UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Five ethically ghoulish ways to 'evil-up' your Halloween

By Pieta Woolley


Halloween, back in the day, turned everything on its head. The dead walked among the living; costumes invoked death or winter; men and women switched genders for a night; and a last light burned before the coming darkness. Also, there were food, fires and the 'flipping the bird' to convention, as well as early trick-or-treaters revelling in what seemed like a raucously good time.

But 21st century celebrants are caught between appeasing the forces of safety and inoffensiveness (no urban bonfires nor professional fireworks; toothbrushes instead of candy), and buying into a global capitalist Halloween culture that is so grim that no scythe-carrying hooded figure from the dark ages could out-scare the environmental and social demons that swirl around it. 

So, want to be truly evil this Halloween? It’s not hard, really. Just relax into mainstream culture.

1. Dress up as your favourite “exotic” ethnic group — and remember to make it sexy.
Pocahontas. A geisha. Osama Bin Laden. Four years ago, students at Ohio University started “We’re a culture, not a costume,” an effort to fight racist Halloween garb. But why stop at racism when you can also reveal your inner misogynist by sexing-up empowered women, such as Harry Potter's Hermione Granger and celebrated aviator Amelia Earhart?  

2. Buy a bunch of conventional candy — from Walmart
Canadians will spend at last $322 million on Halloween candy this year. Make sure that much of that goes to mega candy retailers like Nestle as possible (This year, Halloween falls during Nestle-Free Week — a boycott against predatory infant formula sales). Whatever you purchase, definitely don’t go out of your way to find the many ethical alternatives available.

3. Decorate your lawn with media-addled adults in mind

Why stick to styrofoam gravestones and severed hands from the local dollar store when you can create a bloody ISIS-inspired diorama that attracts the police?

4. Distribute killer treats
Nut allergies, gluten intolerances, diabetes — kids today, eh? You’ll just be caving to the pressure of their annoying helicopter parents if you set a teal pumpkin outside your home, indicating that you have non-food treats on hand to accommodate kids with food challenges.

5. Stay home and be a Halloween Grinch
Willfully ignore the many events across Canada reigniting the deeper cultural meaning that once belonged to Halloween. Don’t you dare attend A Night for All Souls at Vancouver’s Mountainview Cemetery; the organ and silent movie performance at Calgary’s Knox United Church — part of the city’s week-long organ festival; Night of the Dread in Toronto; or, hold off til December and hit St. John’s Mummers Festival, a uniquely Newfoundlander-Inuit set of role-flipping traditions that may be more Halloweeny than Halloween itself. 


Author's photo
Pieta Woolley is a writer in Powell River, B.C.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Announcement

New Observer editor and CEO, Jocelyn Bell. Photo by Lindsay Palmer

New editor named

by Observer Staff

Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

A perfect send-off

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: My Year of Living Spiritually

by Observer Staff

Anne Bokma left the Dutch Reformed Church as a young adult and eventually became a member of the United Church and then the Unitarian Universalists. Having long explored the "spiritual but not religious" demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.

Promotional Image

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

October 2017

A tale of two cancers

by Catherine Gordon

One year after the writer discovered she had breast cancer, her sister in California received the same diagnosis. They both recovered, but their experiences were worlds apart.

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

November 2017

Grey matter

by Trisha Elliott

Is consciousness just a function of the brain — or something more?

Promotional Image