Halloween Banned: Is School Too Strict?

I was shocked to learn that my fifth grader's school has banned all forms of celebration for Halloween this year. Unlike years past, there will be no parade and no costumes are allowed at all. In fact, on the letter sent home, it mentioned disciplinary action for those kids who showed up in costume. This is a far cry from my school days. What's going on here?

Question:

Time have changed. Although school policies vary from area to area, there appears to be a general move away from Halloween and toward the themes of fall, harvest, apples and pumpkins. This is also very different from my own experience as an elementary student where we had a school parade with costumes and a whole Halloween carnival.

Public schools in general have been criticized for their lackluster academics. I think that the reduction in holiday celebrations such as Halloween may be a response to this criticism. When the "fun" activities are removed from the schedule, more time can then be spent on the academic subjects.

There are also religious reasons for the decrease in holiday celebrations. Some people do not observe Halloween due to their beliefs. By removing Halloween celebrations from classrooms, schools do not offend those individuals.

Certainly there are other activities that can replace the traditional Halloween celebration. A school carnival or harvest festival can bring people together for fun, food and games. Some primary classrooms still take field trips to a pumpkin patch. A visit to an apple grower can also be a way to recognize the coming of fall.

Since your daughter's school has made a rule about costumes and Halloween celebrations in general, that rule will need to be observed. However, if you feel strongly that this rule is too rigid or inappropriate, you should voice your feelings at a PTA meeting or to the school's administration. Parental input is very important to the success of any school.

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