Elementary School Bans Halloween Costumes
Kids at a small Cambridge elementary school will not be putting on their costumes today because their school has banned dressing up. The kids are encouraged to wear orange and black in a show of respect for the many kids of diverse backgrounds.
According to the Principal at Saginaw Public School, they banned costumes because some kids were going home before the parade, some costumes were violent, and some families don't participate in Halloween at all.
“We want to provide an opportunity that allows for creative ways for all students to be a part of the school community,” she said. “We want every student to walk in the door and know it’s a safe place for everyone.”
For some religious Christians, Jews and Muslims, Halloween and its worship of the dark arts, is not something to be celebrated. Halloween is barely recognized outside of North America at all (despite its Celtic roots) and newcomers to the country find it bizarre. I know this is difficult for those of us who grew up with the holiday to understand, but you can see that if you came from a different country with no tradition of dressing up or receiving candy from strangers the holiday would seem very strange.
(In fact, I had a taxi driver asking me about it after he picked me up from a Halloween party on the weekend. I was dressed as a retro flight attendant, and I could not convince him that dressing up and sending your kids into the streets to ask for candy was a totally normal thing to do.)
Typically, most of the response to the costume ban has been outrage and some parents have sworn to send their kids in costume despite the new rule. The Principal knows that many parents are upset, but feels that costumes make too many kids uncomfortable.
I feel sorry for the kids who are caught in the middle of this debate. It is true that for some kids (like my oldest) dressing up in costume is a very uncomfortable experience. For others, like my middle child, it is a dream come true.
This small school has a total of 22 languages spoken at it, and it must balance both the needs of the diverse community and its role in teaching the social norms in society at large. It's not an easy balance.
What do you think? Did the school go too far in banning costumes? Or are they acknowledging the diversity of the community?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote about loving my square peg of a child (the one who doesn't like costumes.)