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With Halloween approaching comes trick-or-treating, watching of horror films, and of course the obligatory moral panic. But this time, it’s not fears of poisoned trick-or-treat candy or Satanists worshipping the cloven one in the suburbs but concerns over costumes centered around a popular Netflix series. That’s right: a New York school district has banned its students from wearing Squid Game-themed Halloween costumes.
According to a story from CNYCentral picked up by the New York Post, principals at three elementary schools in upstate New York (Mott Road, Enders Road, and Fayetteville) have sent emails to parents letting them know there’s no place for such costumes at their schools. (But can students bring their Squid Game Funkos to school? Considering the principals don't want the students to play Squid Game-related games during recess, it may be best to leave them at home.)
“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,” said an email sent to parents of Mott Road elementary school students. “Due to concerns about the potential violent nature of the game, it is inappropriate for recess play or discussion at school. Additionally, a Halloween costume from this show does not meet our school costume guidelines due to the potential violent message aligned with the costume.”
After the email was sent to parents, Fayetteville-Manlius School District Superintendent Craig J. Tice issued the following statement to the news outlet: “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. 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.”
To be fair, the show is indeed violent. Not to mention, apparently kids in the Fayetteville-Manlius School District also can’t wear Friday the 13th or Scream-themed costumes, either.
The Korean death game drama has become Netflix’s most-watched show, garnering more than 100 million viewers. And it will no doubt inspire many costumes this Halloween, though perhaps not at certain elementary schools.