Halloween Banned As Offensive to Witches

ABC News reports on a Washington State school district that has banned Halloween celebrations this year, in part because "Halloween celebrations and children dressed in Halloween costumes might be offensive to real witches." Now it's great that the school district wants to teach the kids to be respectful of different beliefs, etc... but in this case their decision seems a bit confused because witches are not, in fact, real. A real witch, historically speaking, would be someone who possesses supernatural powers. The Wiccans call themselves witches, but I'll go out on a limb and wager that they don't possess any supernatural powers. Therefore, they aren't real witches, in the historical sense of the word. So there really should be no need to worry about hurting their feelings during Halloween.


Posted on Mon Oct 25, 2004


hey, I happen to be rather proud of my supernatural powers. They just aren't as sparkly as they are on TV.
Posted by megan  on  Mon Oct 25, 2004  at  04:49 PM
That's definitely going overboard.

This site has a great rundown of the dozen-plus different meanings of the term "witch." http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_pott1.htm#de
Posted by cvirtue  on  Mon Oct 25, 2004  at  08:00 PM
The school was petitioned by local Wiccans. It wasn't an arbitrary decision. I don't know if it was a good or bad decision, but it makes sense in a state where schools really can't afford a law suit.
Posted by Ruben  on  Mon Oct 25, 2004  at  08:22 PM
I know dozens of Witches who would beg to differ on your comments. Some are Wiccan, some are not. We all call ourselves Witches. And whether our powers are supernatural or not is a matter of perspective. After all, yesterday's magic is today's science. 😊
Posted by Elizabeth  on  Mon Oct 25, 2004  at  10:16 PM
I applaud the actions of the Puyallup School District. As a ghost, I have been appalled by the awful characatures of my kind paraded on Halloween for the sole benefit of children's amusement. We don't all wear bedsheets with eyeholes poked into them (well, some of us do, but only because we're poor), or say "boo," and we certainly don't waddle from house to house soliciting candy. I haven't been able to leave my house for more than a century! And what's with the skeletons? We don't have skeletons. We're DEAD, remember? DISEMBODIED! What silliness. Terrible, offensive silliness.

It's about time someone took a sensitive position on mine and others' feelings. Thank you, Puyallup School District. May your actions stand to inspire such enlightenment in others.
Posted by JFB  on  Mon Oct 25, 2004  at  11:16 PM
"What *also* floats on water?"

"...A DUCK"
Posted by Robbert  on  Tue Oct 26, 2004  at  07:42 AM
And what about the real pumpkins!
Posted by Robbert  on  Tue Oct 26, 2004  at  07:47 AM
I must object to Saint Patrick's Day. It's become so commercialized and caricatured that a hard working leprechaun like meself don't fit in no more. People don't even come lookin' for me pot o' gold. All me would be gold robbers have become internet ad executives and don't have time for drinkin', dancin', and singin'.

'Tis a crying shame. A leprechaun's curse on the lot of ye!
Posted by Charybdis O'Shaunessy  on  Tue Oct 26, 2004  at  09:37 AM
So if I start the Hatred Cult I can legitimately oppose Valentine's Day? Cool!
Posted by Gutza  on  Tue Oct 26, 2004  at  09:58 AM
I remember when "witches" complained about Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone because he flew his broom backwards. Get real people.

Witches (as in capable of casting spells) don't exist. People who call themselves witches do. Saying that you can cast spells or fly doesn't make it true even if all your friends say the same thing. The burden of proof lies with "witches" to prove that their powers are real since they are making the more extreme claim.

No witch I have ever met (admittedly few) has been able to provide the slightest evidence of real powers. They are generally more akin to astrologers in that, if they even deign to use their "powers" at all, they give vague generalizations of their power and take credit for everything that's ever happened.

