Halloween is among the more popular holidays with the Scout-age crowd. Its not just the candy. Its a time of year when imagination runs wild. Forget about what you are, or what your peers think you are. You can be a pro-baseball player, or an NFL quarterback, or a super-fast goalie. You can be a soldier or a sailor, Superman or Batman, warlock or web wizard. Icabod Crane or the Headless Horsemen, Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, Charlie Brown or Snoopie, pick your hero or villain. You can be anything you can think up.
I’m not a Halloween guy myself. The roots of the “holiday” lie in ancient pagan celebrations of Celtic spirits, which became incorporated in All Hallows Eve. I have a hard time reconciling the tradition with my faith (A Scout is Reverent) but that’s me. However, it reminds me that one kid’s harmless fun can be another kid’s offense.
I’m not talking about being politically correct. I am talking about respecting tradition and different perspectives. History is full of a variety of stories–my post on Tall Tales & the Bear Cub achievement activity is the #1 all-time post I’ve written anywhere. These stories bind us to those who have gone before. Our ancestors deserve to have their stories told unvarnished.
At the same time, Scout leaders must be sensitive to perspectives we may not share. We grow by learning and welcoming new ideas, and figuring out how to incorporate those ideas into our traditions. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. And our Packs and Troops and Crews will grow by letting our imaginations run a bit wild, without scaring off boys… or their parents.