- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2001

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is calling for a boycott of Halloween, saying parents shouldn't let children go out trick-or-treating tonight because the "prospect for mischief is too great."
"Halloween is a favorite American holiday," Mr. Jackson declared in a syndicated column. "But this year, it's hard to think about painting blood on faces when we've seen too much blood on real faces. It's hard to think about legions of children dressed in sheets, when we pursue the real menace halfway across the world."
Mr. Jackson, a veteran civil-rights activist who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, called on parents to "just cancel the whole trick-or treat night."
"The occasion offers too much temptation for those who would do wrong. The prospect for mischief is too great if not from fanatics abroad then from our homegrown crazies."
Citing "the demonic attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon" and anthrax letters that "have brought terror even to the simplest act of opening the mail," Mr. Jackson calls attention to official warnings of "another major terrorist assault."
"In these circumstances, I'd say that we should cancel Halloween, take off the masks, stop the door-to-door visits and spend the night with our families."
Instead, Mr. Jackson said, parents should respond to "President Bush's call for the children to help fund medicine for the children in Afghanistan" by having older teens donate blood while younger children raise money "to donate to emergency food shipments."
"Let's use this holiday to show the world that we do care about others, that our policy is not a war on the Afghani people," Mr. Jackson wrote. "We must not allow Afghani children to be the 'collateral damage' of our fight with [Osama] bin Laden's terrorists.
"So let us send out treats to support those children with basic food and nutrition, rather than sicken ours with sweets and candies. We'd all be better off for it."
White House spokesman Scott McClellan declined to comment directly on Mr. Jackson's remarks, but said, "The president believes Americans should go about living their daily lives … He's also said people need to be on heightened alert."

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