When a U.K. elementary school announced that it would ban Halloween costumes to prevent kids from dressing offensively, parents were confused. One might assume there had been a blackface incident, or that a 7-year-old had showed up as Jessica Rabbit. But the school said the offensive costumes in question were witch or wizard costumes.

Are witch and wizard costumes offensive?

According to CafeMom, a user on Mumsnet started an “AIBU” (or “am I being unreasonable?”) thread about a Halloween disco that was usually held by the PTA of her kids’ school. The PTA held the party at the school, but after school hours and made some money. The kids didn’t have to go trick or treating, and they liked it.

But the mother says there are no costumes at school during the day this year.  Also, “this year there is no disco because some parents are offended by the witches and wizards costumes/it is culturally offensive for some families.” She wanted to know if this is “PC gone mad.”

Witch and wizard costumes seem pretty innocuous, as these things go. But that might just be because every year people surprise us with more mind-bogglingly offensive Halloween costumes, like “Boston Marathon Bombing Victim” or “Burning Twin Towers” as a couple’s costume. Both of those are real things people have worn, and they make witches and wizards seem pretty tame. True, some very religious people find it offensive. (Remember the crusade against Harry Potter for promoting witchcraft?) But for the most part, people are OK with kids dressed as Hermione.

Most of the other Mumsnet users agreed that she was not being unreasonable. A lot of the comments said that if a person was offended by costumes or Halloween celebrations, they should just not attend the party. Several suggested that probably nobody was offended at all, and an “over-zealous” teacher was behind the ban. A few wondered why they couldn’t just put “no witch or wizard costumes” on the flyer.

A few other parents chimed in to point out that not everybody celebrates Halloween, so maybe school shouldn’t be hosting an after-school Halloween party.

What do you think about the costume ban? Let us know in the comments.

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(Image: iStockPhoto / FamVeld)