Can we talk about Halloween?
I'm just going to be honest here...October is tough for us parents of school-aged kids who don’t celebrate Halloween.
Families might not celebrate Halloween for a multitude of reasons. Some families may not celebrate due to religious objections; others have a different cultural celebration during this time. A heavy push for Halloween may alienate some children and families, or create a very awkward environment for kids who don’t know how to express their discomfort.
I didn’t realize the intensity of Halloween until I started working in elementary schools. In my area, many schools have half-days that include a costume parade. The hours that are spent in school are typically filled with Halloween parties. If October 31st were the only day with Halloween themes, that wouldn’t be so bad--it would be easy to just pull my kid (or myself) out of school for one day. But I find that October 1st brings with it a lot of witches, bats, and ghosts in decor and assignments. It's much harder to opt out when the themes last for weeks. Let me make myself very clear: I have no issue with other families having Halloween fun. Do the trick or treating! Dress up! You do you, booboo! I just ask for the same respect that my family doesn't partake, and an option to not participate.
I do understand that seasonal & holiday themes are awesome ways to engage kids and have fun. Autumn and harvests can be great alternatives to Halloween, with lots of leaves, gourds, pumpkins (sans the scary faces), hay and apples. Or why not take the opportunity to grow our cultural awareness and try something new? Stepping outside of our norms offers an opportunity for all kids to learn and explore the ways others celebrate around the world.
Here is a list of some alternative celebrations in October:
Dia de los Muertos
National Hispanic Heritage Month
Indigenous Peoples Day
Diwali (some years)
Breast Cancer Awareness Month (there are even pink pumpkin crafts!)
What do you think? Can you imagine an October in school without Halloween?