I suppose I'm gonna get cursed for this one. Oh dear me.
Posted by Charybdis  on  Tue Oct 26, 2004  at  11:23 AM
Let me play Devil's Advocate here (take the pun if you want it):

"Wiccan religion" is based not so much on an individual's supernatural powers as it is on inherent mystical powers of nature. In that regard, it's little different from most instituted religions: its adherents come to their conclusions about the universe through faith, rather than evidence--an understandable thing to do, since faith offers answers where evidence leaves only unknowns. Calling the Moon divine is no more a leap of faith than calling Jesus the Messiah, Moses the God's shepherd to the Jews, or Muhammad the mouthpiece of Allah. The difference between Wicca and the "Big 3" lies only in institution. The latter have played defining roles in the development of Western civilization, and are thus regarded among seculars as part of the culture. Wicca is a newcomer (witchcraft goes back a long way, but previously it was a practice, not a religion); it remains extra-curricular.

So if you're a person of faith, whatever faith yours may be, be thankful that people are looking out for your sensibilities. If you're atheist, agnostic, or just more humorous than sanctimonious--break out that warty-Jesus mask and have a grand ol' time!
Posted by JFB  on  Tue Oct 26, 2004  at  12:37 PM
I beg to differ!!
Witches DO have power!
They have the uncanny ability to immediately convince people they meet that, believing they are witches, they really shouldn't be allowed out on their own.
Posted by Gee...  on  Tue Oct 26, 2004  at  02:06 PM
I've known several people who called themselves witches and/or Wiccans, and I never heard them express any objection to Halloween. In fact, I always had the impression they enjoyed it as the one time when people express belief (whether real or pretended) in many of the things they believe in. Of course popular Halloween celebrations give a rather distorted image of Wiccan ideas, but is anyone going to argue that popular Christmas and Easter celebrations (let alone St. Valentine's Day!) don't distort Christianity?
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Tue Oct 26, 2004  at  06:37 PM
I could see the point if they weren't allowing celebration because of religious reasons...i.e, the holiday is all about witches/ghosts & parents don't want kids participating...but the other way around? It just seems odd to me. It's not the school that is saying, "All witches wear pointy hats, ride on brooms, & have green noses with warts." It's the company that creates the decorations & the stories that children have been learning for generations that have created that scary witch image. "Wizard of Oz" is a perfect example. The Wicked Witch of the West is the epitome of witchyness. But then there's Glenda the Good Witch.

I say, let the kids have fun...it's a good excuse to let them go nuts. After all, they only have adulthood to look forward to. And I think we can all agree, it wasn't as much fun as we thought it would be.
Posted by Maegan  on  Wed Oct 27, 2004  at  08:07 AM
"[adulthood isn't] as much fun as we thought it would be" -- you can say that again... foolish kids we were, foolish kids! But at least there's always the comfort of knowing that all kids forever will be just the same. Mwa-ha-ha! (Oh, sorry, that was the Evil Genius laughter, please replace that with the Evil Witch laughter.)
Posted by Gutza  on  Wed Oct 27, 2004  at  08:14 AM
Most Witches have no problem at all with halloween but if there is publicity to be had you can be sure that one or two will. :wow:
Posted by Elwood  on  Wed Oct 27, 2004  at  02:35 PM
Halloween is a wiccan holiday in fact . . . Samhain, when the veil between the worlds is thin when the year is coming to an end. Wiccan's believe that spirits communicate more easily with the living. This is mostly quoted from Wicca for Life by Raymond Buckland.
Posted by Ariel  on  Thu Oct 28, 2004  at  06:14 PM
Witches, "historically speaking", actually did not, nor do not have any supernatural powers. They use the elements of earth, air, fire, and water to summon strength and protection. A true witch will tell you that witchcraft is simply about using nature and energy. Wiccan is very new (early 1900's), but follows the same line of thinking. Anyone who says they have "supernatural" powers and claims they are a witch should do their homework and quit fiddling around with things of which they know nothing.

Great website, by the way.
Posted by Sheila  on  Sun Feb 06, 2005  at  08:39 AM
It's not really a matter of offense. It doesn't offend me that they dress up like that. In a way it is kind of flattering that they would even bother to go out and buy a costume to dress up like us. Even though we don't dress like that. I just happen to be a witch myself and it doesn't bother me one bit!
Posted by Kat  on  Wed Jun 22, 2005  at  05:25 PM
Halloween Have you ever wondered about the origins of children in costumes roaming door-to-door for treats, or why we carve pumpkins into jack-o- lanterns? The word "Halloween" actually comes from the Celtic language of Ireland. It comes from a contraction of "All Hallow's Eve", the evening before All Saint's Day, November 1, which is celebrated in the Catholic religion in honor of saints. All Saint's Day also coincided with the Celtic New Year, which began November 1st and the celebration of the harvest.

