MAPLEWOOD, N.J. — Students and staff at Seth Boyden Elementary School in Maplewood, New Jersey will not recognize Halloween this year due to cultural diversity.
A spokesperson for the Maplewood-South Orange School District said that last year, one-fifth of students at the school did not participate.
A letter sent home last week to parents from the school’s principal and parent-teacher association leaders stated that “in-school celebrations of Halloween have made many of our students feel left out.”
Some students exiting the school on Tuesday said they were sad they wouldn’t be able to wear their costumes to school.
“I know the kids are disappointed because it’s tradition,” said one mom, whose two daughters attend the school, “You know we all grew up on that, as a kid it was expected, the parade. But, I mean I guess given the events of what’s been going on in the world, I guess thats what they’re basing it on.”
“Because of my religious belief I don’t believe in Halloween,” said another parent, Lynette Thomas, “I don’t like it. So I don’t like my daughter to do it.”
Thomas said she and many other parents at the school are Pentacostal Christians. Although most may think of Halloween as a non-secular holiday, it is traditionally rooted in Catholicism.
Still, Thomas says she doesn’t think her beliefs should stop the whole school from celebrating.
“To each his own,” she said, adding that she didn’t agree with the school’s decision to not observe the holiday.
A district spokesperson said that other fall activities will be celebrated instead.