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Halloween Costumes – Being Mindful of Cultural Appropriation

The Halton Catholic District School Board is committed to creating and supporting a positive climate in each of our school communities, that fosters and promotes equity, inclusivity and celebrates diversity. We recognize that all people are created equal, in the image of God, each with inimitable characteristics deserving of dignity.

Halloween is a great time to dress up and have fun with costumes. In our Catholic education community, we want to promote respect, inclusion and empathy for all individuals. As students and staff select Halloween costumes, we encourage everyone to reflect critically, be mindful of cultural appropriation and creat4e welcoming school environments for all. A shark, a wizard, a clown, a crime-fighting cartoon puppy, a banana, a giant hot dog, a Minecraft character, even a velociraptor!  However, another person’s culture should never be our costume.

St. Gabriel CES is a place where students not only learn about diversity but also experience it. We strive to ensure that our students see themselves and their classmates reflected in their studies. Our students and families should expect their interactions within our school community to leave them feeling safe, welcomed, included and accepted for who they are.

The following are suggested questions to reflect on when choosing a costume to avoid being disrespectful or offensive. Your conversations at home on this topic directly help to support our school’s efforts to create and maintain an equitable and inclusive learning environment:

  • Is my costume making fun or offensive towards a group of people, their culture or religion?
  • Does my costume reinforce jokes and stereotypes about certain groups, cultures or religions?
  • Am I altering my skin colour, facial/body features to make it darker or like a particular race, ethnicity, or cultural group?
  • Am I dressing up as a culture or borrowing from a religion that is not my own or is not part of my background?
  • Do I understand and respect the history or tradition of the culture that I am borrowing my costume from?

Unity does not imply uniformity; it does not necessarily mean doing everything together or thinking in the same way. Nor does it signify a loss of identity. Unity in diversity is actually the opposite: it involves the joyful recognition and acceptance of the various gifts which the Holy Spirit gives to each one and the placing of these gifts at the service of all members of the Church. It means knowing how to listen, to accept differences, and having the freedom to think differently and express oneself with complete respect towards the other who is my brother or sister.” Pope Francis

Tilley, ChristopherHalloween Costumes – Being Mindful of Cultural Appropriation