A SCHOOL in Greenock has been criticised after telling pupils not to turn up in fancy dress to celebrate Halloween.

Ardgowan Primary does not want its older children should not don costumes - in what the schools says is an attempt to help parents save money.

Only youngsters in primaries one and two will be encouraged to take part.

Those in P3-7 have been asked to turn up in uniform as normal and the move has angered parents.

One woman, who does not want to be named, told the Tele: "I think it's sad and absolutely no fun that schools are not allowing children to dress up for Halloween. "It's discriminatory to allow some children and not others.

"Galoshans is a Scottish tradition.

"It can cost nothing to put a costume together.

"The two reasons offered for the decision are only allowing the younger children as the older children may frighten the younger ones and to keep the financial cost of the day down. "A group of mums are not happy.

"Some have a few children in the school with some younger and some older, therefore some children from the same house can dress up and others cannot.

"It's very sad."

The term 'galoshans', meaning guising, was invented in Greenock and is the name of the annual Halloween festival - part-funded by the council - celebrating the local tradition.

The leader of the SNP group on the council has publicly questioned the controversial decision.

Councillor Chris McEleny branded it 'political correctness gone mad'.

He said: "What's going on here?

"Why are Inverclyde Council schools not letting children dress up for Halloween?

"If the concern is cost then there's avenues to fix this."

But local authority officials have defended the move.

A council spokesman said: "Ardgowan - like every school in Inverclyde - will be celebrating Halloween.

"As part of a theme over recent weeks, pupils have been exploring ways to reduce the cost of the school day and ease the financial pressure on vulnerable families.

"Not wanting to add to that pressure by expecting children to dress up on Halloween, it was decided that P1 and P2 pupils would use costumes kindly donated to the school by parents and carers while older children would take part in class celebrations.

"Of course, if any P3 to P7 pupils were to arrive in costume that would not be an issue."