Sleeping in on Nov. 1 – isn’t that the dream? But for the past three years, we have not had that luxury. We have had to cram our Halloween fun in the few hours before the start of a new school day.
If the date of Halloween was permanently moved to the weekend, we would have more time to actually enjoy the holiday – a holiday that American culture has already had the liberty of changing.
Fortunately, there is a petition organized by the nonprofit Halloween & Costume Association to officially move Halloween to the last Saturday of October, according to CNN. Since the petition started in 2018, almost 150,000 people have signed it, according to the nonprofit’s Change.org petition page.
“According to the petition, celebrating the holiday exclusively on Saturdays would increase safety as more parents would be available to trick-or-treat with their children,” Chicago Tribune reporter Bianca Sanchez wrote.
Celebrating on a Saturday also allows people to enjoy the holiday for the entire day rather than a couple of hours after school or work.
This change would not only benefit young children and their parents, but high school and college students as well. Even though Halloween calls for costumes, candy and – if you’re lucky – classroom potlucks, the demands of a normal school or work day persist. Homework assignments will still be due and classroom attendence will still be noted the following day.
When Halloween lands on a weekday, hopes for a proper celebration are inevitably crushed.
“I think with it being on Saturday, it takes away the perhaps hesitation of going because there’s no school the next day, so you don’t have to worry about having homework due the next day or waking up for your 8 a.m. So, I feel like a lot of people do miss out or not do anything if its during the week because they have responsibilities the next morning,” California Lutheran University junior Maya De la Torre said.
Moving Halloween to Saturday would also allow students to focus on their coursework during the week.
“I think that students who choose to celebrate Halloween on the 31st might be somewhat tired the next morning, depending on their celebration choices. Simply choosing to enjoy Halloween activities on the nearest Saturday would resolve the problem of morning fatigue,” said history professor Samuel Claussen, in an email interview.
Though moving Halloween to Saturday would benefit students, not everyone is ready to ditch the tradition of celebrating on the 31st just yet.
Claussen said the Catholic Church designated Nov. 1 as All Hollows Day and Oct. 31 as All Hallows Eve in the early Middle Ages.
“The activities that have taken place in this day have not always looked like our modern celebration of Halloween, but the date has been fairly constant in the Christian tradition,” Claussen said.
Since Halloween has been associated with the souls of the departed for so long, I can imagine why it would be difficult to cut ties with the historically and culturally significant date of the 31st, the day before All Hallows Day, since many cultures still celebrate this holy day.
“Since it’s been so prevalent in society for so many years I think it would be really difficult to get people to actually follow the new date. I think people would still celebrate it on Halloween or, excuse me, October 31st,” De la Torre said.
According to Halloween & Costume Association’s Change.org petition page, the group is launching an “#ALLoween campaign designed to support the all-day celebration of National Trick or Treat Day AND the time-honored traditions of Halloween on October 31st.”
Even advocates of the petition acknowledge the difficulty in separating Halloween from the 31st.
“The activities we enjoy on Halloween tend not to be religious in nature so the association of those activities with Oct. 31 is fairly arbitrary and certainly secular. Perhaps it would be best to divorce the name of Halloween from those festivities, though, as few of us are celebrating a medieval Catholic feast day anymore,” Claussen said.
Despite people’s reservations, I still believe celebrating on Saturdays would allow students more freedom to actually enjoy the holiday. It may be hard to think of October 31st as just another day, but when it comes down to it, American culture has already altered this once religious holiday. If we can commercialize this holiday, we can change the date.