Halloween costume restrictions don’t stop student creativity


Credit: Remmi Shaw

Samantha Neuman, Daniella Timperio, Jake Horowitz, and Ben Johnson dressed as characters from the classic “Winnie the Pooh.” From left to right, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore. The class of 2019 showed up to school in both group and solo costumes.

Caitlin Newton and Alyssa Dickstein

With the spookiest day of the year just passed, WHS seniors had to come up with a costume that was both authentic and allowed under school guidelines. Each year, costumes become more and more creative, but they must follow a set of rules sent out by the administration.

According to the administration, the rules were originally put in place to prevent students from getting distracted during class. However, the administrators still face the backlash from the seniors because of the costume restrictions.

“[Halloween is] a school day, kids are going to classes, and generally only the seniors are wearing costumes,” Principal Allyson Mizoguchi said. “For the rest of the students, we want to make sure we are preserving a learning environment that’s productive for everybody.”

Because only the seniors are dressing up, Halloween is a regular school day and classes progress as normal. While the administration may be willing to let the seniors show off their creativity, they want to make sure that it doesn’t get in the way of class.

“We try not to have too many restrictions, as to not subdue the enthusiasm and spirit of the day,” Mizoguchi said.

According to Mizoguchi, restrictions regarding costumes used to be less clear and costumes would cause problems with the administration on the day of Halloween because students were unaware of the rules.

“I think we’ve been more explicit over time [with the restrictions],” Mizoguchi said. “We didn’t necessarily have a crystal-clear, detailed list of dos and don’ts, but over time, we’ve put them in writing and sent them out to students so there’s clarity.”

Mizoguchi believes that because the rules were sent out ahead of time, the day passed without any problems.

“Over the years we’ve developed these kinds of guidelines around what we want our students to do and not to do, and it’s mostly about making sure our students are mindful about what’s appropriate for a high school environment, what’s safe, and what’s too cumbersome or unwieldy for a classroom environment,” Mizoguchi said.

Students understand the safety issues, but not all seniors feel that the restrictions are necessary.

“I think the whole “no masks” thing is a little bit [far-fetched] because some costumes are essential with a mask; if you don’t have a mask on it’s just not the same costume,” senior Jacob Schilp said. “I get the whole school safety thing, but if you can see the face through the mask, it should be allowed.”

Although not all students support the rules, restrictions haven’t stopped them from creating costumes in the past.

“I think [the restrictions] can only have [a] negative impact because it’s limiting what you can do, but there are still a lot of possibilities,” senior Abby Obar said.

Regardless of the rules, Mizoguchi believes that they shouldn’t affect students’ creativity when it comes to costumes.

“I don’t think the restrictions necessarily put a damper on any of that imagination,” Mizoguchi said. “In fact, I think that if students are thinking broadly and creatively, they’re not going to have to worry about any of those restrictions.”

The rules outlined in Mizoguchi’s email to the student body include:

1. Please do not wear a mask.

2. Please do not wear a costume that is culturally or racially offensive, or that conveys an illegal or inappropriate statement for a high school setting.

3. Please do not wear a costume that includes the wielding of a weapon of any sort, such as swords, guns, knives, etc.

4. There should be no wheeled modes of transport such as roller blades or skateboards inside the buildings, and costumes should not be so unwieldy in size or shape that they are difficult to wear in a classroom.