Child witchThat’s what Brendan O’Neill suggests in Spiked Online: that British authorities and others are now regarding Halloween as an annoyance and even a threat. What’s gone so wrong with Halloween, and how is this playing out? O’Neill writes:

“Police forces around Britain are supplying households with posters warning children not to knock on their doors. A poster distributed in the London borough of Barnet by the Metropolitan Police and the Evangelical Churches of Barnet (an unholy alliance if ever there was one) says: ‘SORRY! No Trick Or Treat…. Trick or treat causes DANGER to the children who are often unsupervised; DAMAGE to other people’s property; and DISTRESS to the elderly and vulnerable.’”

What are you, kidding? I mean, sure, nobody should be forced to give candy to kids at Halloween (personally I hate Halloween with fervour), but for the love of God, this is sheer, barmy paranoia. One poster produced by a Shropshire police department urges that trick-or-treating can cause “fear, harassment, alarm and distress”. What?  “Those fangs are fake, Mrs. Smith!  They’re made of plastic!  That white sheet isn’t actually a ghost, Mrs. Smith.  Pretend, yes.  It’s just a – yes, exactly like your bedsheets at home, only it’s draped over the head of a ten year-old boy.  That’s right, it’s the appearance of something more sinister, but… ‘Halloween?'”

My God, what is happening to the United Kingdom? Brits, who are frightened by the idea that Americans can possess guns and write comments on this blog saying so, are scared of kids dressed as witches asking for peanuts? At least millions of gun-owning Americans are happy to see the kids in their neighbourhoods out enjoying Halloween.  A frightened populace does not a firearm, or a national holiday, make.

O’Neill goes on to say:

“Now even Halloween – a children-oriented evening event, which in Britain has always been a pale imitation of the bigger celebrations in the US – is looked upon as a ‘public order problem’ that requires stern posters in house and shop windows, spycams on street corners and coppers’ helmets, and fines for anyone who gets a bit too frightening.”

And it isn’t only the authorities are are terrified of Halloween, apparently. As Stephen mentioned in his post on Dumbledore‘s sexual orientation, churches and religious groups seem to regard any mention of magic in folklore, no matter how patently fictional or socially lighthearted, as evil.

“The UK Evangelical Alliance, which represents evangelical Christians, warns that ‘while Halloween [appears] to bring people together in fun, in reality it is a celebration of the dead and of evil’. Echoing earlier concerns about Harry Potter books turning kids into occult-worshipping wizard-wannabes, the evangelists believes there is a ‘real darkness to Halloween’ which is ‘potentially dangerous’ for children.”

O-kay. Finally, O’Neill points out the third major group who seem to disapprove of the ghoulish festivities: the greens. They’re recommending that people reduce or eliminate their kids’ carbon footprints this Halloween, including the suggestion of using treats sans wrappers. Wonderful, isn’t it?

“Here’s a scary story for this year’s Halloween: The British authorities are so petrified of young people (and by association their unthinking parents) that they plan to film, fine and in other ways punish the ghouls dragging through the streets on Wednesday, while old religionists think we might all turn into blood-sucking Satanists and new green religionists chastise us for being earth-sucking consumerists.”

Read the rest of the article here.