Three elementary schools in New York are banning Squid Game costumes for Halloween and warned parents in a letter that students have been emulating elements of the hit Netflix show during recess, Syracuse.com reports.
Last Friday, a letter went out to the parents of children at three schools in the Fayetteville-Manlius district saying Squid Game costumes — which are unsurprisingly incredibly popular this year — do “not meet our school costume guidelines due to the potential violent message aligned with the costume.” Costumes based on the show join other banned Halloween accoutrements including toy swords, guns and light sabers, as well as generally gruesome or gory costumes that could “scare younger students.”
The letter, sent by superintendent Craig Tice, also noted that teachers at one school had observed younger students acting out aspects of Squid Game at recess. The letter urged parents and guardians to speak with their children and “reinforce the school message that games associated with violent behavior are not appropriate for recess.”
The Fayetteville-Manlius schools are far from the only ones that have had to deal with a bit of Squid Game fallout, which maybe isn’t that surprising. In the show, people in severe debt compete for a huge cash prize by playing what are essentially children’s games, although the consequences are brutally violent and deadly. Speaking to the show’s global success, schools all around the world have raised concerns about kids playing Squid Game at recess.
Earlier this month, the BBC reported that several schools in England urged parents to check their Netflix settings to make sure their younger kids weren’t able to watch the show (one school official said he’d observed a small group of kids “aged around six” talking about the show and “re-enacting some scenes”). A school in Belgium also voiced concerns in a Facebook post that (based on a translation) suggested that kids were playing Squid Game games at recess and “the loser gets punched.” The moral panic has also popped up in South Korea, Australia, and Northern Ireland, while here in the U.S. a school in Florida raised the alarm about younger students watching the show.
While Rolling Stone obviously doesn’t condone violence of any kind, here’s hoping these kids secretly watching Squid Game are at least getting their first primer in the brutalities of capitalism that await them in the adult world.