Saturday, October 29, 2011

The War On Halloween?

Every year right about the end of the Thanksgiving holidays we start to hear the rhetoric heat up surrounding what language we use to talk about that next all-important retail event on the December calendar. If someone says "Happy Holidays," they are said to be anti-religion, and if someone says "Merry Christmas" the argument is that they aren't being politically correct.

Welcome to the front lines of what church-going folk often call the "War On Christmas."

But what about Halloween? Don't we have a similar battle going on over the language of this writer's favorite holiday?

When I was a kid it was perfectly safe for me and my friends to wander the streets of our suburban Houston subdivision to our hearts' content, collecting candy until our bags were full and we just couldn't carry any more. The biggest threat was that we might get some of that weird home-made candy from the oriental homes, but the idea that someone might kidnap one of us was just not part of that era's reality.

Nowadays families often choose to take their kids to a safer environment, often that of their church. More and more churches across the country are beginning to have their own Halloween parties and trick-or-treat activities, but for some reason they're often afraid to call it a "Halloween" party. They want to call it a "Fall Festival," as they feel that the word "Halloween" is in some way anti-religious.


I realize that much of religious dogma is based squarely on superstition, but aren't we taking this Halloween thing a bit too far? Are we really worried that witches and ghosts will make off with our children if we call the holiday by it's rightful name. Do we really BELIEVE in goblins and ghouls???

Again, turning the clock back some 30 years to my youth, October 31st was always called "Halloween." My parents went crazy, decorating the whole house, buying costumes, taking me to haunted houses . . .the whole nine yards. For my part, I absolutely LOVED it . . .and it is still by far my favorite holiday to this day. I mean, I love Christmas (or whatever we're calling it this year), but there's nothing like that chilly night spooky delights to really get my motor running. Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando is just about my favorite event in the universe. As a kid I probably fantasized that the obligatory Halloween haunts were real, but I always knew - in the back of my mind - that it was all make-believe.

You know, like Santa Claus and the reindeer?

How paranoid and downright boring has our society become that we have to try and change the name of holidays to preserve some person's idea of what's politically correct? Who wants to be politically correct, anyway? Who's STUPID idea was THAT??

And so I wish everyone a Happy Halloween . . .and hope to god you're taking your kids trick-or-treating, even if it's at some church that's afraid of the name of the holiday. I promise - your kids will never know anything about Halloween except that it's a fun time to dress up in costumes and get free candy unless you decide to pull out the Encyclopedia Brittanica - oops - I guess that's Wikipedia now - and have them research the old customs of "All Hallows Eve."

But why spoil a good holiday and great parties with old, out of date dogma?

Like so many things, the only evil that comes with Halloween is the evil in our minds. There is absolutely nothing inherently bad about Halloween, and pretending there is will only perpetuate old myths and superstitions that are best left in the distant past.

It will also deprive your children of a wonderfully fun and frightful good time!


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