Monday 3 June 2019

Halloween is cultural appropriation too...?!

I am working quite hard trying to get my head around this. This evening I read this interview with Emily Ito in Pom Pom magazine.

This is the sentence from her interview I'm deeply perplexed about

Several years ago I became very passionate about teaching my third graders and colleagues about the impact of cultural appropriation in the context of Halloween costumes.

For others like me who aren't American, third graders are 8-9 years old.

In Australia and New Zealand we don't do Halloween so I'm not really aware of what these costumes might involve. In the interview she doesn't clarify what the problem is about the costumes. I'm pretty ignorant about this but I have the vague impression that Halloween is something to do with the old English custom of All Hallows Eve, when the dead are supposed to come out their graves and haunt the living. I think its a hugely popular thing in Mexico where it's called Dios dos Muertas, or Day of the Dead. There is a large migrant population of Mexicans living in the USA who undoubtedly introduced this celebration and it has apparently flourished.   

I am truly baffled why Ms Ito thinks teaching 8-9 year olds that Halloween costumes are a problem
of cultural appropriation is a worthy task to be spending her time on. I hope their mathematics, reading and writing skills aren't being sidelined while she is radicalising them to don only appropriate gear for this one night a year.

Can any American person reading this enlighten me what the problem is?

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you are interested in buying an artwork or booking a commission, please email me at