Superintendent Cancels Halloween, Bans Costumes

( – A New Jersey superintendent canceled all Halloween-related events in his school district, banning costumes and refusing to allow any festivities to occur during school hours. While the district insists it hasn’t downright canceled Halloween, it has limited the fun its students will have this year. The decision is part of a growing trend among progressive educators who feel the need to take inclusiveness and social appropriation of costumes to their extremes.

Trend of Inclusiveness

Students of the South Orange & Maplewood School District learned in early October that they wouldn’t be allowed to parade in their costumes at school this year, according to Fox News. The reason, which they learned via a letter from Superintendent Ronald G. Taylor, was that the district’s leader believed the tradition caused too many exclusion issues.

Taylor gave multiple reasons for his decision. The first was financial, with the educational leader questioning whether everyone could afford costumes and noting the stress and financial hardship the Holiday’s demands could cause some families. The superintendent also noted that some students might not be able to participate for religious reasons, while others might take offense to differences in cultural expression or representation. He told students’ families that he decided having school-sponsored events promoting Halloween went against the district’s values regarding access and equity. The district leader added that PTA members and other organizations were free to organize their own events, but they had to take place after school.

Other superintendents have made similar decisions in recent years, citing similar reasons. The issue of cultural appropriation — for example, dressing up as a traditional “Indian,” which they believe promotes stereotypes and outdated tropes — has become of particular concern. Hashtags such as #notyourcostume and #mycultureisnotyourcostume have taken the movements as far as some college campuses.

Cancellation Backlash

Not everyone is ready to step on long-standing traditions in the name of progressive change. New Jersey 101.5 reports that many parents have expressed their outrage over Taylor’s decision and questions whether the superintendent might be “too woke for NJ.” One resident wrote in an op-ed that the decision was just plain “cruel.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) expressed his surprise and dismay over the decision on X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter, sparking an array of spirited replies. One user chastised the governor for “pandering” to the Left and allowing the issue to occur. Another simply complained that “Libs ruin everything.”

Taylor insists that the decision came in response to feedback from school principals who, when surveyed, “overwhelmingly” agreed with ending the traditional festivities.

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