Elementary School Cancels Halloween For Not Being Inclusive

While everyone has their own favorite season and holiday, there's something undeniable about the appeal of Halloween in the fall. Children and adults alike celebrate the festivities with carved pumpkins, elaborate costumes, and way too much candy. But apparently, one group of schools decided to cancel the holiday in order to be more inclusive toward people who don't happen to celebrate Halloween and that has made some parents upset.

A new report from the Chicago Times indicates that Lincoln Elementary School in Evanston, Illinois, has decided to cancel all Halloween related events this year. In a statement to the paper, Lincoln principal Michelle Cooley explained the reasoning why.

"As part of our school and district-wide commitment to equity, we are focused on building community and creating inclusive, welcoming environments for all," said Cooney. "While we recognize that Halloween is a fun tradition for many families, it is not a holiday that is celebrated by all members of our school community and for various reasons. There are also inequities in how we have traditionally observed the holiday as part of our school day. Our goal at Lincoln is to provide space and opportunities for all students to be part of the community — not to create an environment that may feel exclusive or unwelcoming to any child."

But parent Nejra Bajric disagreed with the school's choice, explaining that the attempt to make the environment more inclusive for all students is backfiring by punishing everyone else.

“They’re trying so hard to make everything inclusive that they’re excluding a lot of students,” she said. “They’re excluding those kids from having a Halloween, or low-income kids whose families work crazy hours.”

Another parent named Mark Gruber added that the school's decision was made without input from parents or students.

"If you want to be inclusive, have a conversation and get input from all members of the community," Gruber said. "It’s very hard in public school, but it was just decided and that’s why people are so upset — it was just decided. Bring out ideas and discussion about how can we move forward that tries to meet as many needs as possible, not change (our behaviors and traditions) for the views of a few people. That’s not the way society works."

The school will instead have a party celebrating the arrival of Fall on Friday, November 1st, but some parents aren't satisfied.

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"To take away (Halloween) in the name of a few people who don’t celebrate, this is completely wrong," said Gruber.

Cover photo by Joe Raedle for Getty Images.