- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Halloween used to be all about the free candy — and staying out late with flashlights — and wearing cool stuff that could scare the neighborhood kids and disgust the neighborhood parents.

Now? It’s too political. It’s too controversial.

All the fun is being killed by the politically correct pinheads.

CNN has a web tool that allows you to check if your costume is appropriate for the current climate or not — and by climate, we’re not talking weather.

“What’s your costume?” the tool’s first prompt asks.

Users can then click on “A creative take on current events;” “A sexy version of an otherwise normal thing”; or “A hilarious visual gag.”

For the first — “creative take on current events” — users are then asked if it “capitalize[s] on a tragedy or crisis?” Answer “yes” and the advisement comes: “Don’t.” Answer “no” and users are asked if it is “some sort of Internet meme you’re going to have to spend the whole night explaining?”

So goes the Q&A for the other potentials as well: “Is it a beloved children’s character? … You know, a sexy Mr. Rogers costumer DOES exist …” “Does it involve blackface? — yes — Don’t.”

Maybe it’s helpful.

Maybe it’s overkill.

Maybe it’s simply for amusement purposes; no harm, no overkill, no foul.

But here’s one of the CNN test questions that’s more telling than the rest — “Could people see it as offensive?”

And therein lies a problem — the idea that if somebody sees something offensive in somebody else, that the rest of the somebodies in society are supposed to step in and do something. Where’s society’s sense of humor gone?

The phrase “mind your own business” has truly been replaced by “your business is my business.” Even when it comes to something as simple as Halloween garb. 

Remember when costumes were just that — costumes? Fake, and therefore, non-threatening? 

Even the offensive ones, the ones with Hitler mustaches. Even the tasteless ones that went over-the-top with stereotypes — like Native Americans with showy feathers and body paint and rubber-blade tomahawks, or Arabs with fake explosives taped to their chests.

They may have raised eyebrows, sparked whispers, even expressions of shock and dismay.

But nobody called the national news. Nobody threatened lawsuits. Nobody organized petitions to politicians to put a stop to the costume-wearing practice.

Everybody just went home and ate their candy. And laughed at the toilet paper hanging off Mrs. Smith’s tree. Now?

Now costumes must be preapproved. Halloween candy’s been replaced by granola. And nobody dares string toilet paper out of fear the environmentalists will come haunting the other 364 days of the year. It may less offensive, more politically correct, and safer and healthier — but it sure as heck isn’t half as fun.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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