(Caution: this post may be controversial. It’s all IMHO!)
“Halloween should be celebrated at home, not school. ”That was the conclusion reached by the school principal and PTA co-presidents of one school in Maplewood, NJ, part of the district where I taught for so many years. Further, the letter home to parents stated “the school’s diversity prompted the decision. One of the strengths of the school is that we are such a diverse community, with many cultures represented , and that we truly value each one.”
How are you valuing each one if you tell one group they have to give up a time-honored tradition because another group doesn’t “believe in it.” And what’s to “believe” about Halloween anyway? Of course it originated as far back as the Celts in a desire to keep away the evil spirits that were said to roam at that time of year. But is that why any kid gets excited about Halloween today? Do we all turn into Wiccans when we plan a celebration of the day?
Despite the fact that Halloween in school, with its costumes and sweets, the fever-pitch of the kids, frequently gave me a headache, this decision irritates me. How are you celebrating diversity if you don’t allow it? Maybe next they will want to require school uniforms since not everyone can afford designer clothes. Or will they say a teacher can’t ask kids to tell about their summer vacation because not everyone went to camp or to some beach resort?
Do I have some concerns about Halloween costumes? Definitely, yes. I hope no kid is outfitted as an assassin . I’d just as soon no guns or knives were allowed. I wish girls didn’t dress in provocative costumes. But kids are so excited about celebrating Halloween in school, I’m sad to think one more event falls prey to the desire not to exclude or offend anyone.
Dorothy C. Judd 2015
Next post: Monday, November 2nd