Monday, October 16, 1995
Section: Local
Page: 1B

By: By LORI ARATANI, Mercury News Staff Writer

The phones in the Los Altos School District's tiny office have been ringing off the hook - ever since word got out about a plan to ban school-time Halloween celebrations.

''We were on the phone all day (Thursday),'' the day that news reports broke about the proposed ban, said Lenore Cambouris, administrative assistant to the superintendent. ''People are curious and some are . . . very opinionated.''

The response has been so overwhelming that trustees have moved tonight's meeting, where the ban will be discussed, from the classroom they usually use to the more spacious multipurpose room of Blach School. District officials say they expect a crowd.

Parent Patrick Ferrell, whose two children already have their Power Ranger and Arabian princess costumes, said he'll be there.

''The (ban) just seems ludicrous,'' he said, adding that he and other parents plan to throw a Halloween party no matter what the outcome of the trustees' vote.

Pastor Craig Tomlin of the Community Church of Santa Clara Valley in Los Altos, who has researched the history of Halloween, said he was surprised the ban caused such an uproar. Tomlin said he believes the tradition goes against Christian beliefs.

''It's a holiday that for whatever reason brings out the worst in human beings,'' he said.

Cambouris said the district has received calls from as a far away as New York. A story about the ban was broadcast on National Public Radio and appeared headed for the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.

Earlier this month, trustees temporarily banned school-time Halloween activities because some parents felt they glorified Satan and the occult. Parties could still be held, they said, but only after school. Tonight's meeting is to decide whether to make the ban permanent.

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