PRIOR LAKE, Minn. (KMSP) - Halloween falls midweek this year, meaning school districts are confronted with a long-debated decision: to host Halloween parties or not, because some students do not observe the holiday.
At Jeffers Pond Elementary School in Prior Lake, students will not have a Halloween celebration this year.
“We're not having a hosted time where students are dressing up in costumes… families have opportunities in other places," said Jeffers Pond Elementary School Principal Dr. Karoline Warner. "Here at school, we’re going to commit that learning, celebrating that outdoor learning."
This year, all of the elementary schools in the Prior Lake-Savage School District are celebrating the season instead of Halloween. Students at Jeffers Pond will participate in E-STEM Environmental Education (science, technology, engineering and math) activities.
“What we have really been committed to is celebrating fall and celebrating with students and celebrating that learning and helping to make sure all students are a part of that celebration,” Warner said.
Though some parents support the decision, another parent started an online petition called “Save the Fall Harvest tradition.” The petition asks parents to “Be your child’s voice. Exercise your partnership with our elementary schools and let’s work together in keeping the tradition alive.” It has more than 1900 signatures, with several commenters saying “let kids be kids.”
Warner says despite the change, students will still be permitted to wear their costumes on Halloween.
"As they can any day, what a student decides to wear to school is absolutely accepted," said Warner. "And so if that happens tomorrow, absolutely we will embrace all learners because that's their choice."