Annual Halloween parade cancelled at Guilderland school

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Some parents are upset after learning a traditional Halloween parade has been cancelled.

“It’s more than just a fun day for the kids,” mom Tara Harbeck said. “It’s really about teaching them a little bit of balance. It’s okay to have some levity. It’s okay to have some fun.”

Superintendent of Guilderland Schools Marie Wiles said the decision was made by Westmere Elementary’s Building Cabinet, which consists of parents, teachers and the principal.

“The K-1 grades would parade in the morning, and then the fifth graders would parade in the afternoon, and essentially, really disrupted an entire school day with all of this kind of activity, and so, the idea was maybe this isn’t the best way to spend the day,” she said.

Karen North’s son James is in the fourth grade at Westmere.

“To take something like this away, you know, it’s the one day where they can just have self-expression and be creative making their own costumes,” she said.

North said she started a Facebook page in an effort to make sure the kids could still dress up even if the parade was gone. It now has more than 100 followers.

“Some of the teachers have told some of the students that costumes were not going to be allowed,” she said.

North and Harbeck said some other concerns were also brought to their attention.

“There was some concerns about children who were unable to afford costumes; that there were people who did not celebrate,” Harbeck said.

But after an emergency meeting held on Friday, Wiles said a final decision was made to include costumes in a classroom celebration instead of the parade.

“Students and faculty are welcome to wear costumes if they wish to,” Wiles said.

Wiles said there are two other district events where children can enjoy Halloween activities and wear costumes.

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