On All Hallow's Eve, the Celts observed Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). It was the largest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year. The Celts believed that during the time of Samhain, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living. The Celtic folk would leave out gifts of food and drink for the dead souls. On All Souls Day, November 2, people would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes", made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggar would receive, the more prayers they promised to say for the dead relatives of the donors. ` The practice of trick-or-treating began when people who were "souling" began to dress like the dead souls, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This practice became known as "mumming". So to this day, witches, ghosts and skeleton figures of the dead are among the favorite costumes for Halloween. The practice of carving pumpkins probably comes from Irish folklore.

A man named Jack, a notorious drunkard and trickster, had a trick gone awry with the devil. So when he died he was denied access to Hell because he had tricked the devil. Instead the devil gave him a single ember inside a hollowed-out turnip to light his way through the cold darkness. Originally, the Irish people used turnips as their "Jack's lanterns". But when the immigrants came to America and actually brought the traditions of Halloween to America, they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful than turnips. So the jack-o-lantern in America was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with a candle. Deals with the devil harvest holidays, and dead souls have little relationship to today's Halloween customs. Halloween of the late twentieth century has become a festival of fun when children and adults can enjoy trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins and dressing in costumes. Happy Haunting!!
Posted by rennie  on  Fri Oct 07, 2005  at  05:41 PM
For those who say witches are not real unless they can "prove" their powers, then let me rattle your tree: Prove to me that your God exists, prove to me that the Pope is not just some old guy that a bunch of gulable people turn to in order to explain their pitiful lifes. Prove to me that there is no such thing as Evolution, prove to me that this 3rd planet from the sun is the Only planet with intellegent life.
Prove those to me then you can prove that "witches have no powers".
Posted by Jeff  on  Sun Oct 23, 2005  at  01:45 PM
I totally agree with the school for doing what it's doing. Witches are To REAL & not ALL witches have supernatural powers You dont have to have supernatural powers to be a witch.
Posted by Chanel  on  Sun Oct 30, 2005  at  05:03 PM
you all deserve to be kicked in the behind
the day of all hallows eve should be celebrated as they like
this is the time for children to bring happinedd to themselves... if they were real believers in the wiccan religion they would understand the steretypical image of witches like when some one talks about a christian person they think they are all goody goody. Let the children roam free thinking what they like about us. Its a reminder of our religion, the freedom to talk, speach, love, belive and to be free. Protesting about little kids in witches costumes with warts is fine, its halloween, if you cant except the image that has been brought upon you, kindly leave our religion
Posted by seth  on  Mon Oct 31, 2005  at  07:31 AM
Halloween (in the commercial sense) doesn't bother me. If children want to have fun dressing up in costumes...why not? I can understand why Wiccans may have campained against it, because Samhain (Halloween) is a Wiccan Sabbath, their new year. A serious time to honour their loved ones who have passed over. It's a very old pagan celebration, which Christianity demonised, and then commercialism took over. Some might find it offensive that witches are misrepresented at Halloween. I (as a non-Wiccan witch)don't mind. And by the way, I work with natural energies, not 'super powers' ala 'Charmed'. 😊
Posted by Jools  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  10:11 AM
And I just thought I'd add...although I do know a few witches (both Wiccan and non-Wiccan) who ARE offended, I know even more who dress up in costumes and join in with the sillyness of it all...before getting down to the serious part later on.

Posted by Jools  on  Mon Nov 28, 2005  at  10:18 AM
i am a witch myself so i know how it feels when somebody like your best friend doesnt believe you
it hurts a lot.people think witches can use their powers for personal gain......we cant
Posted by lauren  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  01:43 PM
Of course you can't. You have no powers to use, one way or the other.
Posted by Charybdis  on  Wed Jan 25, 2006  at  02:13 PM
Of course witches can use their 'powers' for personal gain. Wiccan witches are prevented from doing so by the Wiccan Rede and the laws of three fold. Those of us who are not Wiccan are not bound by that Rede.

