Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Anti-Halloween Forces In MoCo Schools

See what you think about this one, from The Gazette:
A Silver Spring elementary school has been caught in the middle of how to appease a diverse student body as officials and parents spar over the best way to celebrate Halloween.

Cannon Road Elementary School, 901 Cannon Road in Silver Spring, has just changed its annual Halloween party to a fall festival. According to a flier, costumes are welcome but the festivities will center on fall themes and avoid any mention of the spooky holiday.

The change has upset some parents, who say it's unfair to erase the holiday all together.

"It's just one more erosion of an American tradition that's been tossed out the door because somebody didn't like it," said Buffy Stutz, a parent at Cannon Road.

Opponents of the switch said the school was better off last year when there were two parties on Oct. 31—one for children celebrating Halloween and a harvest party for children who don't celebrate the holiday.

Sue Badrian was in charge of putting on the harvest party last year. Answering criticism that the harvest party isn't as fun as the Halloween party, she said the children played games, listened to music, ate food—did everything but don costumes.

"Are you kidding me? It was so fun," she said.

Parents like Badrian and Stutz said they haven't heard an explanation of why there was a switch. Despite repeated phone calls, Cannon Road's principal, Judith Theiss, could not be reached for comment. However, a staff member answering the phone said the change to a fall festival is in name only. Halloween parties or fall festival celebrations?

I always loved that scene in E.T. where the kids were trick-or-treating, and ET blended right in, remember that?

I'll say what everybody my age says: when I was a kid, the streets were full of costumed children, some of the little ones with parents waiting at the curb but most of them out being rowdy and having fun getting tons of candy from their neighbors. Then, it seemed, you had fewer kids and more parents, as people worried about child molesters and murderers and things like razor blades in the candy. And now, hardly anybody comes to the door.

I guess it's against somebody's religion to celebrate Halloween, okay, whatever, don't celebrate it. But two parties? You're going to have the real Halloween party and then a "harvest" party? Like these Silver Spring kids live on farms. Hardly anybody today understands the hard work of harvesting and the tilling, planting, cultivation necessary to get the crops to that point, hardly anybody "goes to town" to sell their produce, hardly anybody appreciates the turning of the mythical wheel of the seasons as the sun grows weak, to be reborn at the new year. But everybody understands dressing up in scary costumes and going door to door, pretending to threaten to trick people if they don't give you a treat. Everybody understands the fun for the children and the fun for the adults who comment on the costumes and "try to guess" who different crazy monsters really are.
The protocol for celebrating Halloween in area schools varies. Carmen Van Zutphen, the principal of Bel Pre Elementary in Silver Spring, said she takes her lead from the parents. In recent years, that has meant having a "friendly Halloween" celebration in which children dress up as storybook characters or in other costumes not intended to scare. Children who don't celebrate Halloween are given an alternate activity.

Glen Haven Elementary's principal, Joanne Smith, acknowledges it's difficult to accommodate a multitude of beliefs. The Wheaton school has a similar policy in which the majority of students, parents and staff participate in a Halloween parade. Those who don't participate in the parade have a Halloween-free activity.

Smith said she wouldn't consider cutting the festivities because Halloween has become a community event entrenched in American culture.

"I would get strung up if I tried to stop it," said Smith.

Parents and students at Cannon Road Elementary say they're still looking for an answer as to why the school can't have two parties.

After the notice came out a few weeks ago, fifth-graders Bruce Pattishall and Matthew Guerrera decided to look for answers. They polled randomly selected students in grades 1 through 5 about whether they would like a fall festival or a Halloween party. The boys said the majority of kids preferred to celebrate Halloween.

"If this is how the kids see it, then why can't we have it this way?" Guerrera said. The boys agreed with their parents that eliminating Halloween was unfair to both sides.

Stutz said it would be better to have two parties.

"That celebrates everything and includes everybody," she said.

The strange thing in this story is that they never say who is opposed to Halloween, The Gazette totally conceals their identities. No one opposed to Halloween is quoted or named, no motive is given, nothing. Why are they doing that?

This is another example of a small handful of people making a mess for everybody else. There doesn't have to be any controversy about Halloween, for cryin' out loud. This article is very careful not to mention religion, for reasons I don't understand. Is there some other reason anyone would oppose something as fun and benign as Halloween? Pretending it's a harvest festival doesn't seem to add anything, it just takes the tradition out of it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is another example of a small handful of people making a mess for everybody else. There doesn't have to be any controversy about Halloween, for cryin' out loud."

Same applies to the attack liberals have made on Christmas. Try this:

This is another example of a small handful of people making a mess for everybody else. There doesn't have to be any controversy about Christmas, for cryin' out loud.

No, there doesn't. Both Halloween and Christmas are Christian holidays. I'm comfortable with religious holidays that the majority of our citizens celebrate being recognized in the schools.

Liberals are only sometimes.


October 22, 2008 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I request that All Saints Day and Ash Wednesday be school holidays.


October 22, 2008 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Jim wants to preserve great American traditions like trick-or-treating and street caroling.

Ash Wednesday doesn't apply in these parts, although, for obvious reasons I think it's a school holiday in Louisiana.

Halloween is the same thing as All Saints Day. We don't take the day off but it's generally recognized in the schools.

October 22, 2008 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Americans are starting to realize the bias the media has been displaying in favor of the Obama-Biden ticket. Despite the media attack, Sarah Palin has been a terrific campaigner. Heard her speak in Colorado on Monday. If the media coverage was objective, she'd win the presidency herself.

