An elementary school in Paris, Ont., has banned Halloween costumes and the annual parade—and parents are not happy.
According to a letter sent home with students last week, teachers at North Ward School claimed they found it difficult to help the kids with their costumes and struggled to monitor the appropriateness of each costume. Instead, the school would kick off a new annual tradition where students wear orange and black for Halloween instead of costumes. The principal of North Ward added that, in previous years, staff had noticed some kids dealing with anxiety over spooky costumes.
A group of parents started a petition to have the annual costume parade reinstated. They've suggested a series of compromises to take the burden off teachers.
The cries of “political correctness” that surround bans like these are unsurprising and tiresome. Perhaps there were some concerns about kids who do not celebrate Halloween, or maybe the school board wanted to make everyone feel included. But I don’t know since none of that information was included in the letter sent home with students. The superintendent only said, cryptically: “We have to be receptive to people who have values that are different than our own.”
I'm not sure I think this costume ban is a bad idea. At my 11-year-old son's school, only the kids in grades three and younger are allowed to wear costumes—the rest of the students simply wear orange and black. And you know what? They still enjoy Halloween. And while I do love an adorable Halloween costume parade, I’m OK without one, too.
Some parents have taken the banning of costumes to the extreme. Aimee Ogden of Mommyish wrote a post about a costume ban at a Connecticut school where staff have started receiving death threats over the cancelled costume parade. She wrote:
I don’t care how cute your kid would have been in the hand-sewn costume you put 70 hours into. I don’t care how much you spent on that Pottery Barn costume. And I really, really don’t care if you perceive it as a condemnation of your way of life that teachers and principals would rather spend a school day actually teaching instead of telling Colton to stop hitting Madalyn with the tail of his lion costume and telling Lindzy and Kaitalynn not to fence with their fairy wands. As it turns out, cancelling Halloween parades is not about you and your persecution complex.
Back in the day, Halloween used to be an after-school activity. It's not a national holiday, and it's not within a child’s right to wear a costume from sun-up to sundown. So long as kids are still enjoying Halloween festivities, does it really matter if they're wearing an elaborate costume or a simple black and orange outfit?
Emma Waverman is a writer, blogger and mom to three kids. She has many opinions, some of them are fit to print. Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman.