Close
Welcome back!
My Account | Log Out

Nanny state vs. Halloween


To read this article and more, subscribe now

Looks like you've already reached your free article limit for the month. To continue reading, without interruption, subscribe and get unlimited digital access.

Never mind the greatly exaggerated “War on Christmas” we’ll start hearing about in a few weeks.

The killjoys at the Oregon Health Authority have picked a different holiday to meddle in with the well-intentioned but utterly tone deaf approach at which government agencies excel.

A link to a brief YouTube video arrived in our inbox this week. And what an interesting 85 seconds it was.

The video’s title — “Healthier Things” — pretty much gives away the plot. A little girl of about 4, dressed in a pirate costume, knocks on a front door, clutching a plastic jack-o-lantern. A hand reaches out and instead of dropping a couple of candy bars or hunks of bubble gum, it pours into the jack-o-lantern a stream of sugar, then a dollop of corn syrup, several drops of food coloring, and finally a spoonful of a buttery substance helpfully identified as hydrogenated oil. The word “Treat?” flashes on the screen, followed by “What are you handing out for Halloween?”

The implication, of course, is that if you’re not rewarding the little costumed ruffians with organic produce then you’re all but guilty of child abuse.

The video, part of OHA’s campaign to promote oral health and prevent obesity, is more silly than it is offensive, to be sure.

But it also strikes us as an ill-conceived way to put across a valuable message. It’s hardly a revelation that Halloween treats aren’t bastions of nutrition. Nor is there any dispute that a lot of kids eat too much junk.

But Halloween is one day. And we doubt that the tradition of gobbling candy on the last night of October is the culprit in our widespread dietary deficiencies. OHA would be more influential if it encouraged people to feed their kids nutritious food every day, rather than implying that scarfing a few chocolate bars while dressed up as Darth Vader is the greatest threat in the galaxy.

From the Baker City Herald editorial board. The board consists of publisher Kari Borgen, editor Jayson Jacoby and reporter Chris Collins.