This week I heard that a Connecticut legislator, Tim Larson, has introduced a bill in the state’s legislature to mandate that Halloween be celebrated on the Saturday before its October 31st date. The reason given is that Halloween festivities on weekday nights cause problems for children and parents getting to school and work the following morning as well as interfering with family fun. Mr. Larson feels that having Halloween festivities on a weekday work and school night rushes the whole fun experience and detracts from what should be an enjoyable family experience.
Mr. Larson also thinks that designating the last Saturday in October as Halloween would be a jobs creator and boost for the economy. He points out that Halloween celebrations have grown in recent years and it is no longer just a children’s event. Changing Halloween to a Saturday would result in retailers selling more candy, costumes, party items and costumes, thereby giving the economy a boost.
Connecticut Governor Malloy doesn’t agree. His office said that “The Governor is worried about confusing the ghosts and goblins and witches – so he thinks leaving Halloween on October 31st is the right thing to do.”
While Halloween is not an “official” holiday, there are other holidays that have been constrained to a particular day of the week. These include Thanksgiving being the 4th Thursday of November and Labor Day – the first Monday of September. These holidays have never had a specific date associated with them. Other holidays like the Fourth of July and Memorial Day have been celebrated on whichever Friday or Monday is closest to the actual date. What were formerly two holidays – Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday – have been conjoined together into Presidents’ Day.
Halloween on October 31st has some history attached to it. Although it is now a secular holiday, historically it originated with the Catholic traditional “all Hallow’s Eve”, the day before the Catholic day of obligation – All Saint’s Day on November 1st. There is also a theory that it originated, at least in part, from a 5th century Druid custom recognizing the end of the growing season.
Does moving the date of any traditional celebration take anything away from it or, conversely, add to it? Personally, I like Halloween on October 31st. What do you think?