I don't think the word 'powers' is appropriate. Magic(k) is the use of natural energy to achive change. Anybody can do that, it's no 'power', it's a skill you can learn.
Posted by Jools  on  Fri Jan 27, 2006  at  01:59 PM
The problem here is a confusion on the concept of a witch. Theres really three different definitions of what a witch is: the anthropological, the Midevil and the Neo pagan.

Anthropological: In most ancient cultures theres a distinction between the shaman and the witch. A shaman practices magic for the benefit of the community and in a religious context. A witch practices magic for personal gain or revenge.

Medevil: A person(usually a woman but not always) who makes a pact with Satan in return for power. They worship Satan, preform sacrafice and other crimes in his name and in return he gives them certain powers(shape shifting, the ability to summon storms, and the ability to make there enemies sick for example).

Neo pagan: A practicioner of magic for good or ill. More specificly typicaly associated with the modern religion of Wicca which tends to borrow from multiple pagan religions(ie some worship pan, others isis, others diana) and modern occult practices(one of the founders of wicca was a man named Gardner who was in fact a student of Aleister Crowley probably the most infamous magician of the 20th Century).

See Next Post.
Posted by Kevin  on  Wed Aug 23, 2006  at  02:54 AM
As to whether or not magic works depends on how you define magic. If you mean purely paranormal effects then its a matter of debate. Yet with in the traditions of magic several very real phenomenon exist well documented by modern science. For example consider the phenomenon some times known as "voodoo death": basicly strong evidence exist that some people(particularly in non modern cultures that still have a strong belief in magic) have died as a result of believing they were cursed. THe power of suggestion over the human mind can at times make a spell or a perceived spell work as a kind of self fufilling prophecy. Its not paranormal just psychology. Also consider both the modern farmer and the pagan of old. One covers his soil in fertilizer tested by modern science and long shown effective, the other goes out to the field at midnight, sacrafices an animal and lets its blood spray across the field basicly creating the same effect. Two different solutions to the same problem.

Magic has also always served a basic purpose. It gives people power over there enviroment and forces outside of there controll. Whether its the ability to command the spirits of rain and the harvest that tribesman used, or the sense of empowerment voodoo rituals gave the slaves in the new world(want a real interesting study on what one person can do with just belief try reading up on Marie Laveou some time), or modern witches who use it to manipulate luck. It gives us a sense of controll. ALso for that matter magical practices have had much to do with the advance of science. Chemistry owes a great debt to alchemy, and astronomy owes much to astrology. Yet thats hardly all. Dr John Dee, Paracelsus, Pythagoras, Francis Bacon all of these men have two things in common. THey are all important figures in the history of science and math and they were all magicians of one sort or another.

To briefly return to my original point though witches are as real as christians. They preform magical rituals and some worship gods(its a mistake to believe that all witches are wiccan or even that all wiccans are witches I've met both non witch wiccans and non wiccan witches). WHether magic exists or not people practice rituals considered magical(some of which are centuries old) just as people worship Jesus whether he was God or not.
Posted by Kevin  on  Wed Aug 23, 2006  at  03:03 AM
I am a witch and i am proud of it. But I also believe that holloween should stay for the kids sake.

Posted by KAREN  on  Fri Oct 12, 2007  at  04:54 PM
witches arent real and who ever says they are is stuped you can all suck a fat one
Posted by fox  on  Thu Sep 24, 2009  at  09:42 AM
Posted by SkotAD  on  Fri Oct 30, 2009  at  01:10 PM
Look, halloween, Samhain, all hollows eve, what ever you want to call it it is a religious holiday for a witch, we dress up, have a party and celebrate earth and the harvest the great goddess has given us. so in other words banning halloween is really a slap in the face. and no we don't have the Harry Potter powers i'll admit but we believe in the earth and are very connected to nature and the universe. so what we pray actually does come true because we send out that particular energy. and we are in fact very real! you are allowed to think what you want but to deny the existence of a human belief is as wrong a slavery, and most likely you are scared shitless about a strange and different religion. i give kudos to washington state though at least what they were attempting to show children to respect other people and their belief, but they really should have done more research next time they want to teach a religion.
Posted by RommiIris  on  Thu Feb 03, 2011  at  10:52 PM
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