Who Killed Hallowe’en?

I’ve got a wild hair today.

I don’t know who or what originally decided that Hallowe’en shouldn’t be observed as anything other than Orange and Black Day, but now it has a new name: Character Day.

What in the name of Jack Skellington is a Character Day, and why has it supplanted Hallowe’en in the elementary school system?

I get the concept of inclusion; I’ve got kids, and kids with disabilities at that. And respect for other cultures. Because I am sure it is those two reasons plus a whole bunch more that led to the dismantling of Hallowe’en during the school day as previous generations of children knew it.

In this young grandma’s opinion, there are five days on the Gregorian calendar that shouldn’t be tampered with: Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, Christmas, Easter, and Valentine’s Day.

There is nothing more adorable to me than parades of kindergarteners every year wearing costumes and making pumpkin and ghost-inspired crafts. Allergies and food sensitivities took away the treats portion, which really isn’t that big of a deal.

The twins were coming to the end of their elementary school days when Orange and Black Day was a thing. My daughter wasn’t phased by it but her twin brother would wear a costume every day of his life if he could. Even though he is now 13 years old, I have to be especially watchful of him in the dollar stores because he’s bent on sneaking packs of clown makeup in with my regular purchases.

Dressing up is normal. It is a form of self-expression that shouldn’t be limited to ComicCons. Hallowe’en and trick or treating is tradition. Do away with bobbing for apples if you must, because God knows I was never a fan of getting my face wet when I was a kid, but the kids should have their costume day at school.

Hallowe’en is on a Monday this year. I’m sure I’m going to get the stink eye from any teacher reading this, but we all need to be realistic. The kids are going to wake up hyper and spun from the prospect of trick or treating later on that day. So make it a fun day, and slip in some age-appropriate history lessons while you’re at it. Create art. Hand out math sheets that have the kids counting pumpkins and ghosts and black cats instead of hard numbers.

Character Day in its truest sense should be happening every day. It builds character to allow kids the freedom to dress up and glean knowledge in ways that aren’t strictly tied to book learning.

Let them have their day. I look forward to the photos on Facebook and Instagram.


Halloween Parade-1.jpg
Photo by Larry Wong/Edmonton Journal/Postmedia News

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