Pro/Con: Should Halloween celebrations be canceled at ELPS?
November 18, 2021
Pro: Almost a crime
My first ever Halloween celebration was in Kindergarten. Throughout the day, I watched as kids who I had considered my ‘bestest friends’ whispered about me. Whispered about how I wasn’t wearing a costume, about how weird it was.
When parents came that day to prepare their children for the Halloween parade, they whispered to their parents about how I was the only girl in the entire class who wasn’t dressed up. Some parents looked at me in pity, some looked at me just as strangely as their children had. None of them made an effort towards telling their kid that they were being rude, or to lower their tone.
I went home early that day.
Right before the parade.
As I sat there waiting for my mother, I wondered what could’ve possibly made the other kids want to exclude me. Sure, I hadn’t worn a costume that day, but I never did on other days, either. Why did they exclude me this time? I was confused, upset and most of all left out of one of the biggest class celebrations that year.
When I got in the car, I remember telling her how I thought they were weird for wearing costumes.
So when the district announced an end to Halloween celebrations for elementary schools, I was relieved for myself and my two sisters, who are three and six.
For people like myself and others who don’t celebrate such holidays, it seems that when the time comes around there is simply nothing to enjoy. When you don’t understand the point behind an annual celebration, or you don’t have the means to enjoy said holiday, what can you enjoy?
After that year, I never went to another Halloween celebration at school again. Sometimes I would get picked up early from school, right before the parade. Usually
though, I would find myself staying at home all day. The most I ever heard about Halloween afterwards was how trick or treating went for other students.
I can go on and on about how the celebrations of Halloween and Valentine’s day exclude more individuals than myself . More specifically, other Muslim students. The holi- day directly contradicts my religion. As Muslims, we cannot eat anything containing pork. Pork, including gelatin and a food coloring called yellow #5 that also contains pork. Many candies include gelatin or this coloring, making it almost impossible to eat most of what is passed out.
It seems as if it’s almost a crime to not take a part in the holidays, especially to the kids who don’t celebrate them.
At the end of the day, the decision has been made. I believe that this decision was made for a reason. A reason on the behalf of me and other kids. A reason that I hope one day, will contribute to kids not feeling left out at East Lansing.
Con: Finding something to celebrate
My memories of the elementary Halloween parties as a child are filled with crisp air, laughing with my friends and the excitement of getting to dress up for school. I always loved the costume parades in my elementary school, because they allowed me to express myself and what I like.
The Halloween celebrations were a break from the tiring days of school, and a glimpse of light in the dreary days of fall, and that experience is one that any young child deserves.
Don’t get me wrong, I see where the district is coming from in their attempt to make all kids feel included by not celebrating Halloween. Not everyone finds Halloween to be a joyous and exciting holiday, and the children whose families don’t celebrate Halloween feel excluded each year. Their voices deserve to be heard.
However, the district cannot fairly serve the majority of children by only fulfilling the needs of those few. Just because a few students don’t celebrate Halloween, should we take it away from everyone?
The district clearly put very little effort into resolving the issue, because instead of just robbing the children of fun, they could have simply shifted the festivities to be more inclusive. Instead of having Halloween parties, there could be fall parties. Costumes and candy could be more regulated to fit parent’s concerns and to make kids feel left out.
It shouldn’t be all or nothing. Especially in a time when these children have spent the past 18 months having virtually all fun events taken away from them due to COVID-19.
Additionally, it is unfair and unrealistic for the school district to expect students to go to school on Oct. 31 and treat it as a normal day. The school said that having class celebrations takes away from learning time, but these are children; they grow more from having fun and building core memories than they will from practicing their multiplication tables. They’ll have plenty of time to do that any other day, and let’s face it, even if there is no Halloween party in the classroom, they still won’t be able to focus because they are looking forward to the celebrations after school.
The elementary school Valentine’s Day parties are another aspect of school that children look forward to each year, and with Valentine’s Day still months away, the district has a chance to change their minds about that pause. If parents are concerned about the celebration being too focused on “love,” then schools can shift the focus to being more about friendship, because that is always something to celebrate.