Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's almost Halloween...

...and, of course, someone took a poll. The headline news in the AP article, which I came across on MSNBC's website, is that fewer minorities allow their children to trick-or-treat than white folks do, 56 percent to 73 percent.

It seems to be a mostly safety issue, and actually shakes out along economic lines. While 86 percent of those surveyed overall said they believe their neighborhoods are a safe place to trick-or-treat, 91 percent of whites and 75 percent of minorities said where the live is safe for going door-to-door to ask for candy and treats. The numbers were almost identical when broken down according to how much money people make: 93 percent of those who make $50,000 or more said they think their kids can trick-or-treat safely in their neighborhood, 76 percent of those who make $25,000 per year or less felt that their neighborhood will be safe for their kids to trick-or-treat.

But that isn't what I found so interesting.

The survey also broke down the households which indicated that they will have candy available for trick-or-treaters this year. Overall, two-thirds said they would welcome trick-or-treaters. Liberals were the most likely to give out candy: 70 percent of those who identified as liberal said they would participate in the holiday. 67 percent of moderates said they would distribute candy, while only 55 percent of conservatives said they would do so. Those are interesting numbers, I think, and probably get at something deeper than just whether or not the respondents are willing to give candy to children.

Another interesting set of numbers from the survey: Only a quarter of those who said they would not let their children trick-or-treat said they take that position because they are concerned about their kids' safety, but fully half said that they would not allow their kids to trick-or-treat because they don't celebrate Halloween at all.

One woman from Pennsylvania offered this quote, about Halloween: "It's demonic. People are celebrating the dead. I'm not into that." It's an interesting point of view, and one that I'm familiar with. When I was attending a Christian (Mennonite Brethren) university, one of my classmates (not Mennonite) accused me of supporting "baby-killing" because I wore a costume (my Renaissance Faire costume) to school on the day. I asked here where she got that idea. Her pastor had told her church that, she said.

It makes we wonder what people with this attitude would do with Dia de los Muertos ("Day of the Dead") , which originated with pre-Columbian populations in Mexico but has been taken up by the Christian population of Mexico (and some areas of the United States with large Mexican populations) and really celebrates the dead rather than just focuses on giving candy to kids. Although there is candy involved, from what I understand.

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