Halloween Cancelled at School: Are Food Allergies to Blame?

Fox News Boston reported Wednesday evening that JFK Elementary School, in Canton Massachusetts, has cancelled Halloween celebrations in the classrooms.


The explanation to parents is that Halloween does not fall under their already scheduled seasonal celebrations like “Fall”. The Superintendent and school district did not return calls from Fox News but released a letter/email to a parent stating that there would be no trick or treating in classrooms, no passing of candy, no costumes–but kids could read Halloween stories and the like under the Fall celebration.

The letter also mentioned food allergies multiple times.


I have not seen the full letter but I question why food allergies always seem to be at the middle of these heated debates regarding celebrations in school. I’m thrilled that the JFK school is taking steps to minimize candy and treats in school from a health standpoint; but it certainly pits unhappy parents against the food allergic community to use food allergies as a reason. Hopefully the letter also mentions childhood diabetes, food borne illnesses, and childhood obesity as reasons for canceling trick or treating in school.

One mother stated that she was not upset about the candy or treats, but did not understand why the kids could not celebrate Halloween in other ways in the classroom.

Is this a case of JFK Elementary School doing the right thing by banning candy and treats in school for health reasons, or a case of the school going too far in banning Halloween all together using their scheduled Fall celebration as an excuse while pointing a finger at food allergies?

The school isn’t talking.

While it’s a step in the right direction, we’d like to see schools take a stand in regards to candy, treats, and classroom celebrations from an overall health and wellness standpoint. Young food allergic children have it hard enough. They shouldn’t have to endure classroom food parties they can’t participate in, but they also shouldn’t have to take the blame for them being canceled. Schools and parents need to find a way to celebrate that includes and “celebrates” all children.

How does your school celebrate? Are you in a food free school district or one that feels cupcakes are a tradition worth keeping? We’d like to know. Feel free to comment below.