By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief
Perusing the world wide web for something spooky related to talk about in my Lettitor this week, I was surprised at the number of articles discussing Canadian schools opting to ban Halloween costumes, or towns banning kids above a certain age from trick or treating.
Some of the reasons for these restrictions are that some younger kids may find the older students’ costumes scary, or that some kids may not celebrate Halloween and feel left out, or that some kids are simply too old to trick or treat. Who are these people policing kids on how and when they can celebrate Halloween?
For the costume ban, school is supposed to be a fun and creative environment for kids to learn and socialize. Banning costumes and Halloween fun gives kids nothing else to celebrate and prevents learning about the history of the holiday. How can kids learn about an event the majority of our society engages in if they don’t celebrate it at school?
Instead of dressing up in fun or scary costumes, some schools will be doing “orange and black” days, or “tie and scarf days.” These spirit days don’t relate at all to Halloween, nor do they allow or encourage kids to be creative and have fun showing off the costumes they maybe made or were excited to wear. Plus, the proposed days are lame as hell. What’s fun or scary about wearing a tie or the colour orange? Nothing. Halloween is a time in children’s lives to make memories and enjoy the particular type of creative pleasures the holiday offers.
Personally, I trick or treated until I was about 16. Some might say 14 is the cut-off, but since I didn’t want to go to Halloween parties and drink or stay at home alone—trick or treating with my friends or family was the only way I could get my need for spook satisfied.
Have Halloween costumes gone too far? Maybe sometimes. Are some kids too old to trick or treat? Depends who you’re asking. Regardless, I don’t think kids should have to suffer the consequences of no Halloween fun in their school or neighbourhood because some schools find it’s too much trouble to deal with costumes, or some adults don’t want to give candy to some who may be a little older. Costumes are worth the trouble, because they generally bring a lot of joy to those creative types who enjoy participating in the holiday and highly value this outlet.
If kids are really frightened by some costumes, I think they should be encouraged to learn that there is nothing to be afraid of, as it’s only a costume. By putting the kibosh on costumes, kids will never be exposed to them and may never become comfortable with these Halloween festivities or any type of spooky festivities, and that’s more of a long-term problem then being a little scared, isn’t it? There will always be scary things in the world, so having a child confront their fears is the best way to deal with them—sheltering the child will only exasperate the fear further.
If some parents don’t want their kids involved in celebrating Halloween, they should have the choice to opt out, but Halloween festivities and costumes being banned from school is not a viable solution. Parents can explain to their kids why they don’t want them to be involved in the revelry but taking away everyone’s fun because one’s own personal disagreement is cruel and unjustified.
Halloween is a great holiday that we celebrate here in Canada and in the Western world. It allows kids to be creative and have fun dressing up to get candy, or at least be where the Halloween happenings are. Even if you don’t personally celebrate this spooky holiday, it’s fun to be a part of the games and festivities. Don’t tell kids they can’t innocently enjoy themselves and be a part of the communal fun for the comfort of other people.