Here's Dan Rather on the subject:

"Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather says there is a huge double-standard in the media when it comes to coverage the Barack Obama campaign receives, which is clearly made evident in the lack of scrutiny given to comments Obama’s vice presidential running mate Sen. Joe Biden made earlier this week.

On Sunday, Biden said that electing Obama president will generate “an international crisis” within the first six months of his new administration because America’s enemies will want to test Obama.

“Watch — we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy,” Biden assured. “I don’t know what the decision is going to be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history, and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it is going to happen.”

Rather, speaking today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” cable program, told host Joe Scarborough that if Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin had said such a thing about her running mate John McCain, it would be “the top story in every major American paper and on every network.”

Rather says the Obama campaign “can’t be happy” about Biden’s comments and is surprised there haven’t been more political ramifications to Biden’s gaffe.

“Certainly if Sarah Palin had said this, it would be above the fold in most newspapers today," Rather said. "But let me point out that what happens on the Internet may be as important, or more important, than what’s happening in newspapers,” he added, referring to the spotty mainstream media coverage.

“I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t have a run on the Internet, because if Sarah Palin had said this, the newspapers would have jumped all over it, and so would the major television outlets.” "

How many jokes you hear on late night TV about the sleazy Joe Biden?

October 22, 2008 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Halloween, or All Hallow's Eve, is the day before All Saints Day (All Hallows). All Souls day, of course, is the day after.

Is Ash Wednesday really a holiday in Louisiana? Too funny.

In Suffolk County, Massachusetts (Boston's County), "Evacuation Day," March 17, is an official holiday, and the Boston Public Schools take the day off. The day recognizes the date in 1776 when the British army evacuated the port of Boston.

Do you recognize the date?

As I said, I would lobby for All Saints and Ash Wednesday to be holdays for FCPS. Who needs European Trans-oceanic Imperialism Day anyway?


October 22, 2008 5:23 PM  
Blogger Tish said...

When you take the All Hallows out of Halloween and celebrate is as a Harvest Festival, you've taken it back to its oldest Pagan roots.

I don't see why there needs to be any sort of Halloween celebration in school. (My son is sitting beside me and saying he can think of several reasons.) My sons' elementary school stopped all "celebrations" except a pumpkin and apple give-away. Parents were told not to send costumes to school. I really preferred it that way. It isn't that I disapprove of Halloween at all, I just don't think it deserves to take over a day of school. Halloween is not as big a holiday as the M&M/Mars and Hershey companies want us to think it is.

The kids come home, you try to get something heartier than their regular afternoon snack into them because they are only going to pick at dinner. You lose the battle with homework, and then just as dusk comes on, you pull out the costumes, hand out the plastic pumpkin pails, and hit the pavement. I like it better when it is an out-of school experience.

October 22, 2008 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is Ash Wednesday really a holiday in Louisiana? Too funny."

They've all got to sleep in and recover from the gay lunacy the night before.

October 22, 2008 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More bigoted comments, AnonBigot?

Not surprising...

Grow up.

October 22, 2008 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bigoted how, Drick?

October 22, 2008 10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous provoked a response with:

"They've all got to sleep in and recover from the gay lunacy the night before."

You must be referring to Mardi Gras, Anon. This is celebrated by millions of people all over the world, with notably colorful celebrations in Brazil and New Orleans. Growing up Catholic, "Fat Tuesday" was a good excuse for many of my Catholic friends to throw small parties that included drinking and the masks and beaded necklaces that are now practically synonymous with Mardi Gras.

Of course, one does not need to be a Catholic to have an excuse to have a party and go drinking. There are always plenty of non-religious people who find a “reason” to join in the celebration.

The sheer number of people that celebrate this occasion insure that most of them are heterosexual – the population density of homosexuals simply isn’t large enough to create a major at any of the major festivals, unless it was specifically vetted for homosexual attendees. (Maybe there is one that does this, but I don’t know of it.)

The remark about “gay lunacy,” a term we haven’t been hearing as much of on this blog lately with all the focus on presidential percentage points, appears to be related to Tourette’s Syndrome. ( ) Other terms often used by Anon are “sexual deviant,” “gay lunatic fringe” and “gay agenda.” It seems impossible for him to string together more than a few sentences without throwing one of those into the mix somewhere, whether it’s applicable or not.

The link above provides potentially useful information about mitigating the effects of this unfortunate condition.

Have a nice day,


October 23, 2008 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops... there's a typo in the above post. It should have read "enough to create a majority at any of the major festivals..."

October 23, 2008 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zombie walk, November 1, downtown Silver Spring

Andrea- not anon

October 23, 2008 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Moses met the Pharaoh
Yeah, he tried to set him straight
Looked him in the eye
"Let my people go"

Holy Moses on the mountain
High above the golden calf
Went to get the Ten Commandments
Yeah, he's just gonna break them in half!

All you zombies hide your faces
All you people in the street
All you sittin' in high places
The pieces gonna fall on you

No one ever spoke to Noah
They all laughed at him instead
Working on his ark
Working all by himself

Only Noah saw it coming
Forty days and forty nights
Took his sons and daughters with him
Yeah, they were the Israelites

The rain's gonna fall on you

Holy Father, what's the matter
Where have all your children gone
Sitting in the dark
Living all by themselves
You don't have to hide any more

All you zombies show your faces...
...The pieces gonna fall on you

All you zombies show your faces
(I know you're out there)
All you people in the street
(Let's see you)
All you sittin' in high places
It's all gonna fall on you

October 23, 2008 2:51 PM  

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