"Teaching the 'kiddies' how to run a protection racket, and encouraging them to go round knocking on strangers doors on a dark November evening does not strike me as a socially constructive activity"
"Won't be knocking on your door then."
"Children go to some trouble to look as 'spooky' as possible, and you see the excitement in their eyes. There are examples of pumpkin art around the houses. As a child, I bobbed for apples, carved pumpkins, and ran around with an old sheet over my head while my parents pretended to be scared. They were members of a Society, which always had a Halloween party for everyone. I loved it. It also depends what you mean by socially constructive"
"All the fun and games, dressing up etc, can be enjoyed with at halloween parties, bonfire or bar-b-q, disco. or whatever without the door to door stuff. It is the responsibility of parents and communities to arrange such events or help the children or young people to arrange events that anyone can go to. I am all in favour of having fun, but not at other people's expense. ."
"By socially constructive I mean teaching children something useful, beautiful, humanitarian and have fun at the same time. Like that it is not very nice to knock on someone's door and say, however playfully give me a treat or I will............. It would be socially constructive to resist 'trick and treat', and use the opportunity to explain to children why is not a very nice practice, and depending on their age - about its dangers ."
"The origins go back to the Celtic festival of Samhain. Like other pagan festivals, the Christians high-jacked it - as All Souls' Day. I doubt that many people know much about its history or take it very seriously."
"The opportunity could be used to explain the issues. Adults should be prepared to stand up and say what is wrong with something like this, and not be deterred because they do not want anyone to think badly of them for countering fashionable fads be they 'imported' or a 'resurrection' of 'ye olde Celtic/Pagan/Wicca...tradition? Supposed 'cultural' practices (usually used to reinforce an underlying ideological purposes), come and go, fortunately many of them have now ceased. Others are still practised by various religions and the sooner they too are challenged and cease, the better."
" The worst 'trick' I can expect is to be squirted with a water pistol."
"Sure, there are teenagers who exploit communal goodwill by taking the 'tricks' too far. They'll be the same ones who sing about two lines of Christmas Carol very badly, then hold out their hands in menacing fashion."
"It is not helpful to stereotype children in this way, and unrealistic to have one practice for the 'good' ones and expect it not to be used by the 'bad' ones.
Pranks such as squirting with water pistols, letting off bangers or other 'harmless tricks' are childish ways of getting a buzz and a laugh at another person's discomfort. The victims may well laugh for fear of being called a killjoy, but it is basically rather nasty and can be very intimidating, particularly to elderly people or those living alone. Yet to accept the practice, and have to exclude people, can create a patronising situation that could be offensive, so why do it?"
For the kids (usually with Dad hovering at the gate, keeping an eye on things) it's great fun and where I live everyone knows everyone else, and I keep a bowl of 'sweeties' at the door".
"Usually" is not really good enough, and the message Dad is giving is that the practice is OK."
"There may well be communities in which 'everyone knows everyone else', but it is an uncomfortable fact that child abusers are usually known to their victims, if not family members, and are often well known cuddly people in their communities.
It gives mixed messages to a small child to tell them not to take 'sweeties' from strangers, then tell them to take them at the door of someone they do not know, on a dark winters night!
Most people nowadays do not live in close communities so the overall effect of such practices must be considered. If they contribute to fear of vandalism, and potential danger to children then responsible adults have to understand these effects and find other ways to use the occasion for fun and games that may well include a little 'scaryness'. Though it must also remembered that not all children enjoy being frightened, for some it can be traumatic."
"If you want to go Bah! Humbug! that's fine, but I think it's quite socially constructive to have fun, and I'm sorry if that's not secularly-correct."
"This is the sort of comment one has to expect of people who have perhaps not fully considered the full picture, and want, understandably in some ways, to keep the cosy images intact."
"A humanist 'take' on a current issue would be thoughtful and rational and have no truck with doing anything that could be seen to be promoting old superstitions in a way that may well do harm. Understanding them in their historical context is necessary and interesting, but not sustaining them and ignoring the harm they did in the past and could do in the future. The amusing picture of a witch for instance hides some vicious attitudes to women, especially old women, and created some of the worst atrocities by the Puritans in Britain."
Have fun without the tricks.