Costume Controversy

Halloween – the time of year that kids of all ages wait anxiously for to collect sweets, get spooked, and show off their costumes. Unfortunately for some, school has put a damper on their Halloween spirit by restricting the wearing of costumes, or banning them all together. This is becoming more common every year, with schools removing the option to dress up.

It is understandable why masks and weapons aren’t allowed on school grounds, as they can be too frightening or inappropriate for school, but why ban costumes as a whole? The problem is that Halloween gets negatively tied up in different religious views.

Originally called All Saint’s Day, the holiday was created by the Catholic Church and celebrated on November 1st to honor all the saints, but over time it developed into Halloween, which is now seen by many religions as a day where people worship the devil and the dead.

This thought has led many schools to replace dressing up in costumes with Black and Orange day in which students and staff are encouraged to wear black and orange in order to be inclusive of the many religions that are against dressing up for the holiday. For many parents and students, this was a great disappointment and they wanted to change things back to the way they were.

In 2011, one grade 6 student even started a petition to bring back the option to wear costumes for Halloween. Despite having many students sign it along with a few parents, the school principal stuck with her decision to allow only a Black and Orange day. She also decided that because of the many food allergies in schools, health issues could be avoided by having students only bringing in nonedible treats for their classmates such as themed stickers or pencils. This devastated many children.

Also, at an Ontario school in 2013, angry parents had a plan that they would pull their kids out of school early on Halloween day to have their own costume parade right outside of the school. A petition was also created to bring back costumes and it got over 400 signatures, but unfortunately a Black and Orange day remained on the school calendar.

I believe that dressing up for Halloween is completely up to you. If there are people with their own reasons or religious views that prevent them from dressing up, that’s completely fine. No one is forcing them to participate in the holiday. Schools should not be banning costumes, as it takes away a lot of the fun, and should look for other ways to be inclusive of religions.

Schools could become more open to celebrating days such as the Muslims’ Hajj or the Jewish’s Purim. Of course, those who would not want to participate wouldn’t have to, just as people don’t have to celebrate Halloween. Taking away Halloween is not the right way to be inclusive. There’s not much point to a holiday if you take away the fun.