School bans boys Hobbit Halloween costume banned
A Red Deer parent is disappointed that her young son is banned from wearing his Hobbit costume to school on Halloween.
Toni-Lee Johnstone learned this week that her son Bodhi, five, and the rest of the student body at G.H. Dawe Community School will not take part in what she calls a valuable childhood experience.
Expressing her disappointment, Johnstone wrote a letter to the school questioning the long-standing stance on prohibiting Halloween costumes. The school has been banning costumes for more than 15 years.
“There’s a variety of concerns,” said Bruce Buruma, the director of community relations for Red Deer Public Schools. “There’s religious and cultural aspects that go to it. There’s definitely the soci-ecomomic factors that come into play. Not all kids can afford (costumes). It’s tough enough getting some kids to school on the day let alone with costumes.”
Buruma said students are invited to wear blue, orange and purple on what is called Spirit Day on Oct. 31 at the school. Buruma said the long-standing practice was discussed at the recent school council meeting. He said there are also other dress up days like Pajama Day at schools throughout the year.
“Just because you’ve always done something that way doesn’t mean it’s the right way,” said Johnstone. “Sometimes it’s important to question the purpose behind your policy and what’s really in the best interest of everybody that is involved.”
Johnstone said Halloween is a time for children to have fun and express their creativity.
She said she has great memories of dressing up for school and she wanted her son to have the same experience. Johnstone said Halloween is a day where children get to express themselves through their costume in a way they don’t normally get to.
“I know it’s not the end of the world but it’s one of those experiences from childhood,” said Johnstone.
Johnstone said she understands now that the school had banned costumes for a long time but she is not convinced it is the right decision. Now she must tell her son, who was looking forward to showing his classmates his Hobbit costume, that it won’t happen.
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools also leave it up to individual schools to determine guidelines for Halloween.
In the St. Patrick’s Community School, which shares a common area at northside complex, students are invited to participate in a friendly Halloween costume competition. Principal Margaretrose Willms said students may dress in orange and black, costumes or not at all on Oct. 31. Students who choose to dress up must follow rules including no masks and no weapons. Costumes must not restrict movement and costumes that portray evil, dark or questionable characters are not allowed.