Dear students, 

Halloween is a special time of the year. Haunted houses, hayrides, scary movies, pumpkin carvings, and trick or treating (never too old for a Hershey’s bar!) are traditions that bring a lot of excitement to the season. It goes without saying that costumes are also a salient aspect of Halloween. In fact, retail stores pop up across the country solely for the purpose of selling costumes. Some are scary, drawing from horror icons portrayed in film; some represent various professions/careers; others are creative and homemade.

I encourage students to share in the traditions of dressing up, taking part in local festivities, and enjoying the season. At the same time, we want to be sure that the costumes we choose to wear (because there are so many options!) do not mock or otherwise demean an individual’s cultural identity. Cultural appropriation is not OK. If a friend shares with you a sentiment that maybe your choice of costume is suggestive of appropriation, I would hope you consider their honest feedback of what a stranger might readily perceive that costume to suggest and how that might make someone feel when they, too, are trying to enjoy the season. 

Personally, Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love scary movies, have several carved pumpkins in my office in Feather House, and have dressed up for Halloween since I was trick or treating as a kid. This is a holiday many people care about and hope to celebrate and enjoy. Please consider how your choice of costume is integral to ensuring everyone can enjoy this amazing season and feel included. 

Dean Samble