Winnipeg school says ‘no’ costumes on Hallowe’en

The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG–A new Winnipeg school’s decision to stop students from wearing their costumes to class on Hallowe’en has upset some parents, who argue its not fair to deny their kids the fun.
Ecole Sage Creek School principal Marc Poirier said since this is the Kindergarten-Grade 8 school’s first year, staff debated what the costume policy would be.
He noted teachers from schools where kids were allowed to dress up noted some kids wore scary or gory costumes that frightened younger children, or they carried props such as swords.
Other costumes weren’t age-appropriate, he added.
Poirier said some parents who didn’t support Hallowe’en or “trick-or-treating” even kept their children home on Oct. 31 altogether.
“Although the schools did indicate guidelines for appropriate costumes, there were sometimes students who didn’t follow those guidelines,” Poirier explained.
“There was a discussion with those students about their costumes being inappropriate, and sometimes the students and the parents didn’t agree with the view of the school,” he said.
Sage Creek administration decided, in consultation with a student committee, to have four different themed dress-up days during the week where Hallowe’en falls.
On Oct. 31, Poirier said it will be “tie and scarf” day.
Jay Myshkowsky, a parent of two boys at the school, said his eldest son is disappointed since he’d been attending a school where costumes were allowed for the past five years.
“I think there’s things that kids don’t realize have been taken away over the years, [like] Christmas concerts,” he noted.
“There’s so many rules and regulations now around Valentine’s Day in school, how you invite kids’ classmates to birthday parties–it’s all uber-regulated.”
In 2013, parents at Hastings School in Winnipeg also were upset by a decision to cancel Hallowe’en.
Hastings School vice-principal Susan Ciastko said the policy is accepted now, calling it a “non-issue.”
News reports in Canada and the U.S. have noted some schools have experienced problems with students wearing culturally-inappropriate costumes, such as ones that portray stereotypes.
Poirier, however, said that hadn’t been an issue noted by his staff when they discussed their experiences at their former schools.
He said most parents agreed with the decision to replace Hallowe’en costumes with something else, but acknowledges a few didn’t.
“For many, they loved it as a child,” Poirier said.
“And they felt their child also really enjoyed it in their previous school and didn’t think that our reasons were valid.”
He admitted a tie-and-scarf day didn’t sound all that elaborate or related to Hallowe’en, noting some schools choose to dress in black and orange.
But he said it was the student committee’s choice and he wanted to respect their decision.