What Halloween Means for Society

Once a year many people around the world dress up in costumes, throw parties, carve jack-o-lanterns, bob for apples, and of course go trick or treating. These traditions are associated with the well known holiday called Halloween which takes place on October 31st every year. The holiday dates back centuries and the traditions and practices associated with the occasion have changed quite few times over the years. But what is the meaning of Halloween? Does it have any purpose besides dressing up in scary masks and ringing door bells looking for homeowners to plop copious amounts of candy into pillow cases or baskets that look like a witch’s cauldron or carved pumpkin? What are the underlying ramifications for society as a whole? Does Halloween teach us any good lessons?

Halloween has it roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain when people would light large bonfires and where costumers to keep away spirits. This goes back approximately 2,000 years and the festival marked the end of summertime and the start of darkness in winter. Christianity had a major influence on Halloween too. The holiday eventually became known as All Saints Day, or All-Hallows. Many of the same rituals,like lighting bonfires, remained apart of the festivities. Halloween was not a mainstream holiday in early America. It was celebrated sparsely throughout the colonies in through the 17th to 18th centuries but did not really gain any traction until the late 19th century when more Europeans came to the country. Finally, we have the modern day version of Halloween which has evolved into trick or treating, horror movies, and costume parties. So what are the benefits of Halloween, if any? I would say none. Let me explain.

I was a kid once and I remember going trick or treating for a few hours with my mother and some friends. As I got older I would go alone with my friends and carry a pillowcase since that could hold way more candy than a plastic container in the shape of a pumpkin. I used to come home with mounds of candy. And then when I was a teenager and in my twenties I would go to Halloween parties and party the night away. So I did enjoy Halloween for many years. I have not celebrated the holiday in years. I now have time to reflect and look back on the years I did partake in the festivities. I can now analyse the dark custom from a much more mature perspective. I am able to see the many defects and shortcomings of this day from a rational angle and not from the lens of an indulgent child or immature teenager. Although, I must point out that many adults behave like toddlers and sorority/fraternity members on Halloween too.

This idea of sending children out to go door to door and beg for candy is not a virtue. What kinds of ethics is one instilling in their offspring when they send them to their neighbors’ homes and neighboring communities to ring bells and beg for candy? It teaches them to be vagabonds and panhandlers. Some even dress the part. I know it is only one day out of the year, but I am merely pointing out the side effects this one day might have on susceptible minds. Then you have the candy aspect of the holiday. We already live in a society where parents think a doughnut is a wholesome breakfast and that a TV  dinner or frozen fish sticks in a nutritious dinner. And that is on the nights when they aren’t at the drive through window ordering greasy hamburgers and fries to feed their children. So it’s no wonder children are obese and there is an epidemic of health issues in young kids, like diabetes, that never existed in the past. Now we want to encourage them to beg for poison? The insane amounts of sugar in these treats along with the chemical compounds that make up this junk food that are impossible to pronounce because the chemical name is 24 letters long with 9 syllables. This garbage is something you would not want a barnyard animal to ingest, let alone your own kids. If you monitor their intake that’s fantastic. But some kids come home with enough candy to last until next Halloween.

Then you have the hooligans who cause property damage. These menaces spray shaving cream, throw eggs, spray paint, break windows, and deface the neighborhood on Halloween night. Now, of course it’s not every kid,but it’s enough to make property owners vigilant and keep a watchful eye on their property. It becomes a major nuisance and property damage should be punished to the fullest extant of the law. It should not be encouraged on certain days of the year. Then you have Satanic rituals, devil worship, and slasher movies. People are free to believe and watch what they want. Some people find a thrill in being terrified and that’s fine. I would just say that the moral fabric of a society is stretched when you have people who engage in dark fantasies and portray themselves as evil and monstrous killers even if it’s only done once a year and non violently. I support the right of people to dress up anyway they want, as whoever they want. If people want to use the holiday as a way to release their darker inhibitions, that should be permissible.As long as people are peaceful and do not hurt anyone or damage anyone’s property they should be free to do what they want on Halloween. I can only give my modest opinion about the habits of the day and comment on the practices that I think bring negative consequences to communities.

On Halloween, I’ll probably lock my door and not answer it when it rings. I’ll make it look like I am home so maybe the costumed thugs who do not get any candy from me will think twice about egging my car. But I guess that’s the chance I take for not giving in to ass backwards societal norms that teach kids to be leeches and permit adolescents to be vandals. I know, people will say I am a grump. I was once a kid and participated in this silly tradition. But now I see how ridiculous it is. Anyway, I know most of the people out there are innocent parents, children, and teenagers, who just want to have fun. I hope the people who celebrate Halloween today take into consideration a few things I said and use common sense. They should take precautions and try to be safe. I support people’s freedom to beg, eat toxic junk food, dress up like ghastly monsters, and throw wild Halloween parties. But that does not mean I am not allowed to have a boisterous opinion on these matters. I will condemn any traditions that I think are ruinous to civilized society. Finally, property damage and the initiation of violence towards people is never acceptable. That rule does not change on October 31st.

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