Even Halloween, the once-pagan festival that is for most American youth a day of costumed candy consumption and toilet paper tomfoolery, is not safe from the clutches of political correctness.
As detailed in a New York Times article (“This Halloween, Unarmed Power Rangers and Devils Without Pitchforks”), more schools across the United States are adopting a policy that bars children from sporting so-called ‘violent’ accessories with their Halloween costumes at school when celebrating the holiday.
“Prompted by school shootings across the country, a growing number of elementary schools, wary of the violent images that even 6- or 7-year-olds packing water pistols might project, have been trying to paint a friendlier face on America’s day for celebrating mischief,” wrote Times reporter Vincent M. Mallozzi.
A pirate, for example, would not be able to wear a plastic toy sword under this policy, nor would a Power Ranger be able to tote his laser blaster. In another case, “a pint-size Batman” was told “to leave his utility belt at home.”
Simply put, administrators want to do what they can to cull whatever violence could grow in their schools.
This is a laudable goal, but banning major parts of Halloween costumes approaches it the wrong way and threatens to diminish a hallmark of the childhood experience: fantastic dress-up and imaginative dreams.
More importantly, there’s no empirical evidence to suggest that the absence of Power Ranger lasers and plastic Ninja blades on one particular day of the school year greatly reduces the chance that a school shooting will occur.
There’s also no evidence that the presence of toy weapons on Halloween creates irremediable rifts in young psyches that become pathological and lead some to carry out school shootings.
There are also many people in America who play with toy weapons when they are children, relish first-person shooter games when they are adolescents and even take interest in marksmanship when they are teens – and don’t go on murderous rampages. The correlation between the presence of real or fake weapons to real life violence is weak.
A generation of electronic Duck-Hunters, to give an example, didn’t create a generation of Dylan Klebolds or Eric Harrises.
Granted, it would make sense if toy weapons that could be mistaken for real weapons, like metal or metallic toy guns, were banned from schools, because they could confuse law enforcement and result in a deadly situation.
A light saber or plastic nunchucks, on the other hand, cannot; hence administrators should permit blatantly artificial “weapons” that are Halloween costume accessories in schools.
Otherwise, Halloween will be a lot less of a treat and more of a disappointing trick for children.