Opinion

The Great Debate

The war on Halloween is a war on capitalism

By Ken Layne
October 26, 2012

America’s second-favorite holiday is upon us, and once again the forces of intolerance are demanding that hardworking people give up their most hallowed traditions.

In the cities, urban elitists at the finer preschool programs issue bans on fun costumes because of anti-corporate and gender-neutral policies. Around the rest of the country, religious zealots turn Halloween parties into bloodless “fall festivals” where even our ancient rituals of harvest are prohibited.

A school district in Pennsylvania killed the traditional October celebrations because of “controversy surrounding the religious connotations of Halloween.” A suburban Seattle elementary school stomped the hearts of its littlest goblins by canceling the usual Oct 31 costume day because unnamed religious groups were “offended by Halloween.” From coast to coast, our nation’s biggest celebration is under attack by those who would strip it of ghosts and goblins.

In Skokie, Illinois, the schoolchildren of District 69 lost their Halloween festivities, supposedly because of “economic disparity” ‑ a real enough horror in America. The superintendent’s letter announcing the death of Halloween then makes clear the real cause: “We also have students who are unable to participate for religious or cultural reasons.”

And in Lower Manhattan, a remnant faction of Occupy Wall Street has blockaded Trinity Church, causing the beloved neighborhood institution to cancel its popular Halloween party for local kids.

Whither the ghosts.

The War on Halloween is not just about robbing our children of creative fun and community interaction/ The War on Halloween is also a War on American Capitalism.

The National Retail Federation describes Oct. 31 as “one of the fastest-growing and most widely loved holidays,” with three-quarters of Americans celebrating by spending more than $8 billion annually on costumes, candy, decorations and party supplies. This year’s Halloween spending is on schedule to be the biggest in American history ‑ unless the anti-Halloween forces have their way with the nation’s economic vitality.

Just as the original American Puritans despised the celebration of Christmas, today’s killjoy has nothing but scorn for the merry screams and cash register rings of All Hallow’s Eve. Despite the certainty that we will all eventually die, the anti-Halloween zealot constantly fears death and is appalled by the ironic enjoyment of the macabre.

As is often the case with those who say no, the War on Halloween’s forces offer no alternative to humanity’s ancient autumn rituals. A handful of dumb smiling scarecrows made of worn-out clothing will not pull America out of lingering recession. This economy can only be saved by all nine members of an intra-corporate sales team dressed in $200 adult Avengers costumes (made in China), along with the multiple cases of Miller Lite they’ll need for strength.

Canceling school costume contests and fright nights will only pull our nation deeper into the open grave of joblessness and crushed hopes. And how does a megachurch “fall festival” a week after Halloween help the country’s liquor and beer distributors?

Halloween is the most American of holidays and exactly the kind of beacon to the world that Mitt Romney praised during the last presidential debate. Americans have taken what was once a dreary Celtic night of human fat burnt in autumn squash lamps and used their energy and creativity to fashion a weeks-long party that’s all about reinvention and chills and, of course, sexed-up versions of every real or imagined character in the national consciousness.

Like everything in America, Halloween is ultimately about the joy of spending our hard-earned money on something frivolous and fun. There is a skeleton inside every one of us, and on Oct. 31 we spend a lot of cash and credit to bring that skeleton out for the night. Also, as Americans who love freedom, we make it a “sexy skeleton.”

PHOTO: REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Comments
2 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

I agree with the author’s scorn for hypersensitive advocacy groups looking for something to be offended by. I agree with his scorn for spineless institutions caving in to this complete nonsense. But no way do I see a link to anticapitalism in this. It’s almost as if the author is taking a pet peeve – anticapitalism – and hunting for a way to make any unfortunate trend serve as evidence for it. Kind of like an “unnamed religious group” seeing monsters where there are only children in masks!

Posted by franabulax | Report as abusive
 

Oh no, corporate dollars are under attack. Time to wave the banner of freedom!

“”Many students cannot afford costumes and there is an economic disparity,” the letter reads. “We also have students that are unable to participate for religious or cultural reasons.”"

Of course the author tries hard to lead you to simply believe it’s the religious and cultural reasons. Of course! I mean in a time of economic disaster led by the financial industry, the more obvious (cuts to public schools) reason can’t be the reason right?

“The War on Halloween is not just about robbing our children of creative fun and community interaction/ The War on Halloween is also a War on American Capitalism.”

Hahaha. Have you seen the state of American Capitalism and the destruction it’s wrought lately?

“”Also, as Americans who love freedom, we make it a “sexy skeleton.””

I’m not sure you have any clue of what freedom really means.

Posted by TheUSofA | Report as abusive
 

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