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School District Bans Halloween, Citing ‘Diversity, Equity, Inclusion’

Anastasia Boushee
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A New Jersey School district has gone so far in its pursuit of “diversity, equity and inclusion” that even the state’s Democrat governor is speaking out — questioning why the policy prohibits children from being allowed to celebrate Halloween.

New Jersey’s South Orange and Maplewood School District has banned Halloween festivities during school hours in the name of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

Earlier this month, Superintendent Ronald G. Taylor sent a letter to parents explaining that Halloween would not be celebrated during school hours — specifically noting that it was part of an effort to “diversity, equity, and inclusion meaningfully,” according to the New York Times. The outlet went on to claim that the move was “part of a larger movement to reframe Halloween…mostly related to equity and inclusion efforts.”

NBC New York further explained that the decision was made in order to make sure “no one feels excluded.” It was also allegedly made to protect religious students who don’t celebrate the holiday, as well as people who cannot afford to purchase a costume for their children.

In the letter to parents, Taylor acknowledged that his decision to cancel Halloween “may make some uncomfortable and elicit some challenges across our community.”

“However, in the end, I feel these recommendations align with SOMSD’s commitment to building equity, fostering inclusion, and building a sense of belonging throughout our schools,” the letter continued.

Taylor also explained that the ten school principals in the district were “overwhelmingly in favor” of prohibiting Halloween festivities during school hours and holding a fall festival instead.


“I fully support that policy. I have three kids in the district, and for a long time the elementary school didn’t really celebrate much during the school day for this exact reason. And honestly, having three kids, it’s kind of annoying having to get them ready and a costume,” Maplewood parent Megan Goslink told NBC New York.

Meanwhile, the move was so outrageous that even New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) questioned the school district’s actions in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Seriously? We can’t let kids celebrate Halloween? Give me a break,” the Democrat governor wrote.

According to the New York Times, Murphy’s X post “sparked a media firestorm and set local parents’ groups on Facebook buzzing, reigniting the same tense discussion that began weeks prior with Dr. Taylor’s letter.”

However, the school’s position has not changed despite the governor’s comments, according to a spokesperson for the South Orange and Maplewood district.

“All of us realize that this breaks with what the district has usually done, and that can be a difficult thing to do sometimes,” Dr. Kevin Gilbert, the assistant superintendent of access and equity, wrote in a statement. “Often, working to instill greater equity in our district begins with recognizing that we cannot do what we have always done.”