Schools across the country are cancelling Halloween celebrations.

There are many reasons cited for the cancellations.

Is cancelling school Halloween parties in the best interest of the students?

Why cancel Halloween?

There's no shortage of excuses.



  • Sugary treats are bad for kids.
  • Costumes can cause safety issues.
  • Candy with peanuts creates concern for students with allergies. 
  • It's too religious. (really?)
  • Parties are too time-consuming.


In 2012, Lafayette Elementary School in Seattle cancelled their costume party.

...since Halloween falls this year on a half day of school, we will not allow costumes. It takes students a while to change into their costumes, and students are distracted taking away from the already limited instructional time.

Lafayette Elementary School replaced their costume party with a "Harvest Party".

Hayes Elementary School in San Jose is cancelling Halloween activities this year. School officials have cited time constraints and financial pressure on families.

Even though the actual parade might take an hour, it's a whole day that's lost.


Inglewood Elementary School in Pennsylvania cited religious reasons.

Some holidays observed in the community that are considered by many to be secular (ex. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Valentine's Day) are viewed by others as having religious overtones. The district must always be mindful of the sensitivity of all the members of the community with regard to holidays and celebrations of a religious, cultural or secular nature. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that school districts may not endorse, prefer, favor, promote or advance any religious beliefs...

Will schools soon be open on Sundays to avoid offending some because Sunday is a day with "religious overtones"?

Dedicating school hours to educating our children is and should be a primary concern for teachers, parents, and administrators.

Time should be made for fun, for kids to be kids, but the focus should always remain on education.

I am 100% fine with schools continuing to celebrate Halloween during school hours.  I wish more days were added to the school year to allow for more fun, more parties, and more time to educate.


Ealy and Shoreline Elementary Schools in Whitehall, Michigan provide an excellent example of how to give students another opportunity to learn, have fun, and celebrate Halloween without giving up any school time. reports:

Little ones in Whitehall, Mich., will be trading traditional Halloween activities for a literacy program called Trick-or-TReading come Oct. 29, a double-pronged attempt to do away with sugary distractions and boost academics.

Students are invited to come to the after-school event dressed up to listen to costume-clad teachers read Halloween stories at both Ealy and Shoreline elementary schools, said Mellissa Endsley Beda, who is organizing the event and teaches 3rd grade at Ealy Elementary. They'll also have an opportunity to trick-or-treat for school-related items like pencils, erasers, bookmarks, and stickers.

Parents won't be left out: They'll be soliciting "tricks" for reading to their children at home, Beda said.

The loss of Halloween activities at some schools is not the end of the world, but some of the reasons behind the cancellations are questionable.

Why cancel Halloween due to time constraints but still allow other holiday celebrations and assemblies during school hours?  Good question.

At least there's another option.  Halloween celebrations after school may be the best choice for some school districts.

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