More adults dressing up for Halloween

Experts say the traditions that gave rise to Halloween – the Celtic Samhain festival and the British All Hallows Eve – were for adults, not children, reported Canadian Press Oct. 27. “The notion that Halloween is simply for kids is a misconception based on the centrality of trick-or-treating in the 1950s, when there was an attempt to take the mischief out of Halloween and infantilize it,” said Nick Rogers, a history professor with York’s Faculty of Arts and author of Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. He says the Greenwich Village parade was among the first to re-ignite adult interest in the 1970s. Today, he estimates that two-thirds of adults celebrate Halloween. Rogers’ comments were picked up by the Associated Press in the US, leading to wide coverage in American media, from the Anchorage Daily News to the New Orleans Times-Picayune plus all the major news Web sites, including, MSNBC and CBS News.

Car perks

GM Canada is offering the brightest business minds at York University, the University of Toronto and Ryerson University some help, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 28 in College Daze, a bi-weekly round-up of university news. For the first time in Canada the carmaker has turned university classes into functioning marketing companies through EdVenture Partners. York, for instance, has a budget of $2,500 to create an entire marketing campaign for the new Pontiac Vibe, which has students buzzing, wrote the columnist. “We have the chance to do a lot of theory,” Yasna Beheshti, a fourth-year student at York’s Schulich School of Business, says of her business degree, “but we don’t get a chance to put it into practice.” Students handle marketing research, public relations, budgeting and strategy, among other things, and GM employees monitor and approve all ideas along the way. Beheshti is head of the public relations team, and true to her profession, finds the project a win-win. “Because the target market for Pontiac Vibe is Generation Y – which is the student – we can provide them with feedback with the kinds of things we are looking for,” says Beheshti. Eventually the teams will present their research and strategies to GM Canada.

Putting terrorism in perspective

In his Oct. 28 column, the Toronto Star’s Thomas Walkom pleaded for keeping the threat of terrorism in perspective and the need for a balanced approach. “Nowhere has this been more evident than in the so-called Project Thread fiasco,” he wrote, where Canada jailed 22 Pakistanis and one Indian immigrant and accused them of aiding Al Qaeda terrorism. It turns out none are a security threat, wrote Walkom, though some are guilty of immigration violations. He said this week, two or three Pakistani nationals will be deported, according to York political science PhD student Govind Rao of Project Threadbare, a group centred at York University that sprang up to support the detainees.

On air

  • Dr. Joel Lexchin, health policy and management professor with York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, commented on states in the US lobbying to buy lower-priced Canadian drugs, on CBC TV’s “The National” Oct. 27.
  • Fatima Jackson, a second-year student in York’s Faculty of Arts, judged the inaugural Soul Slam competition at Cathedral Night Club last week, according to CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” Oct. 27.