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Happy Book Character Day!

In Virginia public schools there is no such thing as Halloween. October 31, or the weekday before (like today), is Book Character Day. Children are allowed to come to school dressed as any character in a book. (This frequently means scrambling to find a book that features a character something like your Halloween costume. Last year Elizabeth was a 1950s girl in poodle skirt. She ended up bringing a volume of the encyclopedia.) Have you sent out your Book Character Day cards? Are you all set to watch It's The Great Lentil, Charlie Brown? Do you have plates of tofu and carob treats for the kids when they come a-callin'?

This is the result of extremism on the right ("What kind of a pagan thing is that to be having in our schools?") and on the left ("We don't want to offend anyone from another culture."). Well, Halloween is, of course, a contraction of "All hallows eve." "Hallows" being "saints." And the next day, November 1, is All Saints Day. (Samhain? Sam who? Never mind, it's a religious day. Trust me.). As for cultures . . . If I moved to Japan, I would hope that the people around me there wouldn't say, "We need to stop eating raw fish and practicing ancestor worship; we don't want to offend Kevin." On the contrary. If I went to Japan, I would want to see and experience as much of its culture as possible. Wearing your costume to school as part of Halloween is as American as it gets. And we might as well call Halloween Halloween.

BTW, if you want to see what a real Halloween used to be like, check out 1944 musical Meet Me In St. Louis. Bonfires! Throwing flour in people's faces! No mere candy-gathering exercise then.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 1st, 2009 10:48 am (UTC)
I love that idea. The kids at school want to dress up for Halloween, but the deans have nixed the that in recent years because it got a little out of control. If we did something like that, with students dressing up as literary characters, it would bring some students a little closer to the works they read. I'll have to suggest that.
Nov. 1st, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
Stealth Halloween!
Any way to sneak it in.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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