No Halloween at School this Year

I received a message from a fellow school parent this morning. Apparently Halloween dress-up has been cancelled. She was quite upset about this, because Halloween is her favorite holiday and she wants it to be the same experience for her children. She asked the school office about it and was told "More kids don't dress up, than do..." so her perception was that certain populations in the school were dictating the abolishment of the Halloween tradition. I told her I would write to the school principal to find out if this was the case. Halloween falls on a Saturday and apparently there is no school on the 30th (Friday) so the 29th was to be a dress in orange and black day. I have worked in schools so I figured there was more to it. This is the official response from the principal:

Since Halloween does not happen until Saturday, October 31 and there is no school for students on Friday, October 30 a decision was made by staff to have an orange/black theme day on Thursday, October 29th. Here is our rationale:
* minimize the disruption to learning and teaching
* meet the needs of a very diverse population
* minimize the cost to parents
* health and safety

Halloween is a tradition that can be maintained and promoted by families since the activity, dressing up and trick or treating, associated with it needs to be within the parent control.

I figured there was more to it than my friend was told and I think the front office should be careful about how they respond as their information was not really the official reason. I also wrote back to the Principal to indicate that the school might want to get something out to parents post-haste as all that is flying around out there is rumour and indignation. I also suggested she reassure people that when Halloween falls on a weekday that the custom of dress up will be re-instated.

People are emotionally attached to their traditions. You cannot just take them away. Already the Christmas Concert is a "Winter Concert" with no religious songs and this bothers some people. I am okay with that. I understand that with a school whose population is 1/4 Muslim, you cannot expect to sing religious songs (but I do like a good Silent Night or Oh Holy Night). Halloween, however, is not a religious festival but is more a cultural festival. It's fun and does not dictate doctrine or belief. Cancelling it will create a bigger rift between different populations in the school, so hopefully it is reinstated in 2011 when it next falls on a weekday. Traditions are important to people and when you monkey around with them, you create animosity. Not a good thing.


Unknown said…
Hi Kristen,

Everything gets so complicated these days doesn't it? I thought this video would make you laugh:

(Have we lost sight of the true meaning of Halloween?)
Unknown said…
Oops, I don't think my link worked. Go to and search Halloween under videos. I promise you will laugh.
Finster said…
Ha ha ha!

Very funny Becky!

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