Parents upset with Halloween costume controversy at Waukesha school

Posted at 10:07 PM, Oct 11, 2017

Students at one Waukesha School are no longer allowed to wear Halloween costumes to the annual Fall Festival.  

Parents at Hillcrest Elementary weren't happy with the change.

"This is something that I know the kids looks forward to every year," said Jeremy Watson, a Hillcrest parent.

Parents said the school took Halloween out of the festival awhile ago.  There were rules about school appropriate costumes.  For the last several years, parents said the event was more like a festival with a costume parade.  

Hillcrest parents learned there wouldn't be a costume parade this year in a news letter:

"To maximize that fun and time of fall fest, we are going to ask families to not send costumes this year.  We want to be inclusive of all families including those families who don't celebrate Halloween or find purchasing a costume a hardship. Also, there have been behavior and time management concerns related changing into and out of costumes.  

This year we will be having a Hat Day on October 31st.  Students will be invited to wear a hat on the 31st as a fundraiser for Hurricane Relief.  Any student is welcome to wear a school appropriate hat on the 31st with a suggested donation of $2.  All of these funds will be collected and donated to a Hurricane Relief organization to support kids and families who have been affected by hurricanes from earlier this month.  We are excited to see how much money we can raise!  Any hat will can even create your own!"

"If money was actually an issue there's enough people that would have donated," Watson said. 

"I just think it's sad.  I think that there's different paths they could have gone down instead of just canceling the whole thing all together," said Crystal Landry, a Hillcrest parent.

Parents suggested making costumes in art class.  Landry was disappointed, but not surprised.

"It just kind of seems the way that society is going," said Landry.

This is Principal Faith Lincicum's first year with Hillcrest Elementary.  Here's her response to the decision:  

"The concerns over students wearing costumes were first raised just before the start of the school year. I opened the conversation with our Site Council (a team made up of teachers and parent/PTO representatives) and with our teacher leaders within the building.  Together, we decided to ask families to not send costumes this year because of the cost; concern over families that don't celebrate Halloween; and because of the challenges with teachers having to manage all of the students changing in and out of costumes.  

"Finding a better way to celebrate Fall is what we plan to do with our Hats for Hurricane Relief.  We are hoping families choose to participate and let their children wear crazy hats as we collect money for hurricane relief.  Helping others is an important value of being a Hillcrest Husky, and the hats will be fun!" 

Watson brought the issue to the school board.

"It doesn't have to be all inclusive just because a few people don't want to do something.  They don't have to do it," Watson said.

"It just kind of seems silly to take it all away," Landry said.

One grandparent told us she supports the school's decision.