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Oct 25

Written by: Diana West
Thursday, October 25, 2007 11:13 AM 

The Washington Post's Terri Sapienza identifies a new culprit in the ongoing investigation into the death of the grown-up: Halloween.
     In an article called, "From Boo to Eeeww: When did Halloween get so ghastly gruesome," she reveals that adult involvement helps explain the intense gore-ification and even the pornification of the of the holiday.
     Once upon a time, jack 'o' lanterns and Casper the Friendly Ghost made Halloween about as sweet as candycorns. Now, with bloody and severed limb props and maggots, it's got another vibe going. Apparently, things changed around 1978, the year "Halloween" came out. 
    " `Until that movie Halloween was never associated with violence in such a huge way. It cemented a relationship that hadn't existed before.' said Lesley Pratt Bannatyne. It was around that same time, she said, that large numbers of adults started wearing costumes again."
   
Hmmm. And there's more:
    "Halloween has become much more adult-driven and sexualized, according to Paul J. Donahue, a clinical psychologist and the founder and director of Child Development Associates, a group practice that works primarily with children and families in Scarsdale, N.Y. Costumes sexual in nature have become more popular.
    And the kiddies? The Post reports:
    "Some child development experts caution that younger trick-or-treaters can find the increasingly gruesome props overwhelming.
    `Children below the age of 7 often have a hard time distinguishing between what's real and what's not real,' Donahue said. ...`Scary and gory images can cause a good deal of distress in young children, particularly those who are already somewhat anxious.'
    Time will tell whether today's children will one day be nostalgic for giant fake maggots and serial killer costumes.   
    `In 1910, people were wearing ball gowns to Halloween parties,' Bannatyne said.  `I don't think they saw an air-brushed bikini coming.'"
    Let alone as part of a $5 billion a year industry.

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