A letter sent home to parents last week from the principal at Inglewood Elementary School in Montgomery County, Pa., had an eerie message – Halloween was being canceled because of its “religious overtones.” Because of that, no Halloween activity would occur at the school this year, shares WTRF.com on Oct. 11.
Orlando Taylor, the school’s principal, announced his decision to table the popular holiday in a letter that went home with the kid’s homework. In part, the letter read:
“Some holidays observed in the community that are considered by many to be secular (ex. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Valentine's Day) are viewed by others as having religious overtones. The district must always be mindful of the sensitivity of all the members of the community with regard to holidays and celebrations of a religious, cultural or secular nature. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that school districts may not endorse, prefer, favor, promote or advance any religious beliefs....”
The letter also cites school district policy “to not sponsor or support the celebration of Halloween parades, Halloween parities, or dressing in Halloween costumes,” and then concludes by appealing to parents to support the decision of the school.
Not all parents got on board with the decision.
“I think it's a disgrace,” said parent David Braun. “I can't even explain how infuriated I am with this. Now we're taking out Halloween. Even with the Pledge of Allegiance, that was up for debate because we mentioned God in it. When are people just going to stop and let schools be schools?”
However, other parents applauded Principal Taylor’s decision.
“We kept our kids home from school on that day because we didn't participate in it. And sometimes they would just sit in the office,” said parent Cleris Christian.
The school’s decision prompted such an outcry however that the North Penn School District (NPSD) issued a statement on its website saying that the letter sent home was “not an accurate representation of the school district's administrative regulation” and that the district plans to “hold such a Fall Festival, with Halloween costumes and activities, on the evening of October 18th. Halloween and fall related activities being held at NPSD’s 18 schools include a Halloween dance, fall festivals, harvest festivals, trick or treating and more.”
While the school district has the final say, it seems they have not done their due diligence when researching Principal Taylor’s claim that Halloween is indeed a holiday steeped in religious, in fact pagan, origins.
Consider the facts when it comes to just a few of the traditional Halloween activities:
Dressing up: Costumes were first worn by the Celts, who donned frightening masks so that evil spirits would mistakenly think the wearer was also a spirit, and thus would not harass them. The Catholic Church gradually amalgamated this custom into the All Souls and All Saints Day.
Trick or Treat / Candy: The ancient Celts used sweets to try to appease wicked spirits. A custom developed where churches encouraged celebrants to approach homes on All Hallows’ Eve, asking for food in return for a prayer on behalf of the dead. This custom eventually became Halloween’s “trick or treat.”
Jack-o-Lanterns: Carved, candlelit turnips were originally used, again to repel demons. The candle in the turnip represented a soul that was lost in Purgatory.
The pagan origins of Halloween are deeply rooted in ancestor worship and ancient Celtic rituals. Thousands of Wiccans celebrate Halloween by the ancient name Samhain. These professed witches consider it to be their most sacred night of the year.
Halloween is a major Satanic ritual day; a celebration to Satan the Devil one might say. “It’s a religious holiday for the underworld, with Satanists performing sacrifices and witches quietly celebrating with prayer circles or meals for the dead,” according to a USA Today article. It quoted Washington witch Bryan Jordan as saying, “Christians don’t realize it, but they’re celebrating our holiday with us… We like it.”