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Trick or Trunk or Treat or…

Halloween was close to magical for me as a kid and still remains one of my favorite days out of the year.  I remember roaming the streets on Long Island, trying to get to as many houses as possible, finally being big enough to switch out the cheap Halloween bag for a pillow case, and working out strategies with friends so we could hit more houses in less time.  I always loved going to haunted houses in the area, especially one that was in what used to be a two-story department store.  My elementary school in Connecticut would allow the 5th grade classrooms to convert to haunted rooms every year, and I remember loving the tours as a young student and feeling so amazing and important when it was my turn to scare the heck out of my younger peers.  My first year in college, I dressed as the Grim Reaper (face paint and all) and scared my dorm mates to death.  I love Halloween.

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I passed a church the other day that will be doing a Trunk or Treat event this coming Sunday.  Children will dress up and go from car to car in the parking lot collecting treats and showing off their costume.  This has been going on for a few years now in various places (mostly churches) and is meant to be a safe alternative to sending your children roaming around your neighborhood.  Other alternatives that seem to be gaining popularity are having a backyard scavenger hunt with neighborhood children, getting a pinata and having all the candy in one place, trick or treating at malls that host such events, or organizing games and other activities that feature candy but aren’t centered around collecting it.

These alternate activities seem to not only be in response to a danger associated with trick or treating, but with the “fact” that Halloween is a very religious holiday and that makes it not okay for everyone to celebrate it and not okay for it to be celebrated in any fashion in schools.  A Pennsylvania school principal stated that “some holidays, like Halloween, are viewed…as having religious overtones. The district must always be mindful of the sensitivity of all the members of the community with regard to holidays and celebrations of a religious, cultural or secular nature. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that school districts may not endorse, prefer, favor, promote or advance any religious beliefs.”

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I’ll spare you the copy and pasting from my Google searches on the origins of Halloween, as there are many details and many theories about whether or not it is okay for someone of Christian faith to celebrate this holiday.  I was baptized and confirmed as a Catholic and not once did anyone associated with my church tell myself or my family that Halloween was wrong in any way.  My son was baptized in a Methodist church and the preacher who performed the ceremony addressed the Halloween issue (in a different service of course) and specifically stated that Halloween is a fun time for children and we should leave it as simple as that.

For a child, Halloween is simply a fun time to dress like a superhero or scary monster and get free candy from people around your home.  It’s a time to watch frightening movies and tell spooky stories with friends.  It’s a time to go to haunted houses, be it the truly frightening ones for the brave or the tame lights-on set ups at children’s museums and the like.  I have never known a child to question whether or not to celebrate Halloween due to religious or moral reasons.  The handful of children I knew that weren’t into Halloween felt that way because they considered themselves too old for it or because their parents pushed them into feeling that the day was silly/childish/not worth their time.

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If your family is that serious about Halloween being against your religion, then keep your child home from school that day and plan an alternative for them.  Maybe go to the movies or have a family outing elsewhere while everyone else is trick or treating so your child(ren) don’t have to sit at home and watch everyone around them have a blast.  What needs to stop happening is uptight parents sticking their nose in EVERYTHING and ruining good times for their own children and everyone else’s.  What is the harm in having decorations in an elementary school or having the cafeteria serve up Halloween-inspired goodies?  What is the harm in picking a parent to walk with a group of kids around the neighborhood?

By taking Halloween out of schools and trick or treating out of neighborhoods, you take childhood away from children.  You aren’t allowing them to simply be kids and have fun.  They are going to be miserable enough when they reach adulthood and find out that you can’t dress like Darth Vader in the office because it’s creepy rather than cute and quirky.  It’s selfish to rush these kids along and take away enjoyable childhood experiences because you have your panties in a twist about cartoon witches being evil and unavoidable sugar rushes.  This “everyone is out to get me” attitude needs to go away.  Halloween has morphed into a frighteningly fun holiday that seeks to exclude no one.  Can we quit nit-picking and simply enjoy?

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on October 23, 2013, in Friends and/or Enemies, Fun!, Kids, Party!, School and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. My favorite retort to people wanting to avoid Halloween on religious grounds is to point out that the original “War on Christmas” was started by Protestants way back when we were first colonizing; because it was a holiday created to try and co-opt what were originally pagan festivals/rituals. There are actual quotes from George Washington calling Christmas a pagan tradition.

    I mean, Santa Claus and his reindeer delivering presents to children used to be Odin going on the Winter-edition of his Wild Hunt, leaving gifts in thanks for children leaving food out for him and his hounds at night (and cursing those that didn’t with a “bad death” some time in the next year).

    Everyone changed their minds on this once businesses and government responded by cutting paid vacation days and other holiday benefits like bonuses and got all high-and-mighty about heathens insulting Jesus (who probably would be right in line with the pagans telling Christians they’re missing the point entirely).

    Of course Catholicism wouldn’t have a problem with Halloween–the Church invented the Christian version of the holiday!

    I guess, to sum things up: these holiday controversies are basically like the awkward fallout of the high-privilege family member trying to “rap” to a teenager.

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