I admit I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween. I get tired of ghosts and goblins everywhere and spooky food on TV shows. Christian decorates the house with skulls and witches’ hats and gauzy material that is supposed to be scary but only scares me because I wonder how clean it is. Give me Christmas anytime.
But I am also a traditionalist. Now I read that the Halloween and Costume association wants to change the date. You know, the people who sell costumes, etc. This year, Halloween comes on Wednesday, and they’re afraid you won’t go all out and spend money. Kids will have school the next morning, parents have to work all day and can’t devote much time to costumes, etc. How many times do they think the holiday lands on a non-school night? Odds are against that. They didn’t say it’s about money, but it’s obviously what they’re thinking—crass commercialism wins again.
So they’re petitioning the sitting president to change Halloween to the last Saturday of the month. Heresy! Don’t they know the word literally translates to the night before All Hallowed Day? Don’t they know when the saints are abroad, and the dead arise from the grave? You can’t mess with God’s calendar. I don’t think even trump can issue such an executive order. And it’ll never get him more votes in the Latino community where Day of the Dead is a big deal. According to this business plan, Day of the Dead would always come on the sabbath. Now that’s just plain wrong.
One of the findings the business group cited to support their cause is that 70 percent of parents let their children go trick-or-treating alone. I’m not sure how that would change on a Saturday night, but I am sure they didn’t canvas my neighborhood, where Halloween is a big family affair.
For several years, I’ve gone to my next-door neighbors’ front porch. Susan makes a big pot of beef stew, we all chip in some candy, and it’s great fun. Ours is one of those neighborhoods where people bring their children from far parts of the city, and I’m always impressed by their manners. Parents are strict about “Only one piece” and “Did you say thank you?” We do get some older kids who are untended, but we’ve had few troublemakers.
Our neighborhood association with city officials arranges for two handicapped children to experience trick-or-treating. Neighbors on the next block routinely host that event. The street is closed to automobile traffic, and the chosen children arrive by ambulance, complete with a full medical team. That’s the kind of spirit I like to see about Halloween.
I guess I’d like Halloween better if we didn’t drag it out for three or four weeks. One night is fine and fun—but it must be October 31 and not just any old Saturday night. The very idea!