Halloween is a magical time of the year for many as it gives people a chance to go out and be someone who is not themselves for the night. Superheroes, historical figures, and even our favorite characters from movies and shows. Many tend to enjoy this time of year the most as it gives people the chance to express themselves and their likes and interests but not for the students in one school in Seattle, Washington, where students have felt marginalized as a result of their ethnicities or disabilities. These identities have been poked fun at and disrespected one too many times which has led to a school in Washington state canceling their Halloween celebration. The school reported that historically they have had many students choose to not participate in their “Pumpkin Parade” as they do not feel comfortable enough to do so. Some of these issues include insensitivity towards students with different backgrounds or loud noises and lights that overstimulate or trigger others.
I think that this is a real shame that these students did not feel safe or comfortable enough to celebrate with their peers during this tradition which officially marks the beginning of the holiday season for many people in America. Many would probably think the school went too far in canceling their festivities and if I am being honest I agree. I think that in order to really get to the root of the issue, canceling the parade is not going to change the behaviors of the other students that are marginalizing this group. What will help to alleviate the stresses of the students would be to look at the issues the students are having and try to assuage and accommodate the students so they can join in the fun alongside their peers and friends.
I think maybe offering noise cancelling or noise-reducing headphones or providing sunglasses to students who have issues with lights and noises. And for some costumes, maybe doing a check beforehand. I think if the school was really interested in making this an inclusive space for everyone the people who are in charge of the parade might just amend some of the displays and noises and being more attentive to everyone’s needs would help more with combating this that it would be to cancel it altogether.
As someone who is really sensitive to light and noises, I really feel for the students who have been left out as a result and I would like to think others would be helpful in making accommodations for me too. People who have been through trauma that is associated with lights and noises or even ADHD, ADD, or other diagnosis with similar characteristics often find these types of activities limiting and really stressful. And as much as I think the school was really trying when they cancelled the parade I do not think that they thought about what other steps they could take instead of stopping the parade altogether. Either way please be safe on Halloween and remember to be cautious of other people as you do not know what they could be experiencing or dealing with.