Don’t mess with tradition: Halloween should be Oct. 31


photo via The LeSabre

Oct. 31: Halloween. For as long as anyone can remember, Halloween has been Oct. 31. Now, however, there’s debate over moving it, over altering a tradition that has been in place for 2,000 years!

So what’s the issue? Well, Oct. 31 often falls on a weekday. Earlier this year, the popular activist platform created a petition to move Halloween to the last Saturday in October, citing two main reasons: to prolong the day-of celebration of Halloween and to make it a safer day for children.

“51% Of Millennials say Halloween is their favorite holiday, why cram it into two rushed evening weekday hours when it deserves a full day!?!” said the Halloween and Costume Association, the petition’s creator.

The Halloween and Costume Association also said they wanted to make the day safer for children. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to the safety of children, twice as many kids are killed on Halloween than any other day. This is mainly because not all parents accompany their children while they are trick-or-treating, and restrictions on neighborhood vehicular traffic are limited. 

After hearing these arguments, more than 150,000 people signed the petition to move Halloween. Almost none of them realized the weight this decision carries. 

Many do not realize how long Halloween has been celebrated. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, in which people would wear costumes and light bonfires to ward of ghosts. In the eighteenth century, Pope Gregory III made Nov. 1st All Saints Day, continuing some of the traditions of the Celtics. Oct. 31st was then designated as All Hallows Eve, which later became Halloween. Beloved Halloween traditions developed over the next 2,000 years. 

Changing Halloween would disrupt an age-old tradition, essentially ignoring the cultures that inspired our modern conception of the day.

Furthermore, it’s not the right response to the proposed issues with Halloween. 

For me, a lover of Halloween, the preparation and anticipation are easily the best parts. I love decorating. I love picking and carving pumpkins. I love buying candy (and eating some). I love planning out costumes and waiting to wear them. More often than not, all of these activities occur before Halloween. 

Halloween is not celebrated on just one day. Preparation and even celebrations begin days or weeks before. When the Halloween and Costume Association says that Halloween should be on a weekend so people can celebrate longer, they’re ignoring the fact that this already happens.

Safety issues, the other point in the Halloween debate, can also be solved without changing the date of festivities. The reason children are not safe on Halloween is that they are often sent trick-or-treating by themselves. This is not a Halloween problem—it’s a parenting problem.

No parent should send their young children trick-or-treating by themselves, no matter the day. 

Sadly, in our day and age, parents do not always make the best decisions regarding child wellness. Moving Halloween to a Saturday would not solve this pressing issue. Kids would be at the same risk. 

The solution to the debate is simple: use the 30 days before Halloween to celebrate, and always make smart decisions when it comes to sending kids out. Keep old traditions while making new memories. Keep the true holiday spirit.