‘Squid Game’ Halloween costumes banned by several New York schools


Halloween costumes inspired by the Netflix hit “Squid Game” have been banned by three elementary schools in central New York City, with administrators citing concerns about the show’s violent content.

The South Korean drama revolves around a competition in which highly indebted people compete in childhood games, such as tug-of-war and red green light, to win a large sum of money – Or face a bloody death.

“Staff recently noticed that some students during recess were imitating games from ‘Squid Game’, a Roblox video game, and a Netflix show that is aimed at an adult audience due to the violence portrayed in the show.” Craig Tice, the superintendent for the Fayetteville-Manlius school district, just outside Syracuse, said in an emailed statement. “As a result of this activity, our principals wanted to make sure our families are aware that it would be inappropriate for a student to wear a Halloween costume from this show to school due to the potential violent messages lined up with the costume. . “

After debuting in September, “Squid Game” quickly became one of the streaming site’s most popular shows and sparked a Halloween shopping spree with viewers clamoring for teal tracksuits, red-pink boiler suits. and plastic masks to dress like players and guards.

In his statement, Mr. Tice reiterated the Fayetteville-Manlius School District’s guidelines for Halloween costumes, which include that “no items that could be interpreted as a weapon should be brought to school, such as swords. or toy guns, and that the costumes shouldn’t be too gory or scary so as not to frighten our younger students.

Jonna Johnson, the principal of Mott Road District Elementary School, informed parents of the ban in an email last week after watching students play versions of the games featured in the series. “If your child is familiar with this game, we would be grateful if you could discuss it with your student and point out that playtime games or related costumes are not allowed in school,” she wrote. .

Jennifer Erzen, parent of a second-grader in the district, said she supports the schools’ decision.

“I agree with them to ban people from playing these games at school and to ban costumes during next weekend’s activities, but there is still an annoying movie or TV show. parents and don’t want their children exposed, ”she said. “When I was a kid, no one wanted anyone to dress like Freddy Krueger.” She also noted that her family had not seen the show.

Larissa Brenner, a parent of two college students from Fayetteville-Manlius, said the ban was in line with existing school policies. “It is not a new practice for the school to say that certain things are prohibited on Halloween. They always said, don’t bring guns to school, even toy guns, as part of your costume, ”she said. “They have also always said that they don’t want children to wear masks that cover their entire face.”

Ms. Brenner, who has seen ‘Squid Game,’ added that “It’s entertaining, it’s good for adults, but I wouldn’t want my kids exposed to it at school. Schools somehow need to strike a balance between what is safe for children and free speech.

Schools in other countries, including Ireland and Canada, have also issued “Squid Game” warnings, urging parents to be careful what their children eat. But some experts say the show’s appeal to young viewers shouldn’t be alarming.

“We often forget how much kids love scary and scary things,” said Carly Kocurek, associate professor of digital humanities and media studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology. “Adults are often uncomfortable with the way children engage with these things. We’ve seen this before – 20 or 30 years ago we were like, ‘Oh, you can’t dress like Freddy Krueger’ or ‘You can’t wear the Scream mask’. But a lot of classic Halloween costumes are actually scary, like vampires or skeletons.

Patrick Markey, professor of psychology at Villanova University, said violence in popular culture is often an “easy scapegoat” for real-world violence. “It’s much easier to be upset by violent video games or the ‘Squid Game’ than it is to try and tackle gun ownership or mental health issues,” he said. declared.

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