There was a time in recent memory (i.e., my childhood) when on October 31, kids dressed up in whatever costumes they wanted, roamed their neighborhoods at dusk and even past dark, accepted candy from strangers, and had an innocently fun time trick-or-treating. Their parents were aware of this Halloween tradition and approved of it, as did most Americans.
Fast-forward to now, and Halloween is just another enjoyable tradition-turned-casualty of pretend progressive paranoia.
The Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania recently voted to cancel its annual Halloween parade because of “concerns for the safety and security of students parading outside among a crowd of unscreened adults” and “the lack of inclusivity of students whose families do not celebrate Halloween for religious or cultural reasons.”
A school district spokeswoman said another reason for canceling the parade is that some parents may not be able to attend, because they “don’t have the type of jobs or they don’t have the privilege of staying at home where you can just take a morning off without having a serious economic impact on your family.”
Meanwhile, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is promoting “Halloween cultural awareness,” with instruction on how students can steer clear of “racist, crude, or culturally insensitive” costumes. Fox News reports this type of woke “guidance” is rife at colleges across the country.
Of course, it’s all hypocritical, virtue-signaling nonsense. These professed “concerns” would not exist at all were it not for progressive policies.
Take concerns over safety and security. Why is it that no one batted an eye in 1993 when kids were turned loose to beg for candy unsupervised? My mother recalls being “kicked out of the house” every morning of the summer and told to go play; she returned home when the streetlights came on. My father, similarly, explored the streets of center-city Philadelphia alone as a kid. What’s happened in a single generation that kids aren’t even allowed to attend a Halloween parade in broad daylight, supervised by tons of “screened” adults?
Did America suddenly start producing a higher percentage of evil perverts in the last 50 years? No. Chalk up much of this perception that the US is inherently unsafe to a sensationalizing media. As Heritage Foundation scholar Simon Hankinson pointed out to me during a recent podcast, America is generally very safe, with the exception of our largest cities. These places happen to be run by far-left Democrats who favor defunding the police, stringent gun control, gentle sentencing, and bail reform, all of which are associated with higher crime rates. These same liberals also promote policies that increase poverty and decrease the “privilege” parents apparently need to attend the Lower Merion Halloween parade.
As far as “inclusivity” goes, since when do government school officials care about people’s religion or if a child opting out of an activity or class doesn’t feel a “sense of belonging”? Would they offer traditional-minded folks the same consideration, canceling sex ed classes, for instance, if, for religious reasons, parents and children choose to sit out the Lower Merion belief that “gender identity” is “a person’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither”? I sincerely doubt it.
How far the progressive commitment to “sensitivity” and “inclusivity” goes is curiously inconsistent. Isn’t cancelling Halloween itself “non-inclusive” to people who love Halloween? What if you self-identity as something non-human, and this is your one chance a year to express yourself freely without judgment? You’re allowed to dress up as a woman but not a lion? Very silly, I know, but the very premise of this whole argument, if you can call it that, is based on disingenuous pearl-clutching.
Shouldn’t actual races and cultures be the judge of what costumes are and aren’t offensive? It’s almost as if no one but the college administrators themselves are aware that these costumes are glaringly offensive, so to ensure everyone gets good and offended, they produce lists to let everyone know when to get angry and about what they should be enraged. The best part is that they delicately tiptoe around actually condemning the idea of simply “identifying” as another culture, because that would negate their entire “sexual identification” ideology. UW-Madison tells students, “Consider how someone else would feel if you dressed like a stereotype or a culture that you do not directly identify with” (emphasis added).
The good news is that many people aren’t buying in. A local parent pointed out to the Philadelphia Inquirer that in the past, Lower Merion students have celebrated the Chinese New Year and Diwali, while another parent noted there are plenty of “unscreened adults” at every weekly football game.
An Asian-American student told Fox News that UW-Madison’s finger-wagging costume memo is “very ridiculous,” and that she finds it “flattering” when people infuse elements of her culture into their costumes.
It turns out people — parents and kids and people like me who look forward to visits from adorable little trick-or-treaters — love Halloween, the candy, the costumes, and the communal, spooky spirit of it all. The people seeking to ruin all the fun by fanning the flames of division in the name of “inclusivity” and “safety” are, as usual, a small but vocal progressive mob.
When you go to the polls next week for the midterm elections, remember who wants to cancel candy and costumes for children and college kids.