The Skary Skelly 2014 Halloween Album 

Happy Halloween, kids!

I know I said I wasn’t going to do this again, but old habits die hard. I’m just doing this for you guys and not promoting it.

O ne, I want to raise some provocative questions. And answer them myself, of course. And then two, I want to prove I can still carve a pumpkin.

The extraordinarily frightening thing about Halloween this year is the rank stupidity of the people you're liable to bump into in the night.

A quick State-of-the-Union address.

The CBO (Congressional Budget Office: last time I'm spelling it out; you're grown up now) just closed the books on FY2014. Revenues up, spending up only fractionally and the deficit down to 448 billion).

3rd Qtr. GDP was 4.4%—and should finish the year around 2.2% according to The Economist.

Unemployment down to 5.9%, more people are working now than before the recession. Inflation remains under control. Personal income and personal consumption both increased, albeit fractionally, each month this year.

Corporate profits, of course, continue at record pace. The Dow (that's the stock market) closed today at 17,390.52, a record high. Headhunters are calling your father again.

But a majority of Americans don't believe any of this stuff. 56% tell Gallup every week that they think the economy is getting worse.

  • – Only 19% can correctly identify whether the federal deficit has grown or shrunk since 2010.
  • – 66% believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old. (Lewis Black says their kids turn on The Flintstones and they think they're watching a documentary.)
  • – 53% of Americans don’t believe man is heating up the climate.
  • – 30% of voters say they'd be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who said he or she believed in evolution.
  • – 55% of all adults (including one in five that aren't even religious) believe they have a guardian angel.
  • – 45% believe in ghosts.

This lack of useful knowledge voters possess about themselves and their world is a significant enabler of the chaotic irresponsibility we see in our elected officials. Obviously it's okay to believe anything you want.

That's why 22 out of 30 Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, or 73%, deny the reality of climate change

And why 17 out of 22 Republicans on the House Science, Technology and Space Committee, or 77%, don't believe climate change is occurring or humans are the cause.

It's why politicians say things like the stimulus didn't work, government spending is out of control, Obama is a Muslim, Benghazi was a conspiracy, Holder was selling guns to the Mexican cartels, you can catch Ebola at your neighborhood cocktail party and not paying the government's bills is a good way to reduce federal debt.

When you're really misinformed, you run the risk of making some terrible decisions about your future.

Moreover, we are an insular culture, by dint of both disposition and geography, and we don't understand that the conditions our politicians are constantly blaming each other for are prevalent in virtually all developed countries. In fact, we're doing better than most of them. I've said this before, but you probably weren't listening: Presidents don't ruin economies; economies ruin presidents.

Whatever. Americans plan to spend $7.4 billion celebrating Halloween this year. Two-thirds will buy Halloween costumes for the occasion, according to the National Retail Federation. The average person will spend $77.52 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $75.03 last year.

• They'll spend $1.1 billion on children’s costumes and another $1.4 billion on adult costumes
•They will spend $350 million on costumes for their pets.
• One-third will throw or attend a party
• One-third will take their children trick-or-treating
• 71.1% will spend $2.2 billion to hand out candy. 35.9 percent will send Halloween greeting cards.

But, really, what do they know?

Just try to get through this night safely. This year is a generational first for you guys. All three of you will all be in your own abodes, away from us, answering the door when the doorbell rings. So why not mark the occasion by trying something different. Instead of giving them candy, why not try handing out books?

Love,
Dad


(Click on photos; these are teasers.)

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Tonight's Top Stories/Culture Wars Edition

Border families worry Halloween is overshadowing Dia de los Muertos
October 28, 2014
By Angela Kocherga, WFAA-TV, Dallas/Fort Worth

CIUDAD JUAREZ – Some fear the growing popularity of Halloween in Mexico will overshadow Dia de los Muertos, a religious holiday honoring the dead.

"There's a lot of completion," said Araceli Garcia, a street vendor in the border city Ciudad Juarez.

Her stand carries both the traditional hand-decorated sugar skulls and mass-produced Halloween masks.

