Let's Talk About... Halloween Costumes - Dean's Discussions ~ by Carl Abramowitz

A WFS Faculty Blog post by Carl Abramowitz (Middle School Dean of Students, 7th & 8th Grade English / Language Arts, Middle School Spanish)
Published Thursday, October 20, 2022


Let's Talk About... Halloween Costumes

Dear Westfield Friends School Parents and Families,

halloween costumes

It is my continued honor and privilege to work with you and help our middle school community navigate and negotiate the school year. As the leaves change and the autumn landscape begins to fall into place, my thoughts are on our upcoming Halloween Guessing Ceremony, a storied tradition like no other at Westfield Friends. “Halloween Guessing has been at Westfield since forever,” say some of the students.  

As we approach this event, we should have an open dialogue with our youth about the costumes they wear. While Halloween is full of excitement and laughter, it is also a time when we should put some thought and care into the outfits we choose. Here are some of my ideas on how to approach this holiday courageously and courteously:

  • DO consider the whole community and not just the middle school. Halloween Guessing is when the entire school enjoys imagination and creativity. Whether the costume is scary, comical, literary, historical, or a combination, this time together challenges our students to consider how others might feel about their outfits. This is a good rule of thumb because it empowers our middle schoolers to think about how their younger buddies might respond to their costumes.
  • DO talk about cultural appropriation and social issues. During our Middle School Meetings for Business, our mission is to define and understand cultural appropriation in the coming weeks. We define cultural appropriation as when members of a majority group adopt cultural elements of a minority group in a harmful, disrespectful, or stereotypical way. As a school whose mission is to develop graduates who go on to lead lives of conscience and consequence, it is tantamount to unpack how our students can thoughtfully and carefully navigate this complex holiday.
  • DO choose a costume that is safe, comfortable, time-sensitive, and that still adheres to the school dress code. When we hold the Halloween Guessing Ceremony, students must choose a safe costume to navigate doorways, hallways, and staircases. Also, the outfit should be comfortable and time-sensitive. This means students should be able to change in and out of the costume before and after the Halloween Guessing presentation.. 

We want to clarify that participating in Halloween is a choice. If students choose not to participate in this holiday for cultural or religious reasons, that choice is acceptable. On the 31st of October, our students may wear a special outfit that demonstrates care, thought, and creativity while making Westfield Friends a joyful place to learn. 

In friendship,

Carl Abramowitz ~ Middle School Dean of Students