Send Your Kids to College, Keep Your Money at Home
A CREEPY CHANGE THE SPECTER LOOMING OVER HALLOWEEN
As hard as it is to believe, Halloween is almost upon us. At our house, the decorations are already going up, and we’re stockpiling bags of candy. I haven’t decided if I’m going to come to the door in costume this year or not, but I should probably get on that. But, to tell you the truth, I’ve been a little distracted by the proposed measures to change this fun-filled holiday. Some of you may be familiar with the petition making noise nationally, calling for Halloween to be moved to the last Saturday of October — like a candy-filled Thanksgiving. Maybe a few of our readers even support the measure. I don’t blame you; the convenience of trick-or-treating over the weekend is a strong reason to make the change. But, if you ask me, the negatives far outweigh just avoiding a late school night. I’ll start with the obvious. Halloween got its name from the shortening of All Hallows’ Eve, or the eve of All Saints’ Day, which has landed on Nov. 1 since roughly 731 A.D. In fact, Pope Gregory III inadvertently laid the foundations for our modern Halloween celebrations by choosing this date, which happened to coincide with the Celtic pagan holiday Samhain. This harvest festival placed a focus on the afterlife and was often celebrated by dressing up in costumes. Regardless of your faith, divorcing All Hallows’ Eve from this rich history would be a real shame. But my concerns don’t stop at the historical and theological — plenty of practical reasons support keeping the spookiest day of the year on the 31st. The most important is keeping Halloween from becoming another New Year’s Eve. Making it a weekend holiday will explicitly tie it to partying. Many adults already throw costume parties on the closest weekend to Halloween, but this move might explicitly tie the holiday to drinking with potentially dire consequences. Regardless of what day it lands on, Halloween is sadly one of the most dangerous days for kids. Because of the increased foot traffic from trick-or-treating, more children are hit by cars during the holiday than any other time of the year. One can only imagine how
much these rates would skyrocket if you add drunk drivers to the mix year after year. If you ask me, this change makes Halloween less safe. But let’s get to the root of where this idea came from in the first place. Originally a nonprofit organization representing costume and Halloween decoration companies started the petition. Since then, some major candy companies, including Mars, Inc., have started championing the cause. Their motivation is easy to see. If Halloween’s never on a school night, kids can stay out later and get more candy, meaning those of us manning the door better stock up on even more sugary treats. So, I ask you: Do we really want to see Halloween commodified more than it is? Are we really willing to divorce the day from its roots, all in the name of a little more convenience and a lot more candy? Time will tell, I suppose. For now, it’s fitting that this whole thing has me spooked.
–Bra nnon Lloyd
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