Some schools are canceling Halloween celebrations

"While we recognize that Halloween is a fun tradition for many, it is not a holiday that is celebrated by everyone... and we want to honor that."

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/ Source: TODAY
By Terri Peters

Some schools in Evanston, Illinois, a northern Chicago suburb, are doing away with in-school Halloween celebrations in an effort to be more "inclusive."

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 posted a message to parents online, saying because of their desire to be equitable and inclusive to all families, Halloween celebrations in many of their schools are canceled this year.

"While we recognize that Halloween is a fun tradition for many, it is not a holiday that is celebrated by everyone for various reasons and we want to honor that," the message reads. "We are also aware of the range of inequities that are embedded in Halloween celebrations that take place as part of the school day and the unintended negative impact that it can have on students, families, and staff. As a result, we support our schools that are moving away from Halloween celebrations that include costumes and similar traditions."

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Some parents are not happy with the decision.

"I think with Halloween, at least in modern times, it's not necessarily a religious holiday so I don't see it favoring one group or another," Jeanne Barclay, whose child attends a District 65 school, told a Chicago NBC news affiliate.

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Michelle Cooney, principal of Lincoln Elementary School, told the Chicago Tribune that her school's decision to cancel Halloween events was all about making every child feel included and welcomed.

"Our goal at Lincoln is to provide space and opportunities for all students to be part of the community — not to create an environment that may feel exclusive or unwelcoming to any child," Cooney said in an emailed statement.

The Tribune reports that, in lieu of a Halloween party, the students at Lincoln will have a "fall celebration" in November.

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