Halloween Love

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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