October 31st is upon us, and once again all the little ghosts and goblins will be heading out soon to engage in their annual candy-gathering rituals. Unfortunately, there are always people out there determined to leverage innocuous traditions for their own personal motives.
Jesus Ween is a non-denominational Christian group whose primary purpose seems to be old-fashioned religious conversion. This gang, believe it or not, intend to hand out pocket bibles to your kids instead of candy. By their logic, apparently, Halloween isn’t a Christian enough event, so they’re out to replace ghosts and goblins and witches with more religiously acceptable forms of entertainment. Whatever that might be, I’ll leave to your imagination. Admittedly, I’m an athiest so my opinion may be biased, but I’m of the opinion that Christianity has enough of its own holiday events around the calendar, so they can damn well leave Halloween alone.
Another group out to moralize Halloween is a student group at Ohio University called Students Teaching About Racism in Society (STARS). Their campaign is centered around the argument that a lot of Halloween costumes are inherently racist. Geisha costumes stereotype the Japanese. Pocahontas costumes stereotype Native Americans. You get the idea. Basically, political correctness run amuck, as if toddlers are being bigots because they want to emulate their favourite Disney hero. Maybe I’m a bit naive on this, but I doubt very much that a 6-yr old has a sophisticated level of racial bias such that they perceive a mean-spirited basis for dressing up as a character based in a different culture.
These groups, and others like them, hope to alter public perception to align with their personal values. They are well within their rights to express their opinions, but why should those personal views necessitate change on the part of society as a whole? Halloween is a social tradition that dates back hundreds of years. If you don’t want to play along, then don’t play along. Nobody is forcing you. But, by the same token, don’t try to pressure others into playing by YOUR rules. Let the children enjoy childhood while they still have it. They have plenty of time to turn into adults.