Halloween outrage: Parents speak up after Pennsylvania school district cancels kids' outdoor costume parades

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Parents are chiming in and speaking out as one school district in Pennsylvania has announced it’s canceling its annual Halloween parades for elementary students due to safety and “inclusivity” concerns.

Dominique Izbicki, a resident of Montgomery County, told Fox News Digital she doesn’t agree with the decision.

“Generally, I’m just disappointed that we are taking an approach to inclusivity as trying to go down to the lowest common denominator rather than trying to celebrate all cultures, all religions and all views for our kids,” said Izbicki.

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She’s a parent of a second-grade student at Merion Elementary School in the Lower Merion School District located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

“We are lucky to live in a diverse area, and we should embrace that and expose our kids to as much as possible,” Izbicki added.

Pictured is Belmont Hills, the suburban enclave in Pennsylvania's Lower Merion Township, located in Montgomery County.

Pictured is Belmont Hills, the suburban enclave in Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion Township, located in Montgomery County.
(iStock)

The Lower Merion School District sent a letter to parents on Friday, Oct. 7, of the changes it’s making to the usual Halloween festivities this year.

In an email to Fox News Digital, Amy Buckman, director of school and community relations at the Lower Merion School District, confirmed that elementary school principals informed parents about Halloween parade cancellations via letter.

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“Each school has different fall fun activities, crafts, etc. planned, so there was some additional different information about those in each principal’s letter, but this information about the parades is consistent across all six LMSD elementary schools,” Buckman wrote.

Some parents say they disagree with the Lower Merion School District's decision to cancel the Halloween parades this year at elementary schools.

Some parents say they disagree with the Lower Merion School District’s decision to cancel the Halloween parades this year at elementary schools.
(iStock)

Buckman acknowledged that while some parents and guardians may be disappointed about the parade cancellations, the Lower Merion School District made its decision after considering multiple factors.

“First, there are concerns for the safety and security of students parading outside among a crowd of unscreened adults on our field,” Buckman explained.

“Another is the lack of inclusivity of students whose families do not celebrate Halloween for religious or cultural reasons.”

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“Finally, many working parents and guardians are unable to attend a morning parade due to work responsibilities, which can create disappointment for their children,” Buckman continued.

Although parading won’t be happening in the Lower Merion School District elementary schoolyards, the district is still allowing Halloween celebrations indoors.

Halloween parades are an annual tradition in many schools and communities. Children often wear costumes while they attend, while parents, grandparents, caregivers and friends show up to watch them and enjoy the fun.

Halloween parades are an annual tradition in many schools and communities. Children often wear costumes while they attend, while parents, grandparents, caregivers and friends show up to watch them and enjoy the fun.
(iStock)

Students can attend school in Halloween costumes on Oct. 31 if they wish to do so.

“[We] know that many students are very excited about Halloween,” Buckman wrote.

The Lower Merion School District is inviting students to “dress in a way that reflects something unique about them, their interests, culture or personality,” according to Buckman.

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The school district’s only costume-related requests include not wearing Halloween getups with weapon accessories and having costumes that allow children “to move freely.”

Halloween festivities will be celebrated indoors at elementary schools in the Lower Merion School District (not pictured). A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania school district told Fox News Digital that students are welcome to wear costumes even though the parades have been canceled.

Halloween festivities will be celebrated indoors at elementary schools in the Lower Merion School District (not pictured). A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania school district told Fox News Digital that students are welcome to wear costumes even though the parades have been canceled.
(iStock)

Students will get to enjoy a half day while school staff will remain for professional development, Buckman noted.

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The Lower Merion School District reportedly serves 62,000 residents of the Lower Merion Township and Narberth Borough in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, located northwest of Philadelphia.

Parents and children who celebrate Halloween usually take part in group activities, like jack-o'-lantern carving.

Parents and children who celebrate Halloween usually take part in group activities, like jack-o’-lantern carving.
(iStock)

Karin Fox, a local parent whose daughter graduated from the district two years ago, said the people she knows who have children still enrolled are afraid to comment publicly about the issue due to a fear of retaliation.

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Fox called the district move a “virtue signal” and an example of “hypocrisy.”

“So many are so excluded in that district daily while the administration looks the other way, but now we’re inclusive because we’re moving the Halloween celebration indoors,” Fox said.

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many children all around the world.

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many children all around the world.
(iStock)

She noted that kids will still feel badly if they can’t participate in indoor activities related to Halloween.

“Will they be canceling recess? School sports — soccer, baseball, lacrosse, etc. What about kids who don’t make those teams?” she continued. “Are they no longer inclusive?

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She also said, “I could go on forever. This is so typical for this district — say one thing, do another. Appearances over meaningful implementation. Ignore the big, very real issues and eliminate Halloween parades.”

Last year, a Seattle-based elementary school made headlines for canceling its Halloween parades because the school administration found that it marginalized “students of color who do not celebrate the holiday,” as Fox News Digital reported.

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