Much of the school-based religious propaganda, hatred and misinformation
comes at Halloween time. This may be because the end of October and beginning
of November includes three historically related observances:
the secular holiday of Halloween, a fun time of pumpkins, witches,
ghosts and vampires when the kiddies engage in the annual "trick or treat"
the pre-Christian, ancient religious celebration of Samhain, which
is the most important seasonal day of celebration of
Wiccans and other Neo-Pagans
the Christian All Souls' or All Hallows' Day which was
an adaptation of Samhain.
Propaganda seems to occur in one of two forms:
attempts by devout believers in a religious faith to impose their beliefs
upon a public school system
programs within religious schools that teach hatred of faiths other than
To most people, Halloween is a fun time. To others, it a time when Satan and
his demons are particularly active, and when children are in real danger.
The propaganda mills go into high speed at the end of October each year.
What we see is a conflict between two world concepts:
The "Belief of Satan under Every Rock": a fear which has
remained essentially unchanged since the 15th Century, that Satan and his
hordes of demons exist, are profoundly evil, and are ready to possess the
mind of any child who engages in celebrations which have Pagan roots.
The "Secular View": a belief that children can engage in fantasy
and enjoy what has become a secular holiday without endangering their
Religious Intolerance In Religious School
The Sunday News, a weekly tabloid from New Zealand contained an article in
its 1995-OCT-22 edition: CHRISTIAN SCHOOL PUTS HEX ON WITCHES by Neil Reid.
A local Christian school, Bethlehem College, banned a number of
children's classics, including "Bad Jelly The Witch" by Spike
Milligan. Pages of some textbooks were either ripped out or glued together.
According to principal Graham Preston, the banned books and songs described
Witches in a "fun sense". He mentioned that the school was determined to
produce "pure thinking kids".
As described elsewhere at this site, the term
Witch currently has two mutually exclusive meanings:
followers of a benign religion, Wicca, the pre-Christian faith of the
non-existant, evil cannibals and Satan worshipers, a belief left over
from the Witch burning times of the Renaissance.
This school wants to preserve the latter meaning of "Witchcraft" by
withholding any positive image of real Witches from the children. Books
portraying Witches in an evil light will probably be permitted in the school.
This will guarantee that the discrimination and persecution of Witches,
which started about 1450 CE in Western Europe, will continue into the next
millennium. Many conservative Christians will continue to live in fear of
evil people who do not exist.
Attempt to Suppress Halloween Celebration
On 1995-OCT-18 at about 10:00 hrs, CNN carried a short report of a school
controversy in Los Altos CA. The public school's traditional celebration of
Halloween was being opposed by people which CNN identified as "conservative
Christians". During a meeting of the school board meeting:
A woman said, simply: "Don't Mess with Halloween"
A man said "Don't scare our children by treating ghosts or goblins
or demons as if they were real and endangering their souls."
A second woman said "I'd like to speak about the parents of the
children who were ritually abused by Witches. Those children were hurt by
Witches." (This is another example of how some conservative Christians
do not differentiate between real Witches (Wiccans), and the imaginary
kind left over from the Witch burning times).
Eric Prior, a well known opponent of Wicca,
Neo-Paganism, Unitarian-Universalism and Humanism was
introduced as a "Witch turned preacher". He said "I got involved
with Satanism when I was ten years old. I have seen sacrificed human bodies.
It all got started for me going out and playing Halloween games...and one
thing led to another.". (Again, there is the confusion of Witches
with Satanists, and the confusion of both
with the baby-killing fables of the "burning times".) Eric was waving a copy of
a commercial video tape "Satanic Cults". Behind him, an incredibly bored
looking police officer was looking over a duplicate copy. He did not seem at
all concerned about Eric's statement that he had seen the results of human
The result of the school board meeting was that Halloween will be celebrated
as usual in 1995 in the public schools of Los Altos.
Separation of Church and State Issue
The Orlando Sentinel (1995-DEC-7) reported on a suit filed by a Robert Guyer
of Gainesville FL about the celebration of Halloween at his son's school.
His claim was that Witches, cauldrons and brooms were religious symbols.
Thus the celebration violated the principle of separation between church and
His appeal was turned down by the Florida Supreme Court in 1994-JUL; the
US Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal in 1995-DEC. Perhaps the courts
looked upon Halloween symbols as more cultural than religious.
Anti-Halloween Religious Propaganda
For an analysis of anti-Halloween propaganda see HALLOWEEN: MYTHS,
MONSTERS AND DEVILS", a 26 page essay by W.J. Bethancourt III at:
His introduction mentions:
"Every year, right around Halloween, we are treated to an outpouring of
what can only be described as "scare" literature telling us all about how
the holiday is 'satanic' and evil, and should not be celebrated by
Christians. These opinions are backed up with some rather unusual, and
very frightening, fantasies masquerading as historical facts."
Werewolves, Vampires and Zombies
Stories about strange, unnatural creatures have terrified people for
centuries. There is often a resurgence of interest in these deviate life forms
at Halloween. They have a natural explanation:
Werewolves are supposed to be normal looking humans who change
into the form of a wolf at night - particularly under the light of a full
moon. These beliefs, which were particularly popular in France in the 18th
Century, are probably based on a disorder called congenital generalized
hypertricosis which caused extreme hairiness all over the body - even
the eye lids. Such people would tend to stay indoors, out of sight during the
day, and emerge only at night.
Vampires are supposed to be people who died by their own hand,
were never baptized, were a heretic or who had been bitten by another
vampire. They also shunned the daylight and roamed only at night seeking
victims. Those who he bit (most vampires were male) wasted away and died.
He could appear in the form of a bat or even be invisible. These beliefs
seem to have come from two sources:
vampire bats do attack mammals, make an incision and lick blood
before tuberculosis was effectively treated, members of a family would
often catch it from each other, falling sick and wasting away. They would
believe that the first person who sickened was the vampire.
Zombies are believed to be a dead person who has been reactivated
through the use of magic. The zombie remains dead but appears to be alive and
remains under the total control of the magician. This belief is widespread
among people who watch Hollywood horror movies on Voodoo, and among people
who follow the religion of Vodun. It has
an element of reality: some Vodun potions include a toxin that can induce
a temporary coma like state. In Haiti where Vodun is widely followed as an
overlay to Roman Catholicism, everyone has heard stories of Zombies but very,
very few have actually seen one.