PORT COLBORNE, Ont. -- There won’t be any children masquerading as ghouls, goblins, princesses or super heroes at McKay Public School on Halloween.
Instead of dressing in costumes at the Port Colborne elementary school, students are asked to wear orange and black clothing in favour of “a more inclusive Spirit Day,” a note attached to the monthly calendar said.
The news came as a surprise to a number of parents in the school community because costumes have been allowed for years.
“It’s frustrating because the Halloween dance for Grade 7 and 8 is cancelled, too,” said April Smith, whose daughter attends the school.
“My daughter was looking forward to it. She is finally of age and it’s sad because the school said nope, sorry, they aren’t having it.”
Smith is organizing a costume parade outside the school on Halloween. She hopes other parents will agree to pull their children out of school early in the afternoon for the event.
“We’re going to do it right in front of the school, right where they’re supposed to be. I’m hoping for more than half of the school. Let’s give our kids back their memories.”
More than 25 parents have agreed to take their children out of school early on Oct. 31 to participate in the costume parade, said Brittany Beney, a parent who is helping to organize the parade.
The black-and-orange spirit day approach to Halloween is not unique to McKay. Students in grades 4 and up at Canadian Martyrs School in St. Catharines will not be allowed to wear costumes this year, and a number of other schools across both major Niagara public school boards have variations of spirit day for Halloween.
The cancelling of Halloween at schools has become a more common occurrence in Ontario over the last few years as more schools forbid costumes in favour of coloured clothing.
Staff at McKay Public School directed questions to the District School Board of Niagara.
DSBN spokesman Brett Sweeney said it’s up to school principals to decide whether to allow students to wear costumes.
McKay principal Rhonda Grenier was not available to comment Friday.
McKay’s 420 students will still participate in Halloween-themed educational activities including mask making, reading stories, and measuring the circumference of a pumpkin, Sweeney said.
“It will still be a fun, educational experience for students. The only difference is costumes will be orange and black.”
-- with files from QMI Agency Niagara
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