- The Washington Times - Friday, October 13, 2017

A Wisconsin elementary school is banning children from wearing Halloween costumes during their annual fall parade on Oct. 31, instead instituting “Hat Day” so that all children of different religious and economic backgrounds can participate.

Officials at Hillcrest Elementary School in Waukesha took references to Halloween out of its annual Fall Festival years ago, but that apparently didn’t go far enough this year, a local NBC affiliate reported. Now students are being told they can’t participate in the tradition of wearing their Halloween costumes to the event, because some children were left out.

“We want to be inclusive of all families including those families who don’t celebrate Halloween or find purchasing a costume a hardship,” the school said in a newsletter to parents last week, NBC reported. “Also, there have been behavior and time management concerns related changing into and out of costumes.”

Instead, the school will celebrate “Hat Day” on Halloween, where students are encouraged to wear a “school appropriate hat” and bring a $2 donation for hurricane relief.

“All of these funds will be collected and donated to a Hurricane Relief organization to support kids and families who have been affected by hurricanes from earlier this month,” the newsletter read. “We are excited to see how much money we can raise! Any hat will work … you can even create your own!”

Principal Faith Lincicum said the decision was reached by a team of school officials, teachers and parents.

“Finding a better way to celebrate Fall is what we plan to do with our Hats for Hurricane Relief,” the principal said in a statement. “We are hoping families choose to participate and let their children wear crazy hats as we collect money for hurricane relief. Helping others is an important value of being a Hillcrest Husky, and the hats will be fun!”

Some Hillcrest parents expressed frustration with the change.

“For kids to buy the costumes that they wanted to wear for this event specifically and now they can’t is another thing that parents are upset about,” parent Jeremy Watson told a local CBS affiliate.

“I just think it’s sad. I think that there’s different paths they could have gone down instead of just canceling the whole thing all together,” parent Crystal Landry told NBC.

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