As a teacher in a public school, I have to stay conscious about the beliefs of the students in my classroom. I must say that I really do teach in a pretty conservative school where the majority of the families and staff are Christian. It's not uncommon that my students tell me about their church activities or for me to overheard their conversations about what they learned in Sunday School.
My school doesn't do Halloween parties, but rather just a "fall party." We don't do any costumes or scary themes. Naturally, some of the store-bought items are more Halloween themed, but this has never really been an issue. Most of our families celebrate Halloween as a fun holiday, but not a scary one.
I found out this week that one of my students doesn't celebrate Halloween at all. The family is okay with the child staying in the room for the party as long as it's not Halloween themed. We do our parties on the Friday before Halloween, so it's not even on that day. Our room mom and the other parents are working together to organize a fall party that takes out the Halloween elements. I had a Jehovah's Witness in my class a few years ago and she just left the room during parties, so we really didn't do much to change things. (Plus, she didn't come to my classroom until after Christmas break, so we were past the big season of holidays and parties.)
In talking with other teacher friends, I've been a bit surprised to hear how many schools still do Halloween parties and costume parades. Our school stopped doing costumes years ago due to the hassle, things getting messed up, some children can't afford costumes, and that some don't dress up.
So, my question to you is...
Does your school still celebrate Halloween?
How do you stay culturally / religiously sensitive to those students who don't celebrate Halloween?