Halloween-Satan Tie Spurs Feud FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - Fewer students in ghost and goblin ge

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Halloween-Satan Tie Spurs Feud FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - Fewer students in ghost and goblin get-ups will be parading through the halls of Frederick County schools this Halloween because of some parents' complaints that the holiday is linked to devil worship. Several schools have canceled traditional Halloween costume parties, opting to hold fall and harvest celebrations instead. Other schools are bypassing Halloween altogether, asking children to dress up as storybook characters in conjunction with National Children's Book Week in mid-November. ``I personally have trouble defending ghosts and goblins in our instructional curriculum,'' John Thompson, a county school superintendent, said Wednesday. Other parents believe school officials have overreacted to the 15 to 20 parents who complained, Thompson said. But he said school officials thought the parents had a legitimate concern. Larry Chamblin, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Education, said that although satanic activities have been brought to the attention of school officials across the state, he had never heard of Halloween parties being canceled in any other Maryland schools. In Texas, similar parental complaints have prompted a school district to considering limiting observance of the holiday, too. ``I asked the school board to ban Halloween because it's a religious holiday,'' Janet Magee, director of children's education at the 800-member, non-denominational Christian Fellowship Church, said Wednesday. Tuesday night, the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District appointed a committee to examine Halloween's role in the schools. About 200 members of area churches showed up, some wearing orange anti-Halloween buttons. Committee members said they were not ready to decide on whether to ban Halloween. Harlingen school Superintendent T. Carl McMillan said at a Wednesday morning meeting he advised principals that ``in situations where they were coming on strong with witches and witches' brews and all that kind of stuff, perhaps they might want to tone it down a bit and concentrate on pumpkins and that sort of thing.'' ``He agreed to take the yucky stuff out,'' Mrs. Magee said Wednesday. ``Man, that's a major step.'' But she wants all Halloween witches, witches' brews, ghosts and goblins and what she calls ``the dark side'' out of the schools, and hopes the school board makes the decision at its next meeting. ``The Christian religion is not allowed the same privilege in the schools,'' she said. McMillan, however, said Halloween always has been seen as a spoof of an old superstition. ``And kids have always looked on it as a fun time and a spoof rather than anything serious like this,'' McMillan said. Frederick County School Superintendent Noel Farmer has not issued a policy on Halloween, but at least three elementary schools - North Frederick, Walkersville and Hillcrest - have discontinued Halloween events. Others have changed the focus of the parties. Middletown Elementary School Principal Roy Clever said some parents keep their children home from school to prevent them from participating in Halloween parties. To keep the children in class, the school decided to hold a fall celebration instead. ``We've requested that the students not come as witches and goblins and ghoulish characters,'' he said. AP-NY-10-12-89 0727EDT (C) Copyright 1989, Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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