Thursday, October 22, 2015

Did A City in PEI Just Cancel Halloween?

That's the message being pushed by this National Post article labeling the city of Summerside PEI's discounting of city fitness passes, and the city's subsequent promotion of their sale to parents to hand out in place of candy this October 31st,
"another assault launched in the war against Halloween".
Another? I guess I missed the start of the war, but putting the war's start aside, to launch their case the National Post quotes Lenore Skenazy of the blog Free-Range-Kids stating,
"I think of as Halloween as the holiday when we test market new fears"
and of the discounted fitness passes plan,
"To turn Halloween into such a seductive, dangerous night that children might get a taste of candy and go buck wild…strikes me as overkill."
Then they tap Toronto RD Abby Langer who infers that by offering the passes the city is demonstrating their opposition to letting kids have candy on Halloween,
"I really am a strong believer in letting kids have their Halloween candy. I know people don’t expect that"
and that by offering fitness passes for purchase means Summerside has effectively cancelled the holiday,
"I would say let the kids have their Halloween and let them enjoy it. The rest of the country is going to have Halloween, and kids are not oblivious to that. They’re going to know that they’re missing out on something."
The piece closes with Montreal RD Lisa Rutledge's quote,
"If children hear the parents sounding scared or worried with the children’s inability to control themselves, that sends a message that one should fear candy."
I know that manufactured controversies sell, but it seems to me that the only "assault" and "test marketed fear" here is the suggestion that a city's offering of discounted fitness passes, passes that in turn will undoubtedly serve as drops in literal buckets of candy, is part of a made-up war against Halloween.

For some, handing out fitness passes will allow them to cater to children with food allergies (and they may well also be boasting teal pumpkins) and for others they'll cater to a personal preference to hand out the treat of a free swim pass, but from what I've seen coming out of Summerside PEI and other communities where Halloween discounted fitness passes are available for parents who want to buy them, Halloween's not going anywhere, nor to my knowledge is anyone suggesting it should.