Halloween is an observance on the calendar that not only appeals to kids, but to also adults. The celebration usually centers on people invading neighborhoods in search of candy – dressed in costumes that range from scary to angelic. Others view All Hallows Eve as a time where the dead walk amongst the living, and a time when evil influences are at its highest. Lately, news headlines have been emerging, as those opposed to Halloween wish to ban it altogether.
Over the years, some schools around the United States have toned down their Halloween celebrations. Opponents of Halloween have been pushing to end glorifying the observance during school hours – with some saying that it’s a fake holiday that disrespects the beliefs of various religions.
The ‘holiday’ has always had a Satanic cloud hanging over its head. And some school have responded to the pleas of parents by prohibiting schoolchildren from wearing costumes to class, stopping neighborhood parades, and refraining from decorating their classrooms with images of witches, mummies, ghouls, goblins, and vampires.
One person in the middle of the escalating Halloween banning trend is Orlando Taylor, principal of the Inglewood Elementary School in Towamencin Township, Pennsylvania. Believing it was the right thing to do, Taylor sent a letter home to parents to announce that there would be no Halloween celebrations at the school this year. His good intentions were not met with approving parents where some went as far as to call the act ‘un-American.’ When reporters heard of what happened, the principal found himself in the center of a media firestorm – some likening him to the Grinch who stole Halloween.
Executive members of the school district tried to calm the controversy by announcing that Taylor had misstated the policy in the letter to parents. Teachers will be able to host Halloween parties, but school-wide Halloween events such as costume parades must be held before or after school.
Inglewood Elementary isn’t the only school trying to distance themselves from Halloween celebrations, as many other districts across the nation are turning their backs on Halloween-themed activities during daytime hours at the school. Some have done away with Halloween paraphernalia, and replaced the season with ‘harvest festivals.’ However, Halloween-loving parents and kids in the center of it all aren’t going down without a fight, and have threatened schools with First Amendment lawsuits.
Religious consideration is behind the growing trend of banning Halloween in schools, as the symbols and images associated with the observance do promote ghosts, witches and demons. It’s a time of the year where a child could very well come to school dressed as the Devil. While Halloween isn’t viewed as being a religious celebration (despite being traced back to ancient pagan and other religious practices), schools are still trying to appease religiously-centered parents who oppose the meaning behind it (such as Christians and Muslims). The celebrations that have long taken place in schools are now being deemed offensive to certain religious groups.
So, don’t be surprised if in a couple of years you won’t be sending your kids to school in a vampire costume, or see them bringing home coloring sheets of ghosts and witches. As the years pass by, the observance is increasingly being seen as an infringement upon religious values.