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Everything’s Offensive: Is Generation Outrage Ruining Halloween?


If you’ve been paying attention to societal trends these last couple years, you’re surely noticed by now that we’re living in a world where everything is offensive, in the eyes of the outrage-obsessed public. Not a day passes by where ‘Generation Outrage’ doesn’t place a new target on the chest of someone – or something – they deem offensive, and it’s getting so out of hand that all logical thinking is being tossed out the window.

Whether it’s a comedian making a joke that upsets a certain group of people or a female movie character being depicted in a way that doesn’t meet our strict (and oftentimes impossible) standards, we simply can’t get enough of publicly (and cruelly) calling people out for perceived wrongs – excitedly taking to our Facebook and Twitter accounts in an effort to make ourselves look superior to those whose actions we’re unhappy with.

In so many words, we’re obsessed with being outraged.

As the world becomes more and more politically correct, a necessity brought on by how eager we all are to bust out the pitchforks and lob damaging social media grenades, so too does the world become less and less fun. It’s becoming hard to do or say anything without drawing the ire of people who want to demonize and destroy you, and if you think Halloween isn’t suffering, you’re unfortunately dead wrong.

Halloween, which used to be the one day of the year where you were almost begged to NOT be politically correct, has suffered huge blows in recent years, whether you’ve noticed or not. Each and every October, for example, news outlets cover stories about harmless yard displays spawning community outrage, with parents claiming their children can’t handle the sight of plastic skeletons and faux corpses.

This year’s most noteworthy example – for now, at least – hails from a small town in Ohio, where a couple’s lawn decorations so infuriated a local mother that she wrote the town and demanded they take action. Whether or not the display was too over the top is up for debate, but the fact remains that the couple is merely the latest in a long line of Halloween-lovers who have been forced to curb that passion.

The Ohio couple, who have a small child of their own, was eventually left with no choice but to take down the creatively gruesome display. They say that the media attention led to strangers showing up on their front lawn at all hours of the night, making them feel unsafe in their own home. An upsetting new trend in the world of Halloween, especially considering how much of a dying art lawn decoration has already become.

Another troubling story came out of Connecticut this week, where one school district essentially banned Halloween in the entire town of Milford. The town, which previously held an annual Halloween parade, feared that children whose religious/cultural beliefs prevent them from celebrating the holiday would feel excluded by the festivities, leading them to cancel the parade this year. Costumes have also been outlawed.

In other words, if EVERYONE doesn’t celebrate Halloween, then no one can. It’s the same sort of logic that has recently been applied to Christmas – sorry, “the holiday season” – and though I’d love to say situations like the aforementioned one are isolated and rare, the truth is they’ve become downright commonplace in recent years. We’re so worried about offending people, it seems, that we no longer know how to even function as a society.

“These are our American customs and traditions and we should not have to give them up because others find them offensive!” Milford mother Rebecca Lilley wrote on a petition to save Halloween in the town of Milford, Connecticut. “I’m so tired (of) my kids missing out on some of the things we all got to do as children and are some of the greatest childhood memories I have due to others saying they find it offensive.”

Amen to that.

Trick or treating is another dying Halloween tradition, likely having a lot to do with the increased awareness of the world’s evils – and the lack of trust in strangers that has been fed into our brains on a daily, nonstop basis. Most parents simply don’t allow their kids out of the house on Halloween night, as was once upon a time the norm, and now homeowners are being encouraged to cut candy off the menu.

Last year saw the launch of the Teal Pumpkin Project, wherein homeowners are asked to place a teal-colored pumpkin on their front stoop – signifying that they’re handing out toys and other trinkets to trick or treaters, rather than candy bars. Special diets and food allergies are the reason why, and though it’s a nice gesture for kids who have to be careful, it’s ultimately another shift away from Halloween being what it once was.

And then there’s the costumes, which tend to inspire as much outrage as the decorations. This year’s controversial Caitlyn Jenner costume has been a particular target, with many feeling that it’s deeply offensive to the transgender community. Of course, it’s just a silly costume at the end of the day, poking fun at a very public figure, but we’re living in a world where blowing things wildly out of proportion is, well, just what we do.

As the world changes, does Halloween – as we once knew it – fit in? And in a world so consumed with being politically correct, and all-inclusive to a fault, how much longer can the inherently taboo holiday even last? We’ve already reached a point where wearing costumes, decorating homes, handing out candy bars, and even just plain celebrating the holiday have been cracked down on, begging the scariest question of all…

Is Halloween not long for this world?

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If you don't get enough of me here on Halloween Love, you can also find me on Dread Central, iHorror and Shock Till You Drop. Contact me via JohnSquires@HalloweenLove.com
  • Joshua Pannelli

    Halloween as we knew it when we were kids may be dead, but with changes in society we must just change with them. Throwing Halloween parties were a huge deal for my family and sometimes us kids didn’t even want or need to go out trick or treating because of the ample amount of candy that we received from friends and family. We may have to keep our “Halloween” to ourselves and instead of celebrating as a community like we use to, we instead, might need to keep our celebrating within an inner circle that consists of only family and a few close friends. As far as the decorations, I would have fought to keep them. They are an act of artistic expression, and while their predicament seems different because they have a child to care for, I would say that I do as well and you have to show them that you can express your creativity without being bullies into taking it down or hiding your passion for others who don’t share it.

