COLUMN: A ban on Halloween fun hurts more than it helps

Allison Pritchard

Remember those Halloween parties you had in elementary school – with your Little Mermaid costume that your mom made and handfuls of fun-sized Three Musketeers? Now, for some kiddies, such merriment is no more.

In many schools across the country, Halloween festivities are limited or banned because they’re said to promote devil worship and/or witchcraft. Public and private schools ban the usual costume parades, classroom parties and Halloween candy. Others incorporate “fun fall games” or after-school costume parties, instead of the usual celebration.

Banning Halloween is absurd and damaging to young people. First of all, to most Americans, Halloween isn’t considered a serious or religious holiday. Halloween is a light-hearted, fun day – a time for people to dress up, eat candy and enjoy good times with friends, much like Mardi Gras or Valentine’s Day.

Some loud-mouthed parents claim Halloween is distracting from the true agenda of school: to learn. What they forget is an important part of learning is social interaction and self-expression. Small children can benefit from an hour or two off of class to learn how to take part in cultural activities, build friendships and have fun outside of the regular monotonous school day.

According to, Christians in earlier times mistakenly connected Wicca with Satanism, especially in the late Middles Ages and Renaissance when they burned “witches.” Real witches don’t wear pointy hats and cast evil spells over a bubbling cauldron. Wicca is an earth-based religion. Adherents essentially worship nature. Witches, if anything, may be offended by America’s stereotypes, instead of feeling celebrated (but that’s a whole other issue).

Halloween has roots in Celtic tradition, and, to the dismay of evangelist Christians who claim Halloween is Satanic, Christian traditions. Followers of Wicca observe the Celtic holiday Samhain, which celebrates the last harvest and new year. The bridge between living and dead is broken and the dead can visit for treats, a warm fire and shelter.

Halloween also developed from Christian origins when Pope Gregory III moved All Saints Day to November 1 during the eighth century. October 31 was then called “All Hallows Even” or today’s Halloween, according to Banning Halloween by Deborah Caldwell.

People have taken banning Halloween too far. Evangelists Mark and Karen Poffin from New Harvest Ministries in Tennessee urged people to sign their online petition to ban Halloween celebrations in public schools: “If you are parents and you feel that Halloween is evil, and you no longer want your children exposed to Halloween celebrations such as ghosts, goblins, witches and Harry Potter, then please sign our petition-no more filling our children with ghost stories, no more plastering the walls with Harry Potter and other demontic beings. NO MORE!!!…”

The first thing I noticed was their grammatical errors, use of the wrong “there,” misspelling of “demonic” and failure to capitalize “Christian” – Not to mention their blatant ignorance to the facts.

Halloween is a day of festive enjoyment. A seven-year-old in a Cinderella costume, carrying a pumpkin bucket full of bite-sized candy bars and lollipops is hardly satanic or religious. Banning Halloween only promotes misunderstanding of the Wicca faith and deprives children of a traditional enjoyable celebration.

Allison Pritchard is a Junior Electronic Media Production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].