Parades scared away

Looking at the reasoning and reactions behind LMSD’s cancellation of Halloween parades.

Penn Wynne second graders marched around the field with peers and parents cheering them on in 2014 | Photo by Michelle Kelly ’23/Staff

Halloween is the holiday of spooky pumpkin carving, scary movie watching, and ornate house decorating. If you are an elementary schooler in LMSD, a big highlight of the year is the Halloween Parade, which, for many years, has been an event where the district’s youth show off their costumes and pageantry. This festive tradition was recently canceled this year by the district for a multitude of reasons. Is this a reasonable safety precaution or is
this controversy cancel culture’s next victim? When Director of School and Community Relations Amy Buckman was interviewed by The Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Barbara Laker about the reason for the parades’ cancellations, she responded with the comment, “Security was a big concern.” She argued that when a bunch of elementary school students are accompanied in a field by adults who haven’t been screened or security checked, it creates more than a slight safety concern. Another reason to abandon the tradition, Buckman noted, is that some parents can’t take off from work without a serious economic impact on their family, and that not having your parents attend the parade can leave kids feeling disheartened (via The Philadelphia Inquirer).

On another note, LMSD is home to many different cultures and religions which may not agree with the tradition of Halloween. Students may be kept home from school or stuck in the library during the parade, which could make them feel left out. This doesn’t create the sense of belonging that the dristrict tries to embrace (via Laker). Regarding the cancellation of this seemingly wholesome and innocent tradition, Penn Valley fourth grader Jenna N’diaye said, “I don’t care much, and it’s more of a little kid thing, but our whole grade is pretty much upset.” When asked if the younger grades were especially upset, she said, “Yes, definitely.” Her mother, Rachel N’dyaie, added, “As a parent, I have mixed feelings about the cancellation of the Halloween Parade. It was really fun when my children were younger, but I can also see how many things have changed since COVID. My youngest is now in fourth grade, and while I am sad that there won’t be one last parade for me to see, I also understand the reasoning of LMSD. There are a lot of logistics involved, both for the schools and for parents who need to arrive in the middle of a work day for the event; there are certainly families that may not celebrate Halloween as well. I am glad that the students will have the option to dress up in their costumes for school if they want.”

The cancellation has left a few parents disgruntled and confused. LMSD parent Linda Joseph comments, via 6ABC, “So next people are going to be offended by pumpkins? So we’re going to take away pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns or pumpkin carving?” Another parent expressed their confusion over the fact that there have been Diwali and Chinese New Year celebrations, which are also holidays that not everyone celebrates. Most parents are against the decision, but the district stands behind logical reasons for the cancellations. One thing is certain: the argument over this holiday is causing quite a stir within our community. Is the fondly remembered tradition a safety hazard or is it just innocent fun? You decide.

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