, St Pat’s, Valentine’s parties and celebrations in schools is because usually around 90+% of the student body celebrates them in some way. Hanukkah gets dragged in because it falls close to Christmas, but most non-secularized holidays are pretty much ignored.

          Everyone can spin the dreidel, but not everyone can go to seder.

    3. Take away their parents’ credit card so they can’t purchase loot boxes?

      1. I don’t even know what that is.

  17. Officials say that the holiday … causes poor kids who can’t afford fancy costumes discomfort by rubbing the fact of their own poverty in their faces

    Oh, FFS! Every time I see a Lamborghini that day rubs the fact that I can’t afford one in my face.

    1. Yeah, shielding kids from reality is a really great way to educate them and get them ready for the real world.

  18. Ugh, the Facebook commentariat on this article is horrible. Nick, you need to tone it down with the hyperbole. I mean, I know you need clicks to get money from ad revenue, but damn.

  19. The kids should dress up as scary striking teachers.

  20. “While we recognize that Halloween is a fun tradition for many, it is not a holiday that is celebrated by everyone for various reasons and we want to honor that.”

    Other than death and taxes, there is nothing that*everyone* celebrates. It’s not like they force the kids to dress up… Unlike when we had to bring a valentine for all the uggos in class as well as the trim.

  21. Trick-or-treating is sort of similar to carol singing which my mother did as child in England. The idea of carol singing is to sing for money to buy Christmas presents with. The children would stand outside the home and sing carols and homeowner would toss out a few pennies or sixpences.
    The difference between carol singing and trick-or-treating is that while the former is offering a song for money, the latter carries an explicit ‘threat’ to play a trick on you if you don’t give them some candy corn or something else equally bad for their teeth. I didn’t like the idea of my daughter doing it when she was a child but her mother had the final say. At least, however, my ex-wife was wise enough to council my daughter, when she was older, that this was just an old tradition.

  22. Maybe reminding kids “that government authority is stupid, arbitrary, and worth fighting at every opportunity,” isn’t altogether a bad thing.

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