As you may have heard, most public schools in Massachusetts chose not to celebrate, or even mention, the word “Halloween” this year. Instead they referred to October 31 as “Black and Orange Spirit Day” in fear of “offending certain segments of the student population.”
The Borden School in Walpole (http://boston.cbslocal.com/2017/10/17/walpole-elementary-school-cancels-halloween-parade/ canceled its annual costume parade because, according to the principal, “…It is our goal each and every day to ensure that all students’ individual differences are respected.”
Are you kidding me? Ok, so maybe I’m a little more incensed about this new trend than others because Halloween has always been huge to me. Growing up as a rather creepy little ghoul, I looked forward to trick-or-treating as much as Christmas, and so did many of my equally weird baby-boomer friends.
When we were little, we roamed the streets in hoards dressed in elaborate homemade costumes or store-bought plastic suits. It didn’t matter. There was no hierarchy among us. Your mother was either creative and into it, or she was too busy raising five or six kids to do more than grab a boxed costume at the 5 and 10 and whip it over your head.
The memories were great. Like the night my friend Lyn passed out halfway up Mrs. Donovan’s steps because the nose holes on her rubber tiger mask were too small to sustain life. Then there was the magnificent house on Teel Street Place where Cathy Monahan’s mother gave out homemade, caramel-dripping candy apples. When we got older and fresher, we would go home, change costumes and revisit the Monahans multiple times until Cathy’s mom, quite tipsy from too much hard cider, would recognize one of our voices and swing at us with a broom— the witch.
Ok, so maybe Halloween didn’t bring out the best in us but it was fun and we looked forward to it all year long. But now, as with many other things, it has suffered the lot of the “PC” world and must henceforth be known as Black and Orange Day. As Google will tell you, Halloween, or “All Hallows Eve,” has been around a long time—close to 2,000 years in certain parts of the ancient world. It’s said that the Irish Celts brought the tradition to America in the mid-19th century, and guess what? Those uptight Victorians freaking loved it.
Oh, I know the argument of the anti-Halloween crowd. “We mustn’t celebrate this holiday because it has its roots in pagan ritual.” You know what? I don’t care. Dressing up in costumes and filling a plastic jack-o-lantern with candy never tempted me to start worshiping false gods or renounce my religion. It was just a fun night to act a little crazy. And I don’t remember any “segments of our student population” being in the least bit offended by it.
So, to the children who missed Halloween in their schools this year, don’t worry, more fun is right around the corner. I wish you a Happy Cornucopia Gathering next week and a very Merry Red and Green Day.