Each year as Halloween rolls closer, commentary on the “evils” surrounding the holiday ring more loudly. I’m not sure if critics of the holiday have truly multiplied, or if my awareness to them has piqued as I grew older. IMO, thing are what you make of them. If you create a giant hoopla about how “evil” Halloween is, you will begin to focus only on the negative aspects and suck any enjoyment out of the holiday for everyone around you. OR you can choose to focus on the fun parts of the holiday–carving pumpkins, dressing up and “begging” for candy, putting out decorations, going on hayrides–the list could go on. General evil connotation aside, this year’s hoopla circles a much bigger controversy–though, once every 6 years this same dilemma occurs.
This year, the 31st falls on a Sunday, causing many communities to officially change their trick or treating hours. Some communities ask parents to wait and take their children on Monday, Nov. 1, while many others are hosting celebrations the evening before on Saturday, the 30th. In Louisiana, a city ordinance requires the celebration of Halloween to be moved. Any individuals who fail to comply face stiff penalties of up to 30 days in jail (this means anyone trick or treating, dressing in costume, passing out candy, etc).
Concerns range from honoring the devil on the Lord’s day to children being out late on a school night and going to school on Monday still “cracked out” on sugar. Even retail CEO Steven Silverstein (Spencer’s Gifts) hopes to petition to have Halloween officially fall on the last Saturday of October each year (surely for the children, of course–NOT due to the potential increase of revenue sales which occurs on weekends).
What purpose does changing the date of Halloween serve? Will changing the date of Halloween reduce its “evil nature” or is this merely another attempt at increasing the “convenience” factor of America? The ACLU has criticized the proposals, citing the religious roots of the holiday overrule any governmental influence over its observance. While I agree that the holiday itself has become secularized in America, commonly associated with activities listed below (thank Wikipedia contributors)
“trick-or-treating, wearing costumes and attending costume parties, carving jack-o’-lanterns, ghost tours, bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, committing pranks, telling ghost stories or other frightening tales, and watching horror films,”
I do not feel this gives communities the right to in any way alter the official celebration of the holiday. I am not Pagan, nor do I partake in any demonic celebrations (for those who mistakenly believe this is the purpose of the holiday–my advice: do your research on the history of Halloween BEFORE you sound ignorant). However, my participation (however secular) in any given holiday does not automatically grant me any sort of ownership or influence over the official holiday.
Luckily, my community has not picked up on the latest trend of moving holiday celebrations. Halloween will remain on the traditional date of October 31st. I for one will be decked out in appropriately scary attire, handing out candy to any little munchkins who come to my door while simultaneously encouraging my husband to hide in the bushes and scare off any hooligans. Should trick or treaters ever come to my door on any day other than the 31st, my porch light will be off and I will NOT be answering the door for them. Respect the holiday and reap the rewards.IF you do not approve of Halloween being on a Sunday, the solution is quite simple: don’t celebrate it. There are plenty of alternate options available by churches, including bonfires, carnivals, and “trunk or treat” celebrations. Your kids don’t have to miss out on any of the celebration (though if you were truly THAT offended by the holiday, you probably shouldn’t be letting your children participate anyway) and you are not interfering with others’ traditional celebrations. IF you are concerned about your children going to school hopped up on candy Monday morning, another simple solution: don’t let them eat ALL of it in one night. YOU are the adult. YOU are responsible for your child’s well-being, not for befriending them and keeping them “happy” by letting them do as they please.