The day came from the Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day- the beginning of three days of remembering the dead (perhaps why the ghost costume is so popular). Carved pumpkins, bobbing for apples and the telling of scary stories are often Halloween activities—as well as pranks…
I have recently been reminded by The Reverend Daniel R. Heischman, Executive Director of the National Association of Episcopal schools, that in recent years the wearing of offensive costumes has produced tension on some campuses and in some neighborhoods; some costumes would seem demeaning to particular groups or individuals—likely unintentionally, but hurtful to some. With the current political climate, we remind ourselves to take extra care when choosing costumes or activities. Also, the current “fad” of clown appearances adds to the tension at this time of costumes. We are reminded, too, that some religious groups are uncomfortable with the current celebrations of a religious holiday.
At Doane Stuart we do not allow costumes to be worn at school; it is for families to decide their child’s level of participation in this ritual. That said, our Lower School children do celebrate the Fall Harvest with the making of simple paper masks, scooping of pumpkins and eating apple doughnuts and cider. The celebration is low key and designed to have fun with no fear or confusion.
Personally, the best part of Halloween in my past was collecting coins for UNICEF in cute cardboard boxes. I will match any moneys collected by Doane Stuart students and we’ll send funds to a charity of their choosing. Game on, kids!