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Halloween Banned Out of Sensitivity to Wiccans

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Halloween Banned Out of Sensitivity to Wiccans

Old 10-22-04, 12:47 PM
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Halloween Banned Out of Sensitivity to Wiccans

Puyallup schools ban Halloween festivities

There will be no kiddie costume parade, no classroom candy handouts this year in Puyallup's public schools.

The district put the kibosh on all Halloween festivities during school hours, enforcing a policy that's been in place for several years but is being applied for the first time to Oct. 31 celebrations.

District officials say the ban is largely a matter of religious sensitivity -- to Wiccans.

Assistant Superintendent Tony Apostle advised Puyallup principals in a memo last week that Halloween costumes and parties are now banned. Pumpkins and cornstalks are fine, he said, but witches, black cats or "similar decorations that are intended to frighten or scare individuals" are not.

Halloween is a religious holiday for Wiccans, the memo noted, and its celebration in mainstream culture has generated unsavory images that might offend real-life witches.

"Building administrators should not tolerate such inappropriate stereotyping (images such as witches on flying brooms, stirring caldrons, casting spells, or with long noses and pointed hats)," Apostle's memo states.

But one Wiccan leader was cynical about the school district's motivation.

Pete Davis, pastor of Aquarian Tabernacle Church in tiny Index, west of Stevens Pass, suggests that the ban is a thinly veiled attempt to banish a holiday seen by some Christians as an evil festival.

Davis said the ancient Celtic holiday of Samh'ain, which traditionally marked the last harvest of the year, has been misinterpreted by some as a celebration of "Samhain" -- supposedly a satanic god of the dead.

"The religious right has for years been trying to put an end to any Halloween celebrations," he said.

Wiccans -- who practice a pagan, earth-based religion -- are used to the stereotypes accompanying Halloween, Davis said.

"It's something we're not exactly excited about -- the evil witch with the green face -- but it's part of our culture, and it's never going to go away."

District spokeswoman Karen Hansen said Puyallup schools moved away from observing religious holidays years ago, switching from Christmas concerts to "winter festivals" and other secular celebrations.

Halloween was a holiday with "some wiggle room," Hansen said, and decisions about recognizing it were left to schools. Hansen knew of only one -- Maplewood Elementary -- that paid homage to trick-or-treaters with a costume parade every year.

But as the district reviewed its instructional programs going into the school year, administrators felt that the push for greater academic achievement left little room for Halloween frivolity. Besides, Hansen said, costumes are a distraction for students.

"Their focus becomes partying, candy, trick-or-treating," she said.

Seattle Public Schools has no official policy on Halloween celebrations, but spokeswoman Patti Spencer said many schools have replaced the holiday with "harvest celebrations" and other observances.

"In many of our schools we have quite a few students whose families don't celebrate the traditional Halloween," she said. "So we want to move toward things that are more inclusive."

A Puyallup parent, Holly Cockerham, said while her third-grade daughter had fun wearing her Sleeping Beauty costume to school last year, she's not overly disappointed about the new restriction.

"They're not losing Halloween. They're still going trick-or-treating," she said. "I don't think it's that big of an issue myself."
Old 10-22-04, 12:52 PM
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Pretty amusing since Wicca only dates back to the 1950's:

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a991029.html
Old 10-22-04, 12:53 PM
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Cancelling Halloween festivities out of "sensitivity" to wiccans is a little like cancelling Hanukkah festivities out of sensitivity to Jews.

I've known a few wiccans and I never heard them get their knickers in a wad over Halloween.
Old 10-22-04, 12:58 PM
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But... But... What would the fat goths do if Halloween is banned?
Old 10-22-04, 12:59 PM
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Originally posted by Groucho
Pretty amusing since Wicca only dates back to the 1950's:

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a991029.html
Just like "One nation, under God".

