Determining if Halloween is "over the top" all depends on how the day is celebrated. When celebrated the wrong way, Halloween can be one of the most gender-roled, culturally offensive days of the year. Without fail, little girls can be seen running door-to-door in princess costumes while little boys dress as superheroes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that princess and superhero costumes should be banned, but kids should be given a broader spectrum of options as far as costumes go and not be bound by what society tells them is the norm.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of cultural ignorance that comes with celebrating Halloween as well. Next year, rethink those terrorist, white trash and sexy Native American costumes. They are offensive and, more often than not, misrepresent the cultures, lifestyles and backgrounds that people come from, as well as further stereotypes of overgeneralized groups of people. If we took the time to dig deeper and discover the meaning behind certain articles of clothing, maybe we would be less likely to exaggerate and turn them into a costume.
So yes, Halloween is over the top when celebrated in a way that inflicts strong gender roles or makes fun of different people groups and cultures. But when celebrated in a mindful way, it can be a day to enjoy with friends, family -- and too much candy.
-- LAUREN DAVIES, West Richland (currently in Costa Rica)