Good or bad, we have lost Halloween. Yes, we’re still buying candy by the bushels, but from what I hear most people are hoping that few kids will show up at their doors so that they can have the treats to themselves. I used to do the same thing – buy the stuff I liked. As I got to the bottom of the candy bowl I would skimp on the handouts, hoping there would be one last KitKat or Reese’s Peanut Buttercup for my own enjoyment. After all, I did the work of handing out all that candy. Now that I live in the country and get no trick-or-treaters at my door, it’s much easier to horde all the treats without feeling guilty about breaking that last candy bar in half for that last, pathetic child in a goofy costume.
Forget the candy, however. Now we’re censoring costumes (except at college parties where is seems perfectly appropriate for a young female to shove herself into a tiny French Maid costume and then wonder why so many guys are hitting on her – believe it or not, I truly think it’s the males that need to be educated about this situation). At an elementary school in California, kids brought home the following bad news about their school costumes:
They should not depict gangs or horror characters, or be scary.
Masks are allowed only during the parade.
Costumes may not demean any race, religion, nationality, handicapped condition or gender.
No fake fingernails.
No weapons, even fake ones.
Shoes must be worn.
OK, so it’s not all bad news. Costumes, like speech, should not be aimed at insulting other races, religions, and so forth. Wearing shoes to school, even on Halloween in sunny California, also seems like a good idea. This memo, however, also seems to be against enlightenment. What is to happen to that third grader who’s a Shakespeare junkie? Who is Romeo without his sword, or King Henry VIII without his executioner? Maybe that’s a little over the top – no third grader would be a Shakespeare junkie as all humanities have been cut from the K-12 curriculum. So, what about the second grade history nut? Can she dress up as the corpse of Pope Formosus – the corpse that was unearthed so it could stand trial in 897? One has to wonder if it is the corpse or the circumstances that are scary. Pope Formosus had very little to say during his trial, so it would be a great costume for the child that has a hard time keeping quiet in class. If you’re a parent that’s against censorship, then you should dress your child as Stephen VI who badgered Formosus’s corpse during its trial. Unfortunately, since this particular story has very little to do with glorifying the United States, very few children (or their parents) would even know where to start with a Stephen VI costume.
In the end, censoring costumes is part of the process of indoctrination into silence. Children are told what they can and cannot be for Halloween, and once you begin to tell them what they can or cannot be, it is only a small step to telling them what they can or cannot say. By the way, according to some reports, more people are killed each year by falling coconuts than sharks (or Chucky, Jason, and Aliens), yet a coconut costume at school would be welcome with open arms. Finally, I never have gotten over the embarrassment of having my mom dress me like a big, fat, bright orange pumpkin in first grade. If I could’ve been a pirate, ax murderer, or even Formosus, I would be much more confident in my abilities as a human being.