Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Thoughts

I have heard that some schools are not allowing costumes on Halloween, and instead are doing a black and orange spirit day, to try to be more inclusive.

I'm not sure about this.  On one hand, I'm of the "You moved to Canada by choice, you need to join with us, not demand we change to suit you"; on the other hand, I do want to be inclusive and mindful of the unique differences that make up our country.

Yesterday was Halloween, and our school does allow costumes (no masks, no weapons, etc).  It was our first indoor lunch recess, and the kids were all on the carpet watching Spongebob Square Pants Halloween videos.  One by one, they were called off to get their costume on.  At the end, there was one boy without a costume.  There is about 16-18 kids in the class.

This boy is in JK, and his brother is in SK, in the other classroom.  I know the family is Muslim, and the mother wears a full hijab (head, most of face covered, and body covered in dark robe).  The boys speak with an accent and are often hard to understand.  The boy asked me if there would be Halloween tomorrow again.  He looked sad when I said no.  Once all the kids were in their costumes, he started to cry.  Luckily, the teacher had returned, and had a few extra costumes (apparently it also happened the day before in the other classroom).  He picked one out and was happy.  I'm not sure if his brother had a costume.

Would a "black and orange day" made a difference?  Last week was "Pajama Day" and these boys did not wear their pajamas, so I'm inclined to believe they wouldn't have worn black and orange.  He was one child, out of 18.  Should those other 18 (many who are also first or second generation Canadians), miss out on a North American tradition because of 1 child out of 18?  Yes, some schools have higher numbers than this (and in the French Immersion program at this school--which starts in grade 1--there are a LOT of minority children), but many schools are still pretty much mixed, or around this number.  Even at a school where, say, 10 of the 18 are Muslim, or Hindu, etc, is it necessary to tailor everything to those 10?  Didn't they come here to become Canadian, to leave their problems in their old country?  I can see hanging on to your cultural differences that are a strong part of your heritage/religion, but what about adding in the new traditions of your new country?  This one child felt very left out by not participating in the sacred Canadian tradition of  dual weather costumer selection (inside the school and the crazy weather in the evening).  It could have easily been avoided, and he would have come home feeling even more Canadian. 

Would a "black and orange day" make him feel Canadian?  I don't think so.

1 comment:

Cindy/KS said...

You may not see this, since I know I am terribly far behind on my reading. But growing up I was not allowed to participate in school Halloween dress-up after about the age of 7-8 years old because of religious reasons. My thought on this isn't that everyone else should give up their plans/traditions, but that the parents of this boy might be offended by the fact that he was given a costume to wear even. This might not be a cultural thing, it might be a religious thing. I don't know since I don't know that much about their religion. But I was raised United Pentecostal and we had a family that was Jehovah's Witness and neither of us were allowed to participate. I didn't have to go into the hallway like the other kid did, I just couldn't dress up, but was allowed to participate otherwise. If I were in this situation, I might have to either make a phone call to the parents before offering a costume or not offer one just to err on the side of caution. Because I know I would have been in trouble for accepting a costume, if I had been offered one, when I got home.

I did raise my kids to celebrate Halloween, but as I was reading on another blog earlier - not the darker aspects that some do.