Elementary schools around the country are throwing up the ‘Red Light’ on Squid Game Halloween costumes. The record-breaking Netflix show has sparked a renewed interest in playground games like Red Light/Green Light, but as USA Today notes, teachers and supervisors are reporting an uptick in “violent behavior.”
Squid Game is a survival drama in which a group of indebted contestants compete in deadly twists on children’s games for a shot at life-changing wealth. The series is rated TV-MA, and is intended for mature viewers. But the show’s popularity has apparently reached younger audiences.
Three elementary schools in the Fayetteville-Manlius School District are prohibiting the costumes, according to Superintendent Dr. Craig Tice. “Some of our younger students are talking about and mimicking aspects of the show/game at school,” he said in an email statement to Consequence, explaining that he wanted to make sure, “Parents and guardians would have the opportunity to speak with their children themselves about it and reinforce the school message that games associated with violent behavior are not appropriate for recess.”
Dr. Tice added, “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.” He noted that other costumes that are “too gory or scary,” including those with “toy guns or swords,” are also not allowed.
Similar sentiments are found in an October 13th Facebook post from the Bay District Schools in Florida. “There’s a popular show on Netflix right now called Squid Game that we can all agree isn’t suitable for young children,” the district wrote. “Some children are trying to replicate show scenes at school but what sounds harmless (who didn’t play Red Light/Green Light as a kid?) is not actually harmless because the game in the television show includes ‘elimination’ (death) and we are seeing kids trying to actually hurt each other in the name of this ‘game…’ We don’t want anyone to get hurt and we don’t want to generate discipline referrals for students who don’t really understand what they are re-enacting.”
However, some Bay District parents seem to think the school district is overreacting. “Asked my kid what was going on she said it was across between red light green light and dodge ball,” one parent commented. “I don’t see the problem.”
Another wrote, “Some of y’all never got clotheslined in a game of red rover and it shows.”
Consequence has reached out to Bay District Schools, but representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This isn’t the first time the fictional world Squid Games has impacted real life. Earlier this month it was dragged into the geopolitical conflict between North and South Korea, with propagandists in North Korea claiming it proved that life in South Korea is “brutal.”