Isn't it more of a christian holiday than anything?
Old 10-22-04, 01:03 PM
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Originally posted by aintnosin



Cancelling Halloween festivities out of "sensitivity" to wiccans is a little like cancelling Hanukkah festivities out of sensitivity to Jews.
Canceling Halloween over sensitivity to Wiccans is like cancelling Christmas over sensitivity to fat guys who wear red suits.
Old 10-22-04, 01:04 PM
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Geez, people are oversensitive these days. Many religious events are perverted to something they're not. When again did Christ go on the egg hunt? At least Christmas makes sense, what with Jesus rescuing Santa from Iraq and all, so we should celebrate his bravery.

Much like Christmas, Halloween serves a dual purpose. For some it has religious significance; for others, it's an American tradition that incorporates many traditions from many different events/holidays. It's supposed to be fun and for the kids. Who the Hell is going to get offended by some kid dressing up like Spiderman? Well, OK, maybe the kid who dresses up like the Green Goblin, but who else?

das

Last edited by das Monkey; 10-22-04 at 01:06 PM.
Old 10-22-04, 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by Verbal Gorilla
Isn't it more of a christian holiday than anything?
pretty sure its not, but i could be worng
Old 10-22-04, 01:05 PM
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Originally posted by Verbal Gorilla
Just like "One nation, under God".

Isn't it more of a christian holiday than anything?
Halloween (All Hallow's Eve) is an extension of All Soul's Day. The ancient Pagan holiday of Samhain (or Sowen or...) is the source of our modern rituals (Jack o'Lantern's, costumes, trick or treating, blah, blah, blah).
Old 10-22-04, 01:05 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
Who the Hell is going to get offended by some kid dressing up like Spiderman?

das
same people who get offended by "Christmas break"

or "Christmas Assembly" at my highschool
Old 10-22-04, 01:07 PM
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This country has to get the hell out of the "we want to make sure we don't offend ANYONE" mode. Freakin' spineless whimps.
Old 10-22-04, 01:10 PM
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One day, we're going to be invaded by aliens, and we'll refuse to defend ourselves because it might offend the cult who committed suicide in anticipation of their arrival.

das
Old 10-22-04, 01:12 PM
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Isn't this thread title a bit overdramatic? I agree that the policy is ludicrous, but my first thought was, how can government ban Halloween?
Old 10-22-04, 01:12 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
One day, we're going to be invaded by aliens, and we'll refuse to defend ourselves because it might offend the cult who committed suicide in anticipation of their arrival.
No, we'll refuse to defend ourselves because the aliens will be an oppressed minority with a legitimate grievance against the white male earthling establishment.
Old 10-22-04, 01:16 PM
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I'll ban anything for Willow.

Old 10-22-04, 01:16 PM
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Red Dog

Isn't this thread title a bit overdramatic? I agree that the policy is ludicrous, but my first thought was, how can government ban Halloween?
Yeah, the article content isn't as bad as it seems. I was prepared for severe outrage when I saw the title, but after reading it was toned down to mildly irritated by the stupidity.

das
Old 10-22-04, 01:17 PM
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Originally posted by devilshalo
I'll ban anything for Willow.
Willow likes girls.

Allyson Hannigan on the other hand...
Old 10-22-04, 01:19 PM
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Originally posted by aintnosin
Willow likes girls.

You act like that's a bad thing.
Old 10-22-04, 01:20 PM
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Originally posted by weargle
You act like that's a bad thing.
Not if I can watch...
Old 10-22-04, 01:26 PM
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I hate this country.

Who wants to join me in pooling our money to buy a Carribbean island so we can start our own nation?
Old 10-22-04, 01:29 PM
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I think we need to ban Memorial Day out of sensitivity to........ahh never mind.

this is just stoopid.
Old 10-22-04, 01:30 PM
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I love this country.....

I just hate some of the fools in it.....
Old 10-22-04, 01:40 PM
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Originally posted by Minor Threat
I love this country.....

I just hate some of the fools in it.....
Good point. Can we buy an island and then ship about 90% of the U.S. populous to it?
Old 10-22-04, 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by Green Jello
I hate this country.

Who wants to join me in pooling our money to buy a Carribbean island so we can start our own nation?
But what shall we call it?
Old 10-22-04, 01:44 PM
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Originally posted by Green Jello
Good point. Can we buy an island and then ship about 90% of the U.S. populous to it?
I'm game.....

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