The Growing Ban on Halloween in Schools

HalloweenIn recent years, Halloween celebrations in schools have seen a decline with many schools opting to have teacher workdays in lieu of “dealing” with the holiday. There are 2 main reasons as to why so many schools are choosing to forego hosting Halloween celebrations: the fear that the festivities will make some students and staff feel alienated due to various personal or cultural and religious reasons. 

Financial Hardships
The personal reasons usually stem from financial hardships with some families not being able to afford costumes for their children in order for them to dress up for school parties. To combat this, some schools provide their students with opportunities to create costumes in the classroom by making masks and other accessories out of paper products. Not only does this make children feel included, but it also gets them creating and working from their imagination to come up with creative ideas for costumes. 

Cultural and Religious Sensitivity
On the other side, you may have those that feel alienated due to cultural differences or for religious reasons. In areas where there are large groups of families who do not celebrate Halloween, schools are choosing to put an educational spin on things and talk about the holiday’s historical roots instead of it’s mythological ones. Also, the celebrations are typically not held during class time. However, while these events are canceled during school hours some of the schools still host the events after hours so that, those who want to participate can, and those who don’t, won’t have to feel uncomfortable. The alternative Fall events at schools include:

  • Harvest-themed events
  • Trunk-or-treat events 
  • Community parades

What do you think? 
With the Halloween divide continuing to grow each year, some schools are opting to dodge the issue altogether by not having class at all, making October 31st each year a Teacher Workday. How does your school handle the issue of Halloween celebrations? If your school does not celebrate Halloween in the traditional manner, what is the main reason (cultural or religious sensitivity, financial awareness, a distraction from learning, or some other reason)? Has your school implemented any creative alternative to traditional Halloween celebrations?