School districts in New York ban ‘Squid Game’ Halloween costumes

A trio of elementary school districts in upstate New York has banned Halloween costumes related to the hit show “Squid Game” because they portray a “violent message.”

According to CNY Central, principals at Fayetteville-Manlius schools, near Syracuse, sent emails to parents informing them that students have been engaged in playing a version of the survival-related game that is shown in the Korean Netflix series.

“We have observed that some students at recess have been playing a version of the squid game which is intended for mature audiences, ages 16 and older. Due to concerns about the potential violent nature of the game, it is inappropriate for recess play or discussion at school,” said a note sent to Mott Road Elementary School parents, according to the outlet.

“Additionally, a Halloween costume from this show does not meet our school costume guidelines due to the potential violent message aligned with the costume,” the email continued, per CNY Central.

The ban applies to the hit series’ notable jumpsuits, tracksuits, and masks, the report notes, adding that other costumes that are barred include masks from “Friday the 13th” and “Scream,” per Dr. Craig Tice, the district superintendent.

Squid Game is the streaming network’s most-watched show, with more than 111 million views. It debuted in September.

“Hundreds of cash-strapped players accept a strange invitation to compete in children’s games. Inside, a tempting prize awaits — with deadly high stakes,” a description of the show says on Netflix’s website. The dystopian series centers around derelicts who are asked to play the games.

“Each October, our elementary principals remind our families about our guidelines for Halloween costumes, namely that no items that can be interpreted as weapons should be brought to school, such as toy swords or guns, and that costumes should not be too gory or scary so as not to scare our younger students,” Superintendant Craig Tice said in a statement to the local outlet.

“Because of the COVID pandemic, there will once again be no Halloween parades this year. Staff members have recently noted that some students at recess have been mimicking games from ‘Squid Game,’ a Roblox video game and a Netflix show that is intended for mature audiences due to the violence depicted in the show,” he added.

“Because of this activity, our principals wanted to make sure our families are aware that it would be inappropriate for any student to wear to school a Halloween costume from this show because of the potential violent messages aligned with the costume,” Tice continued.

“They also wanted families to be aware that some of our younger students are talking about and mimicking aspects of the show/game at school so parents and guardians would have the opportunity to speak with their children themselves about it and reinforce the school message that games associated with violent behavior are not appropriate for recess,” he noted.

Jon Dougherty


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