Ho, ho, whore at Halloween

WitchCostumeYou see, this is what I get for hiding in the basement and watching old movies -- you know, innocent things like Singing in the Rain and Bringing Up Baby -- on Halloween night, with all the lights in the house turned off and the front door locked tight. But I don't need to turn this into a Halloween discussion of religious traditions in East and West linked to All Saints and All Souls Day.

Apparently this old fogey Eastern Orthodox Christian has missed out on another big Halloween story, a story so big that you have to read about it on the New York Times op-ed page instead of in the news pages of major newspapers.

I refer to the cultural trend covered in John Tierney's column, "Give the Vixens the Day Off." You can find it right here, if you want to pay the TimesSelect people for the right to read it. Meanwhile, let me offer a major slice of it for your enjoyment, starting at the top:

In principle, I have nothing against women in vinyl thigh-high boots, leather corsets, French maid micro-dresses or dominatrix gear. If American women are determined to set aside one day a year to go public with their inner vixen, I believe it is men's solemn duty to respect their wishes.

But should that day be Halloween? This is the great question facing our nation now that Oct. 31 has become known as Slutoween and Dress-Like-a-Whore-Day, much to the distress of moralists on both the left and right. When I see fundamentalists and feminists jointly denouncing something, my knee-jerk libertarian response is: bring it on! If the stores are stocked with nothing but slutty costumes, this must be what customers want. The market has spoken.

I've started to wonder, though, if Halloween is a case of market failure, an arms race that's out of control. It's supposed to be a night for flouting convention, for taking on a new identity and dispensing with the conventional social order. It's the night we pretend there are no rules.

Is this true, I mean, somewhere other than the streets and parties of New York? Has the post-feminist age steered us into the season of the sexy witch?

It's interesting to read one of the official New York Times-friendly conservatives -- "conservative," but pro-gay rights and pro-abortion rights -- raise moral concerns about this. It also sounds like a really good story angle for the days ahead. I mean, in this climate, plain old family fun might be an edgy form of rebeliion. Fight convention!

After all, Tierney suggests that people need to start holding "no-sluts-allowed Halloween parties." What organizations in our culture would have a motivation (and the facilities) to do something like that? And, no, I am not talking about that now standard MSM story about churches using their Hell House Outreach Kit supplies to provide a virtual hell experience as a form of outreach.

I'm asking this question: Is there a "modest Halloween" story out there? Are churches and Christian schools wrestling with this problem?

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