Dear Dawg: It’s almost Halloween, and I’m sure we are going to get some complaints about celebrating this “religious” holiday. Any concerns?

Of course there are concerns. And, as usual, they have found their way to the courthouse.  In Alachua County, Florida, a parent complained of the upcoming Halloween festivities.  The parent noted that the school was decorated with depictions of witches, brooms, cauldrons and all. One teacher dressed up as a witch. The parent supported his case with an affidavit from a professor of cultural anthropology who stated that Wiccans consider Halloween to be a religious holiday, and that the school was promoting this religious view in violation of the Constitution.

Nope.  The school provided affidavits also, including one from a professor of religion who testified that contemporary Halloween celebrations are secular events without religious connotations. He further stated that Halloween was a cultural festival which “is an important event in the life of society and serves to bring the community together.”

The court agreed with that view, noting that “costumes and decorations simply serve to make Halloween a fun day for the students and serve an educational purpose by enriching the educational background and cultural awareness of the students.”

The Dawg is relieved to hear this.  At our firm we celebrate Halloween with enthusiasm, with pumpkin carving and very creative costumes, all in good fun.  If someone is trying to promote a religion, it slipped right past me!

The Florida case is Guyer v. School Board of Alachua County, decided by the District Court of Appeal of Florida, April 7, 1994. We found it at 634 So.2d 806.