A school district in Illinois has recently decided to cancel Halloween celebrations, I’m wondering if that kind of action is an isolated incident or part of a trend. Is the suburban Chicago district board made up of Halloween grinch-types… or are they on to something that could grow?
Our local School District #20 Superintendent Greg Luterbach, when asked for a comment said that during his seven years with the District, to his knowledge, the issue of Halloween had not come up.
If the Halloween hoopla were to gradually fade away, would it be missed?
For starters, the way the Oct. 31 occasion is now described by some as a holiday is interesting, and not just because folks don’t necessarily get the day off. The word “holiday,” according to Wikipedia is based on the phrase “Holy Day,” so who is Halloween holy to other than the confectionary conglomerates?
Other significant dates on the calendar are likely to relate to some revered religious, patriotic, or regional concept… in the case of Labour Day – a tribute to workers’ rights… Valentine’s Day – well, you know. For the most part they’re enshrined and in no danger of being phased out anytime soon.
But School District #69 in Skokie, Illinois, at least, has seen fit to single out Halloween as the one to pull the plug on, and the reasons given don’t even take into account two of the major downsides of the black and orange time. The board cited the prohibitive cost of costumes – a burden for some families, and religious considerations – another factor driving a wedge between groups of youngsters.
Not mentioned were the too-often freewheeling use of fireworks and the spike in crime (both petty and otherwise) traditionally noticed on the last night of October.
But that’s just part of the story. Lots of people of all ages obviously love to get the green light on excess, to get refreshed and flamboyant… let’s not get between them and their rights. After all, it’s just blowing off a little steam and there’s nothing like a decent disguise for reducing inhibitions.
As for the trick-or-treat component, kids’ safety on that night is more of a concern than ever, as are the subjects of juvenile diabetes and childhood obesity.
So, after a bit of examination is it reasonable to ask whether Halloween is something to be celebrated… endured… or discontinued?
Halloween has been around for a while, but long, rich histories did nothing to keep Oldsmobile, Plymouth and Pontiac from going under. Can (and should) the cackling witch hope for a better future?