July 15, 2024

This Thursday, many students will be enjoying Halloween as they do every year; watching horror movies, eating candy and dressing up in costumes for parties with friends.
But for some, this yearly celebration of spooks and scares is slowly becoming no more than a passing thought – an event to remember fondly but rarely take part in.
It seems like society is slowly moving on from Halloween, partly because the mention of any holiday brings the baggage of controversy and conflict.
For example, most elementary schools across Canada no longer allow their students to celebrate Halloween during school hours – instead, they celebrate “Black and Orange Day,” which is similar to Halloween but tries to remove some of the more troublesome aspects of the popular holiday.
Some of these schools have banned wearing costumes, but encourage students to wear black and orange, while others will only allow students to dress up as certain things – no ghosts, goblins or ghouls. Some schools no longer allow candy because it can cause health problems. No mention of death, spirits or Halloween culture of any kind is allowed because it could offend or scare someone.
Is this really necessary? Do we need to sacrifice another enjoyable event to political correctness? It’s taking the fun and mystery out of Halloween in favour of a boring, sanitized, meaningless mess.
“Happy black and orange autumn festival” just doesn’t have the same ring as “Happy Halloween.”
To many people, myself included, Halloween was one of the best days of the year. You would go to school dressed as your favourite character and spend hours that night travelling around the neighbourhood with friends trick-or-treating for candy. I think that ignoring or changing holidays is a poor way to teach diversity, and just fosters ignorance about other people’s cultures; this goes equally for Halloween and any other holiday, religious or not. Instead of pretending a day doesn’t exist, why don’t we devote time in school to teach kids about other people’s cultural heritage and holidays?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that there are people who choose not to celebrate Halloween, whether by faith or personal preference, and I understand and respect that. However, consider for a moment that people don’t try to change the names or ideals of other holidays. You wouldn’t call Christmas “red and green day,” or Hanukkah “candle week,” or Ramadan “fasting month,” would you? Of course not, because it would be disrespectful and there is so much more to those holidays than simple stereotypes and colours.
Just like there’s so much more to Halloween than just black and orange.
Spooky salutations, Conestoga! Have a happy, haunting and horror-filled Halloween.