Featured Image: Alex Simpson
One of the holidays most looked forward to in American culture, Halloween is observed and celebrated by many. However, are the practices of Halloween warranted, or are people simply submitting to celebrating in fear of being left out?
Halloween originates from ancient Irish Pagan practices. Simply put, the Pagans believed that on Halloween, the boundaries between the living and dead were removed and the dead would come back to harm the living. The Irish would call upon “magicians” who would sacrifice their animals and crops so the dead would be appeased. The Irish themselves would wear costumes and create bonfires to ward off the dead.
Explaining the origins of the holiday, one can see how the practice of trick-or-treating came about. But this practice has been proven to be dangerous. Children are twice as likely to be killed on Halloween due to the lack of supervision, safety, and guidelines. 70% of parents do not accompany their children to trick-or-treat and 12% of parents allow their children younger than 6 to trick-or-treat without supervision. 65% of parents do not discuss Halloween safety with their children. On top of this, 82% of parents do not use any visibility aids on their child’s costumes.
Adults use the holiday as an opportunity to consume large amounts of alcohol. These same adults, who have decided to take the wheel on Halloween night, have caused 52% of deaths via car accidents.
The infrastructure and crosswalks could be improved to potentially reduce the deaths of children on Halloween, however, the very practice of trick-or-treating seems strange to me. Is there any normal occasion where parents send their children out unsupervised knocking on strangers’ doors for food? Additionally, these are the same children who cannot reach the kitchen cabinets without a stool. They do not have the capabilities to take care of themselves, but they are sent out in the dark, alone, to take, hopefully, safe chocolate to eat. Unfortunately, children will want to participate in the holiday as they are ridiculed by their peers and by their authority figures for staying inside and parents will pay no heed to the dangers.
Halloween is the prime example of how dangerous blindly following what the general population does can be. This holiday is a hazard. It takes lives away and up to 4,000 people are injured from Halloween-related activities alone. This holiday is always seen as a time for fun when it’s actually one of the most dangerous times of the year. There needs to be serious re-evaluation as to the safety and the practices that this holiday encourages.