Friday, October 16, 2009

Hallowe'en is EVIL!

Woke up this morning to Sarah Kennedy telling me that the Belvoir* Angel, a church mag that had been delivered to around 500 householdsin an area of Leicestershire, contained an article entitled Halloween isn't a treat - don't be tricked. The article was, it seemed, an attack on anyone who felt like doing anything at all beyond the ordinary daily grind on the evening of October 31st. It proclaims that all who celebrate Hallowe'en are "siding with the Devil and all his works," and the evening is a "concentration on evil and making fun of potentially dangerous situations," during which "normally law-abiding people damage the property of those whom they should be good neighbours," and "In some cases, they bring fear, especially to the elderly."

I think somebody got out of bed on the wrong side.

O.k, there are always going to be be people who take the revelry too far at Hallowe'en, but is the same not true for other occasions? If one person throws a kebab at a window on Christmas Eve, or during Diwali, does that make everyone who is celebrating either of them a devil-worshipper? No. It makes one person an idiot. The same is true for Hallowe'en. Yes, some people will go out on 31st October and be intimidating, possibly violent and may commit vandalism, but these will be a pathetic, embarrassing minority: only intimidating, violent vandals will take part. Most trick-or-treaters will be out for the novelty, the fun, and the social aspect. Party-goers will, on the whole, simply be out to have a good time.

I am particularly annoyed yet another example of religious indoctrination being used to attempt to control people: the article was, according to the sources I have read, aimed at revealing the derogatory effects of celebrating Hallowe'en on our nation's youth, and implies very strongly that anyone celebrating Hallowe'en will go to hell. I start to fume when people use their superstitions to instil fear in order to control the thoughts and actions of anybody, but I am especially concerned when it is aimed at children: it is just plain wrong, and I hope that the bloke who wrote the article is feeling very, very stupid indeed, along with anybody who o.k'd it.

Call me forward-thinking and partly sane, but I'm of the opinion that improving the attitudes and actions of the kind of people who go out to cause trouble during celebrations such as Hallowe'en, especially those at the younger end of society's spectrum, should begin with education about what it means to be a citizen of today's world, rather than with fictional threats of eternal damnation.

At best, the writer's stance detracts from the real issues behind trouble-making at Hallowe'en (or any other celebration event). At worst, it is potentially damaging to the minds and egos of any vulnerable people who are reading the words of somebody who is supposed to be a good example to them.

News just in...
It appears that the Bishop of Leicester has commented that he doesn't agree with the content of the article, and that it is 'overstating the issue'. Even some other religious-types have commented: a pagan representative has described the article as 'absolutely religious', and imply that it's more than a bit offensive to them, what with Hallowe'en originally being a pagan festival, and all**.

All is not lost, then.

* Pronounced 'beaver'.

** That doesn't seem to matter at Christmas, though...