  • Only thing offensive is the misuse of quotation marks for emphasis in this article.

  • Livrule

    Agree with everything John said here … But the people who created the lawn display in Ohio annoyed the hell out of me. They are OBVIOUSLY very talented and creative individuals who could have put together something special, but it’s almost like they wanted to invite conflict and go viral …

    Why not place a realistic vampire on the cross with a stake through its heart?

    Instead of a murder victim wrapped in plastic sheeting, why not create a monster emerging from a cocoon? … Maintain the gruesome creativity, but make it a display that feels like it’s been built to celebrate the spooky magic we all know and love at this time of year.

    Their display, as it was, just looks and smells like a stunt …

  • omnibot

    Don’t forget about this gem: “This year’s controversial Caitlyn Jenner costume has been a particular
    target, with many feeling that it’s deeply offensive to the transgender
    community. Of course, it’s just a silly costume at the end of the day,
    poking fun at a very public figure, but we’re living in a world where
    blowing things wildly out of proportion is, well, just what we do.”

    Fuck what transgender people think. You know, ’cause Halloween.

  • hybridm0ments

    I take it another step further. We should split Halloween from Sexy/Clever/Ironic/hipster/meme day and have two separate holidays. It’s like putting up a cactus for X-mas. Dress scary or GTFO.

  • Ginger Sadler

    if i had been that ohio couple i wpuld have set up motion activated sprinklers set off fireworks and sprayed blood on intruders, i woukdnt have taken it down at all

  • Sammy

    If Muslims can cover their faces while swearing their oath of citizenship, we can celebrate Halloween! In fact, all Pagans, Wiccans, etc. should be up in arms, demanding to be able to celebrate it as their religious right! Wicca IS a recognized religion, and therefore, Wiccans have as much rights as anyone from any other religion!

  • Sammy

    Jenner even said that he (yes, he…still has the parts and male DNA, so still a he) finds the costume funny!

  • Walker Porter

    I can remember seeing my nieces and nephews in the late 80s and early 90s actually trick or treating in malls and having to have their candy x-rayed before eating any. I worried then that Halloween was in danger of fading away. Just look at it now, a major industry that many people have built entire careers and companies around. In my opinion, the best we can do is to encourage the children to have fun trick or treating by giving out candy and setting up yard haunts instead of hiding in our homes watching horror movies by ourselves complaining about how “THEY” killed Halloween. If we leave the kids out of Halloween then we are as at fault as any if it does lose popularity in the future. But some how I think Halloween will be just fine. Just think about it, they tried changing the celebration of death into a saints holiday, that didn’t quite work out the way they planned now did it?

  • Stevie Lee Rothferd

    I think you just illustrated the point.

  • Ridley

    I agree that watching Halloween get targeted by people who clearly don’t (and wouldn’t, under even the most pc of circumstances) enjoy it anyway is aggravating. But for me, it doesn’t help to go too far the other way either. Let’s not get up in arms about it – as long as those of us who love Halloween continue to celebrate it as we wish and as best we can, it won’t die out. The things mentioned in this article are not the norm yet, so we don’t need to act as if they are. But this is a thoughtful article, and I wish more people could see the fun in Halloween and also the importance in having one day a year to “live dangerously” and push the envelope, because that’s the only way that we as individuals (and perhaps even a society) can grow and change.

    Having said that, I do think that maybe the Caitlin Jenner costume is a little over the line. The same goes for the aboriginal costumes that pop up every year. There’s a thin line between being good natured and doing something all in fun, and straight up making fun of. It’s important that we acknowledge the implications of wearing costumes like this because it can be insensitive. Doesn’t mean it’s always wrong though, I don’t think there’s any black and white here.

  • Bill

    This is what happens when women and negroes call the shots for everything. Take them out of leadership and we won’t have these issues!

  • Political Correctness of the 10s/2010s(a.k.a.: The Pussification Of America[as it’s known as in the wrestling podcasting community) is really getting out of hand,for whether it’s conservative,liberal,or even Libertarian based P.C. in these times just Majorly Sucks !!!! :P :P

  • Darth Yucko

    You’re part of the problem.

  • Muad’dib

    These people need a supply of this …

  • DrN00b

    Halloween will never truly die. Halloween can be traced almost 4000 years back. It just changes forms once and awhile and even get some momentum and spreads to new places like Japan. The end summer celabration or festival will remain. Halloween has been “new years”, Samhain, roman fall feast, day of the dead, all souls day all saints day etc etc.

  • Yeah, it’s gotten more and more ridiculous–if something’s bothering your delicate sensibilities, walk away. Well, first, take off that dress, put on your big boy pants, THEN walk away.