"Right now these are selling more," said Garcia, pointing to a scary masks hanging over her stand. "But as Dia de los Muertos nears, the skulls will do well since people put them on altars," said Garcia.

Families set up altars at home or at grave sites to honor their dearly departed. Many flock to cemeteries bringing their relatives' favorite food, drink and music this time of year.

"It's supposed to be about Dia de los Muertos not Halloween," said Garcia. She and others worry about the focus on Halloween costumes and candy in Mexico rather than the religious holiday.

Retailers on both sides of the border expect Halloween sales to top last year's. "Halloween is for kids," said Daniel Mena, a parent in Ciuad Juarez. His two boys will go trick or treating in their Mexican neighborhood, but the family will also celebrate Dia de los Muertos.

Both traditions coexist on the border where families from the U.S. visit cemeteries in Mexico to pay respects to loved ones, and where Mexican children dressed in costumes cross over to trick or treat in U.S. neighborhoods.

While some worry Dia de los Muertos, a mix of pre-Columbian and Catholic beliefs, could be dying, others say there's nothing to fear.

"It's immortal," said Victorio de la Torre, 70, a grandfather. He and his wife were at a market buying four handmade, colorful wreaths to lay on the graves of loved ones Nov. 1 and 2 -- including two relatives who died as children.

Nov. 1 is set aside to honor children and Nov. 1 is to remember adults who have died. Catholics mark all Saints Day on Nov. 1.

"It's a very Mexican tradition and we hope those who follow also do the same," said de la Torre. He does not see Halloween as completion for Dia de los Muertos.

"Anything in this life that brings families together is important," said de la Torre.
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Catholic exorcists call for 'Holyween' to replace Halloween
October 28, 2014
By By Nick Squires, The Telegraph, UK

ROME – Halloween is a dangerous celebration that can tempt people into Satanism and should be replaced by a rival festival called “Holyween” based on the adoration of Christian saints, Catholic exorcist priests have said.

As families in Britain prepare to hollow out pumpkins and dress up as ghouls and ghosts, the Catholic Church in Italy warned that celebrating Halloween can tempt people into worship of the occult.

Most people might think Halloween was a bit of harmless fun involving fake blood and Frankenstein masks, but they would be gravely mistaken, said Father Aldo Buonaiuto, a Catholic priest who took part in an international conference of exorcists in Rome earlier this week. “Halloween originates from superstitions that exalt malign spirits and demons. Many people see it as a simple carnival, but it is anything but innocent, it is a subterranean world based on the occult,” he told La Nazione, an Italian newspaper.

“Halloween is the anti-chamber towards something much more disturbing. For devotees of the occult, October 31 is the satanic new year. It’s a time for luring new converts. And it’s a time when exorcists have to work harder,” said the priest, a member of the Pope John XXIII Association, a Catholic organisation which combats black magic sects in 25 countries around the world. Related Articles

“With the arrival of Halloween, there is an increase in black magic rites, sacrilege and the adoration of Satan, as well as demonic possessions,” he said. During the period leading up to Halloween each year, the organisation sees a sharp increase in the number of people calling its free phone number to express concerns about Satanism and the occult. “Often they are parents who are worried about the behaviour of their children,” said Father Buonaiuto.

In response to the growing popularity of Halloween, the association has launched a campaign to replace it with a rival, Christian festival called Holyween. The idea is to banish pumpkins, plastic skeletons and other Halloween emblems and instead hang up pictures of saints and martyrs.

Churches should hold Masses, prayer vigils and “adorations” in honour of Christian saints in order to combat the malign influence of Halloween, which was an American tradition that had no place in Italy, the priest said.

More than 300 priests trained to perform exorcisms gathered in Rome at the weekend, receiving a personal message from Pope Francis which endorsed their fight against what he called “the Devil’s works”.

The Pope, who frequently cites the fight against Satan in his sermons, said that exorcists needed to show “the love and welcome of the Church for those possessed by evil.”

The International Association of Exorcists was founded in 1990 by two Catholic priests and was given formal recognition by the Vatican in June.
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