Candy:Opiate of Masses::Marijuana:Crack
Karen M. (AKA EvilMommy) and Pither in comments both made excellent points about whether Halloween should be celebrated in schools. Karen M. said it's a religious holiday called Samhain (pronounced sow-uhn, I learned in my Celtic Literature class in college), whereas Pither said the kids just want candy.
But consider the use of candy in Western Majority religions. It's a central part of nearly every holiday that has a religious connection: Halloween, Christmas, St. Valentine's Day, Easter.
The fun, the parties, the games, the presents. Sure, we secularly-minded parents can think that we're only using the meaningless hedonistic parts of the holiday, but subconsciously, our kids are making the connection: religion is sweet, like candy.
But the reality of religion isn't sweet like candy. It's bitter, ascetic, self-sacrificing and painful. Was Christ sucking on a Tootsie Pop up there on the cross? Did the Jews smear chocolate sauce on their doorways as an invitation to the Angel of Sweet Snacks to bring bags of goodies to their first-born sons? Did Lemonheads and Screaming Yellow Zonkers rain down on Egypt?
Religion is deadly serious stuff that can change brain chemistry and affect your children for the rest of their lives. Will you sacrifice your child to religion just for some "harmless fun" with candy?
Just Say No.
Warning: the following contains an anecdote about my older son
Yesterday, discussing Christmas, my son asked if there really was a Santa Claus. I asked him if he ever got presents at Christmas from Santa, and what did he think. He said that one of his friends said that maybe someone else brought those presents, like someone who starts with a "D." He was sitting on his dad's lap, with whom I exchanged a look, thinking "D" stands for "Dad," and isn't 5 a little young to find out there's no Santa.
So I tried to distract him, guessing "dinosaur," and "David Letterman." He said, "No, it starts with 'D' and has an 'L,' I think. And a 'V.'"
It suddenly occurred to me what he meant, and I burst out laughing. "No, the Devil doesn't bring you Christmas presents." He thought it was funny, too. He's wicked smart.
[edited to add link]