Students and parents in the Sydney area claim school officials are “taking the fun out of Halloween” by removing costume parties.

Sydney River Elementary School is not allowing students to wear Halloween costumes to school on Oct. 31, saying the time would be better used teaching.

Parent Camilla Murphy says her ten-year-old son was devastated by the news.

"He came home yesterday and cried," said Murphy.

The school is one of several making the adjustment. Instead of costumes, the schools will have a “Black and Orange Day,” where students can wear those colours during class.

Murphy says they’re not letting the kids be kids. 

“She told me they have students who have a lot of stress and anxiety, so their solution is to take the fun out of school?" said Murphy.

The school board explains it's mostly about maximizing teaching time, and that the decision is left up to administration at each school.

"Sometimes (costume parties) take away from instructional time in the classroom," said Cathy MacNeil of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.

MacNeil adds some parents have complained about scarier costumes.

"We have some children who are quite anxious and costumes that show a lot of fake blood or weapons do cause them some anxiety," she said.

Sydney River Elementary School’s principal says she is still discussing it with both parents and students to find a solution that works best for everyone.

Some students and parents feel it is a disappointing break from tradition.

"It's just a shame to see the tradition that's been around so long to be taken away. But obviously the school has its best intentions," said parent Jenn Black.

Camilla Murphy says she intends to send her son in costume on Oct. 31 anyway.

"I have every intent on letting him wear his Halloween costume to school on Halloween," she said

Murphy adds other parents will keep trying to convince school officials to change their minds.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.