Have you ever heard something that you never previously considered but once you hear it, seems to be the most obvious thing in the world?
Last week, I was listening to the radio on my way to work when STAR 99.9 morning show hosts Anna & Raven began talking about their petition to create a statewide “Trick or Treat Day” to occur on the last Saturday of October. This would not change the holiday itself, just the day of celebration, to ensure kids would always be trick-or-treating on a weekend instead of struggling to fit it in on a school night five out of seven years.
Listeners called in to discuss the plusses and minuses (and did I say plusses?) of this change, and Senator Bob Duff was on the line to comment on the governmental process for getting it on the books.
Halloween is fun when you are a child and young adult, and even when you have babies and toddlers who let you dress them up but have little understanding of time and a low tolerance for lengthy neighborhood walks. But once the kids hit elementary school, it becomes hard work.
When Halloween falls mid-week, as it does this year, it can be more of a burden than a celebration. Adults rush home from work (hopefully closely watching for trick or treaters in the dark roads) to allow time for dinner and costuming before trick or treating, all while answering the door for the earlier crowd. Then we rush the kids through the streets and back home for a decent bedtime — an impossible goal for a child covered in makeup, overstimulated from blinking orange decorations and glowlights, and running on sugar, sugar, and more sugar. It’s a skilled parent who is able to get their child home, bathed, and calmed enough to fall asleep within even an hour of normal bedtime. Most of us lose hours. And we are all punished on Nov. 1, kids, parents and most of all, teachers.
When Halloween falls on a weekend, it’s so much more carefree. Adults can celebrate along with their children, and maybe attend parties after the trick-or-treating. Traffic is light as most people are secured at home preparing for the big night. The neighborhood walks can be done before the sky goes dark.
I’m still surprised that this change has not already been enacted, considering how many other holidays have been moved or scheduled for convenience rather than on an actual date. Washington and Lincoln’s birthday once fell on specific days but are now celebrated on one glorious long weekend. Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and Labor Day all occupy the same square on the calendar each year (same day, different date). July 4th is about the only one that can’t stay put, even if it wanted to.
Senator Duff noted that not just each state, but each town could schedule their own night for trick-or-treating, which could lead particularly enterprising children to find ways to enjoy multiple candy nights across Fairfield County. You may remember this happened a few years ago when a heavy October storm led Darien and neighboring towns to cancel activities on Oct. 31. In addition to the multiple makeup dates chosen by individual towns, this cancellation also led to many organizations creating their own events such as “trunk or treat”, in which cars in parking lots stand in for homes in neighborhoods. Many of these trunk-or-treats are still in place, already allowing for multiple candy grabs even without a new ordinance or weather cancellation.
Apparently, this is not the first time we have petitioned for a change of Halloween in Connecticut. State Representative Larson first floated the idea back in 2011, arguing that “Halloween is fun night for the whole family, but not so much when you have to race home from work, get the kids ready for trick-or-treating, welcome the neighborhood children, and then try to get everyone to bed for an early school and work morning.” I couldn’t find much of a reaction to Larson’s proposal overall, but it wasn’t supported by Gov. Malloy, whose press secretary at the time replied via email, “The Governor is worried about confusing the ghosts, goblins, and witches – so he thinks leaving Halloween on Oct. 31 is the right thing to do.” Um, ok.
A quick internet search surprisingly did not yield information on any other states that might have considered this idea, though I did find out that there was a national push to move Election Day from Tuesday to a weekend a few years back which makes sense too (you know, allowing working voters easier access to the polls and keeping the kids in school)…but we have an extra week to talk about that one.
Back to Halloween, you can sign the petition to create “Trick or Treating Day” on the last Saturday in October (starting 2018) by visiting http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/create-trick-or-treat/ or find the link on the Anna & Raven show at www.star999.com. Go ahead, there’s nothing to be scared of!
Rebecca Martorella, LMFT welcomes ideas and comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.