Change the Date of Halloween?

6 comments

I saw the article below in today’s Hartford Courant. Interesting thought! A state legislator wants to change the date of Halloween to ensure it always falls on a weekend to make our lives easier as working parents. Post a comment and let us know what you think!

State Lawmaker Wants to Change the Date of Halloween to Ensure it Always Falls on a Saturday

By DANIELA ALTIMARI

10:40 AM EDT, October 24, 2011

Everyone knows Halloween in celebrated on Oct. 31 but a state lawmaker wants to tamper with tradition to ensure the holiday is always marked on a weekend.

State Rep. Tim Larson is proposing that the legislature designate the last Saturday in October as Halloween. He says it would make the holiday less harried for working parents, safer for trick-or-treaters and boost the economy as well.

“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,” Larson, a Democrat who represents East Hartford and South Windsor, said in a statement outlining his proposal.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy doesn’t support the idea, said his press secretary, Juliet Manalan.

“The Governor is worried about confusing the ghosts, goblins, and witches – so he thinks leaving Halloween on Oct. 31st is the right thing to do,” Manalan said via email. “No disrespect intended toward Rep. Larson, of course.”

In a brief interview this morning, Larson acknowledged that the question of when to celebrate Halloween is not the most pressing matter on the legislative agenda. “Clearly this is not the highest priority,” he said. “But it does present an opportunity to make a safer, more enjoyable holiday. It’s a nice thing to help families out, neighbors can get out to see each other…it’s the small things that start sending a good vibe.”

Larson’s own children are grown now but he said he recalls the “Halloween rat race” of trying to get the kids fed and in their costumes on a busy weeknight. He said he came up with his proposal after talking with his wife, a middle school assistant principal, and some neighbors who have young children.

“It’s kind of a whimsical idea, but it’s smart from a common-sense safety perspective,” Larson said, explaining that celebrating Halloween on a Saturday would allow for earlier trick-or-treating when there’s still a bit of daylight left.

And while he doesn’t expect a windfall, marking Halloween on a Saturday could lead to more celebrations — and more Halloween-themed spending. “Halloween has also become one of the top holidays for retailers selling candy, decorations, costumes and general party supplies,” he said in his statement. “Jobs are created by this holiday, so let’s make it a little more fun and safe for everyone, and create some jobs too.”

Americans spend $7 billion annually on Halloween-related merchandise, according to the National Retail Federation.

Halloween isn’t an official state holiday, but Larson compares his proposal to the government proclamation that Thanksgiving be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

Halloween is a week away, so it’s far too late to make any changes for this year. However Larson said he hopes the issue will come up in the 2012 legislative session.

“This would be good for the economy and make Halloween a more family-friendly event every year,” he said in the statement. “Everyone looks forward to Halloween a little more when it falls on the weekend,” he said.

Copyright © 2011, The Hartford Courant

6 comments on “Change the Date of Halloween?”

  1. I’m in the minority that I kind of like the concept of changing the date. However, I completely agree that this isn’t worth our state lawmakers time!

  2. I agree–leave Halloween alone. Part of the excitement of Halloween as a kid was getting to go out on a school night! So you have one night of a disrupted schedule, suck it up!

  3. I think there are far more important issues here in Connecticut right now. This is not something our law makers should be worrying about at this point in time.

    Of course it is a pain in the ass, but seriously changing the date of the actual holiday itself? Someone on my Facebook page earlier made a great suggestion. Don’t change the day, just make the day after a state holiday so the kids don’t have school?

    Or just leave it be? I mean, we all did it when we were kids. Of course we were tired, and didn’t want to go to school… it is just one day. It is not the end of the world!

  4. Eh, I don’t know. At one time, Halloween was somewhat of a religious holiday, if I’m not mistaken. The Catholics declared November 1 to be All Saints’ Day, and the evening before became “All Hallows’ Eve” based on various cultural traditions worldwide, which in this country eventually morphed into Halloween, the cultural and secular celebration that it is known as today. But I still think changing the date would be akin to changing Christmas from December 25 to the last Saturday of December – it’s not a patriotic holiday having anything to do with our country or government, so it just feels wrong. Also, pagans in the U.S. have revived the ancient holiday of Samhain (which I believe has European origins of some kind?), falling around this time, and with similar themes, except that Samhain is a high holy day for them and not just a fun time to dress up in costumes and eat candy. It’s a part of our culture and people are going to celebrate it when they celebrate it. I think having the State officially recognize it on a Saturday every year is not worth the effort, and honestly, parents need to get over it and just shorten the time spent trick-or-treating if doing it on a weeknight would be that much of an issue. And finally, for our Legislature to be wasting their time on this when we have more pressing issues like a budget crisis and recession is pretty lame, IMHO.

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