Halloween should not be excuse for lack of judgment

On Halloween it is fun to be scared. In general, most pranks and costumes are in good fun. Yet some instances in the last week have shown that some people do not know where to draw the line.

Thursday, a woman who brought a toy gun into the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., learned the hard way that sometimes Halloween props can be inappropriate. Her costume, which included a toy gun made out of plastic, caused a stir at one of the building’s security checkpoints when a security officer did not react fast enough and saw her walking off with what he thought was a gun.

This led to a shutdown of the entire building.

While this could be described as a lack of judgment on the woman’s part, other instances of rather extreme Halloween events are not as easily explained as they are more premeditated in nature.

A haunted house in Cape Coral, for instance, promoted its event with the slogan “You will be scared as hell.” What the operators of the house did not tell the visitors was that the church group had started the house with the intent of showing horrific events to teenagers and children as a deterrent that would keep them from “going to hell.”

The idea was clearly taken too far when unsuspecting visitors were shown things such as a video of a woman shooting herself in the head after her husband abused her.

Parents who had brought children to the event were outraged. One mother who had taken her 9-year-old son said it was one thing to be scared by “goblins and trolls” but to be shown such things as suicide in graphic detail probably caused an “emotional scarring” of her child.

Naturally, Halloween is a time when trick-or-treating and pranks are not only common, but popular. Especially in the post 9-11 world, where it could be argued that most news is bad news, Halloween offers a good opportunity to have some good old-fashioned fun. However, this should not be done without considering if the pranks or costumes are appropriate for the venture and the people that will be exposed to them.