Without a doubt, Halloween is the most unique holiday that is celebrated in the United States. For kids, it’s a time to dress up and go door to door asking for candy from strangers. For adults, it’s a time to watch hours of horror movies and compete with neighbors over who has the scariest -looking house. For college students, it’s mostly just another excuse to get drunk on the weekend. Halloween really is one of the best holidays, and yet it seems like every year there are a select few who go out of their way to derail celebrations and ruin it for everyone.
Everyone has heard the stories about crazy neighbors handing out candy with poison or razor blades in it. There’s also the constant reminder about not eating too much sugar, or whether or not it’s safe to go outside on Halloween in the first place. Then there’s the religious concern that Halloween is a satanic day that shouldn’t be celebrated in the first place.
The US is surrounded by a climate of fear. Whether it’s the news or urban myths, people are afraid to walk out their front door, let alone allow their children to visit strangers’ houses asking for candy. Granted, there are some legitimate concerns and reasons to be cautious; however this Editorial Board believes that Halloween is a fun tradition that should be enjoyed, not shunned.
There isn’t a year that goes by without somebody bringing up how Halloween is an unholy, evil day. Despite whatever original roots Halloween has, the now Americanized version of Halloween is far different from the original.
According to the History Channel, Halloween is thought to be originally a Celtic holiday. The only similarity between then and now is the wearing of costumes, which was done to ward off evil spirits. Nearly all of the traditions that we know and love have been created over the years, and have nothing to do with the original holiday. The Halloween of today is completely innocent and is rooted more in candy than any sort of Celtic belief.
One of the most common fears on Halloween is poisoned candy. However, Joel Best, a chairperson at the University of Delaware, reported in 2002 that nearly all “cases” of poisoned candy were false. Most of the time the cause of death was from a source other than the candy. In the few cases that a child did get poisoned, it was from a family member or someone who knew the child. Therefore, the poisoned candy myth is one of the most unnecessary fears that people have around this time of year.
Remember the best day of elementary school? It was probably the day that you were able to dress up in whatever you wanted (within reason) and parade around the school while your teachers fed you candy. This is becoming a tradition of the past, as more and more schools ban this practice. While there really is no reason for students to dress up, it’s also a fun practice that doesn’t really need to be banned. There are concerns of safety, but most of these are exaggerated. There is little harm in children showing off their costumes at school apart from, arguably, the distracting nature of the festivities.
At the college level, it seems local areas are doing their best to suppress Halloween celebrations as well. While there are obvious safety concerns, the efforts to this aren’t all that successful. A great example of this is the University of Southern Illinois-Carbondale, who simply created a school wide “unofficial” Halloween in order to still celebrate. Instead of trying to stop celebrations all together, Halloween should be treated like any other holiday while still promoting safe drinking and responsible driving. After all, there are more cases of drunk driving on New Year’s Eve than any other holiday, and there are no moves to ban that celebration.
People seem to be afraid of Halloween as a holiday itself, rather than ghosts or ghouls. It’s really too bad, because Halloween is a lot more innocent than it may seem. It really is a simple, fun holiday that celebrates community and fun, as well as a few scares in between. So this Halloween, dress up, go out with some friends and enjoy it. Just remember to be smart and safe, just like any other holiday during the year.