The War on Halloween

Following in the tradition of redefining and sanitizing holidays, some government schools are setting their anti-celebration sights on Halloween. First it was Thanksgiving, then it was Christmas; it was only a matter of time before Halloween got targeted. A school district superintendent in Illinois states the reason plainly:

“There will be no costumes, no candy bags and no parties. Many students cannot afford costumes and there is an economic disparity. We also have students that are unable to participate for religious or cultural reasons.”

It seems that for as much as the state schools like to talk about diversity, they are actually disinclined to exemplify it. Apparently, banning all fall holidays and/or celebrations is quickly becoming the new American tradition in public education/indoctrination.

Following the same (il)logic as the Illinois superintendent, a principal in a Portland, Oregon school informed parents that Halloween would be canceled at his school due to his concern that some “students whose culture or religion didn’t allow them to celebrate would feel excluded from the others, especially as more and more immigrants with different cultures arrive in this country.” He added, “We’re pushing our traditions on an ever-changing population.” Good point, sir. And what are your views on the American tradition of paying principals of schools large sums of money? Should we also get rid of that tradition due to the ever-changing population?

A parent in this principal’s school voiced her opposition to the decision:

“What this ban is teaching is intolerance. By banning one or all we teach not to be accepting of cultural and religious beliefs other than our own… They have now taught intolerance! A lesson no child should ever be given.”

A good point to be sure, but not quite accurate. Banning a traditional celebration for the sake of not wishing to offend anyone is not intolerance; it is ignorance. It is a willful neglect of one culture in favor of another. This does not teach children anything about being either tolerant or intolerant, but it certainly teaches them to be ignoramuses. It sends the message that conflict resolution can be achieved by pretending that there is no problem to begin with. In other words, it’s very similar to the Obama administration’s approach to foreign affairs: Ignore the problem long enough and hope that it will simply go away. Problem? What problem?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m no fan of Halloween. The whole idea rather annoys me. I don’t particularly enjoy seeing decorative spiders, spiderwebs, and jack o’lanterns gracing so many homes and businesses this time of year. I don’t particularly take pleasure in the idea of my children getting all hopped up on sugar lavished on them by otherwise rational adults. I’m rather relieved when November 1 rolls around, and Americans begin gearing up for Thanksgiving instead.

In fact, the only thing I like less than Halloween is inane arguments and lame excuses for not having it. I’m all for parents choosing not to observe the tradition, but I am not in favor of school administrators acting as if the day doesn’t exist. This is not education. But then again, perhaps it’s naïve of me to think that government schools are really concerned with education in the first place.