I Have To Take A Half-Day At Work Because Two Kids And Mandatory Halloween Parades
I didn’t complain for a single minute about the lengthy phase-in process at my kids’ school. I had three months prior notice and gave my job plenty of fair warning, and repeated reminders, that I would have to be there to help my two-year-old and four-year-old children adjust to the school year. Â But I have my limits.
I met those limits when I got the notice about the Halloween parades for each of my kids classes. Last year I missed the Halloween celebration because school was cancelled that week for Superstorm Sandy. Â I dutifully went to every other event — the Christmas celebration, the end of the year “performance” and my son’s birthday. Â They were all things I could get behind. Â But Halloween?
My two-year-old brought her notice home first.
Please join us for our Halloween Parade from 10:30-11:30. Â Your child should arrive in his/her costume. Â Students will be dismissed after the festivities. Â
That’s when I really started to rethink the huge owl costume my daughter wanted so badly. Â There was no way she was going to sit in that for the ninety minutes prior to the start.
My pre-K son brought his notice home second.
Please join us for our Halloween Parade from 11:30-12:30. Â RSVP with number to attend (maximum four guests per student). Â No siblings allowed.
Four guests? Â I wasn’t sure I was even going to go and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to get three other people to show up at 11:30 on a Thursday. But after I got over that shock, the logistical issues were slapping me in the face. Â No siblings allowed was really at odds with my daughter’s early dismissal. Â They were all in the same small-ish school. Â Why were they making this as difficult as possible? Â Couldn’t they just do a joint celebration?
I know I vowed to have a better attitude about Halloween, but this was hard to swallow. Â How was I going to explain needing half a day off to watch ten kids at a time march around the playground? I have trouble believing this is really a time-honored tradition that begs mandatory parental attendance. Â Isn’t it enough that I promised to take them trick-or-treating at the end of the day? Â Isn’t it enough that they get to wear their costumes to school that day? Â I’m not against that. I’ve had their costumes ready for weeks. Â But do I really need to be there to see the other two-year-olds and four-year-olds itching in their hot costumes or removing one important detail after the other so that the adorable cowboy just looks like a Portland hipster by the time I arrive? I also need to state that I’m doing the bare minimum — as in just showing up. Â There are other parents that are actually doing things to make all this happen. I can’t imagine what kind of commitment they are making to this.
Suddenly I am envious of those schools who refuse to celebrate Halloween. Â Or at least those that make parent involvement voluntary.