For some kids, wearing a Halloween costume to school offers a fun break in the routine. If your little one is wearing a costume in class this year, it may be a good idea to double-check the school's guidelines for dressing up. As the common costumes banned from schools prove, not all administrators want to see classrooms filled with goblins and ghouls. For the most part, kids still have to follow some rules in the classroom, even when it comes to a celebration as unruly as Halloween.
Because most districts let individual schools decide whether to allow Halloween costumes on a case-by-case basis, it's difficult to tell whether the costumes bans are widespread. But given the prevalence of reports from the last ten years or so, costumes are carefully scrutinized at many schools. For the most part, super-scary or potentially offensive costumes are out.
That said, it's important to remember that these costume bans are only in effect for school hours. "Everyone has the opportunity to dress up outside of school, so they need to make sure everything is in order here," said art teacher Rocky Smith of Oregon City High School. If your third grader wants to dress as Jason Voorhees on his own time for Halloween, that's beyond the school's reach.
1. Horror Characters
Super-scary monsters are not welcome at some schools. For instance, students at Riverside Drive Elementary School were not permitted to wear costumes depicting horror characters, as noted in the New York Times. I'm guessing this includes famous characters from horror movies such as Freddy Krueger or Pinhead, too.
2. Scary Clowns
Plenty of schools have also given scary clown costumes the boot. Following the release of menacing messages from a clown persona on Instagram, a Connecticut school district banned clown costumes, according to Global News. In addition, the Los Angeles Unified School District campuses banned all clown costumes as well, as noted on Indie Wire. It looks like everyone still needs some time to process the latest IT movie.
3. Distracting Costumes
Leave the cool light-up costumes for trick-or-treating. Distracting costumes are banned from Oregon City High School, according to its official website. Anything too big or flashy is out.
4. Racially Or Ethnically Based Costumes
Schools are also cracking down on the practice of wearing someone else's culture as a costume. In fact, an elementary school in California banned students from wearing costumes that could be considered cultural appropriation. This included Native American costumes.
Even Wolverine or Spider-Man costumes might not make the cut in some classrooms. Any superhero costumes were banned from one school, according to a Reddit post. Whether the costumes were deemed too scary for kids, or if their popularity somehow caused problems, was not addressed.
6. Symbols Of Terror
In addition to explicitly mentioned clown costumes, any costumes deemed "symbols of terror" were also banned from a New Haven School District, according to Global News.
7. All Costumes
Some schools have avoided the issue entirely by banning all costumes outright. School officials "heard appreciation and support from many families last year when we canceled the Costume Parade because they finally felt their religious and/or cultural beliefs were welcome and being respected," said Principal Monique Singleton of Scholls Heights Elementary in Fox 12 Oregon. "Some shared that in prior years they had opted to keep their child home rather than their child be teased or made to feel uncomfortable for having to choose between their family's beliefs and the school's activities during the school day." Although Halloween costumes at school can turn into a sticky situation for teachers and administrators, kids can look forward to wearing any costume of their choosing outside school hours.