Posted on 10/23/2023

Dear Families,

The recognition of Halloween on the evening of October 31st is a widely practiced event in Canadian communities and Ontario schools. 

At Ardagh Bluffs, we will approach this event in a way that values student inclusion and diversity. The opportunity to dress up is optional for students and may incorporate the colours orange and black. 

Halloween is the opportunity to discuss costume choices with your child. It is important not to inadvertently mimic culture by culturally appropriating racial, religious or ethnic groups. We would like to remind everyone that “culture is not a costume”.  Here are some critical equity questions to consider when selecting a costume: 

  1. Is the costume depicting and perpetuating a stereotype or stigma associated with a particular race, culture or religion?
  2. Does the costume include a replication of a garment that is a significant component of a particular religion or culture with which the costume wearer does not identify with?
  3. Is the costume depicting a historical time period where that look/costume is now considered offensive and discriminatory?
  4. Does the costume represent elements of a culture or cultural practice being commoditized for consumption?
  5. Does the costume stigmatize abilities, and mental health and wellbeing experiences?
  6. Does the costume mischaracterize and/or stereotype gender identity and expression?
  7. Can a person look in the mirror and confidently say that the costume choice would not be considered offensive to a particular race, ethnic origin, gender or religion?

If a person answered yes to any of the questions 1 – 6, the costume choice likely has the potential to cause harm to the members of the cultural, racial and religious groups of which your costume is depicting.

Additionally, the following items or costumes would not be appropriate at school: 

  • paraphernalia such as swords, shields, batons or replica weapons; 
  • costumes depicting gore;
  • pandemic-themed costumes; and
  • full face masks.

Curriculum activities will be planned inclusively with options to meet the varying levels of student participation in Halloween. Our School Council will be holding a dance and candy sale (watch for further details about this) and the Kindergarten students will participate in a parade that will be viewed by our Grade 1-8 students and staff. In terms of food sent in as treats, please follow the direction of your child’s educators, keeping in mind the following: 

  • individually wrapped treats are permitted.
  • communal bowls of unwrapped treats (e.g. candy, chips, popcorn etc.) are not permitted.

We are looking forward to a fun and festive day at Ardagh Bluffs that is inclusive and respectful.



Jennifer Robinson, Principal