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An Argument Against Abolishing Halloween



Why do they want to abolish Halloween?

A disturbing secret memo that details a campaign to do away with Utah’s favorite holiday has recently come into my possession. A consortium of powerful groups has entered into a conspiracy to deprive the children of Utah, and the child within us all, of the happiest day of the year. Key members of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, the Eagle Forum, and the American Association of Body Piercing Practitioners have been holding late-night meetings in Gov. Mike Leavitt’s hideaway office in the Ritz-Classic Bowling alley to craft a legislative bill banning Halloween.

The arguments for abolishing Halloween are obvious and on the surface difficult to dispute. The anti-Trick-or-Treaters trot out the same tired reasons: all that sugar rots the teeth of innocent children; stuffing pillow cases with candy encourages greed; kids are endangered by needles and razor blades concealed in Snickers and Tootsie Rolls; dressing up causes gender confusion among impressionable tots; and last but not least, a Pagan festival designed to summon the spirits of the dead is not consistent with the ideals of our Christian community.

Normally, I’m entirely on the side of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee in its efforts to infuse the children of Utah with the Olympic Spirit. But in the campaign to abolish Halloween, I must with great regret part company with Frank and the lads. After hard thought, they have come to the conclusion that somehow the Spirit of Halloween in is conflict with the Spirit of the Olympics. I disagree, but first let me dispose of other reasons advanced by the consortium for abolishing Halloween.

That candy is bad for kids doesn’t carry much weight. Utah is the candy capital of the world, and for good reason: It is a well-known medical fact that high blood-sugar levels reduce the craving for alcohol, and introduction of toxic amounts of sugar at an early age prepares children for an adulthood of high glucose tolerance. (Since dentists are among the most enthusiastic Olympic supporters, I’m at a loss to explain why SLOC would in any way want to hurt their business. I think SLOC’s misguided efforts to pump Olympic gas into children have neglected the legitimate rights of dentists.)

As for the other reasons, they are flimsy at best. Rushing greedily from house to house to pluck candy from proffered trays helps develop the manual dexterity and shameless effrontery that may be required later in life from public servants who are forced to beg for handouts from rich friends. Danger from needles and razor blades enforces the lesson that things are not always what they seem, that many ventures — here I exclude the 2002 Winter Games — come sugar-coated.

The argument about gender confusion, I suspect, is a sop to the Eagle Forum, and when you come down to it, is actually an argument in favor of Halloween, especially as regards developing Olympic Spirit. Cross-dressing will dispose children to appreciate and admire skin-tight luge outfits and frilly male ice-skating costumes.

The argument about Paganism, I confess, is beyond me. What is the Olympics if not Pagan and Halloween-like? The costumes, the flags, the strange symbolism, the revelry, the sacks of goodies dispensed to Olympic officials. Frank originally even wanted the Olympic athletes to compete in the nude, as in the olden Pagan days, but other members of the executive committee voted him down, pointing out loss of revenue from logo placement.

Personally, I would like to extend Halloween the entire year. Why can’t every day be like Halloween? Famed Bolivian psychologist Aldeni Ensernos, Ph.D.., D.D.S., D.V.S., has cogently argued that Halloween not only enhances ego-boundaries by projecting fantasies and displacing fears, but sublimates destructive libidinal aggressions built up by a repressive society. That’s a bit deep for me, but you get the point.

More important than the psychological reasons for continuing to celebrate Halloween may be the financial ones, which I know SLOC disdains to consider. But I sincerely believe it would not be inconsistent with the Olympic Spirit for SLOC to include, rather than exclude, Halloween from its magnanimous embrace. If we get started right now, next year we can have all sorts of Halloween costume tie-ins — the red mayoral jump suit, the boy governor hairpiece, the bristly white CEO and presidential mustache — to enrich the Olympic Committee and remind kids of the Olympic Spirit.