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Sometimes, change isn’t necessary

Convenience is a noun meaning the state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty.

Perhaps that one word best describes a nationwide movement to convince President Trump and other federal authorities that Halloween should be observed at a more convenient time.

Yep…you read that right….folks want to move this annual tradition of dressing in costume and banging on doors to beg for candy. That’s the children’s wish list on Halloween. For others (adults), it’s an excuse to spend their money on make-up, outrageous clothing, and alcohol.

And why do they want to move it from its traditional calendar date of Oct. 31? Because it’s “convenient” for them.

The movement to change the observance of Halloween to the last Saturday in October was actually started in 2018 by the Halloween & Costume Association. There wasn’t much of a following at that time.

However, thanks to social media, this “change” is all the rage this year. An online petition was inching closer to its target of 75,000 signatures as of writing this column (on Friday, July 26).

“It’s time for a Safer, Longer, Stress-Free Celebration!” the organization wrote in its petition. “Let’s move Halloween to the last Saturday of October!”

On its website, change.org wrote: “Each year, Halloween falls on a different day. Naturally, the majority of those days are weekdays that children have school and parents have work. Since Halloween is primarily a kid related holiday, it would be more fun for children and easier on parents if the holiday was actually observed on the last Saturday of October. No one would have to rush home on a Monday, to get ready to Trick or Treat for a couple of hours before going to bed to go to work/school the next morning. Adults and children could enjoy the family holiday more without the worry of school/work. Celebrating Halloween on a Saturday also means adults would be able to party without the worry of going to work the next day.”

I do agree with the child safety concerns, as listed by the Association in its call to move the date to a weekend. They cite Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit dedicated to the safety of families and children, who proclaim that, “Twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween than any other day of the year.”

Well, guess what….children being accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult would be LESS likely to be killed or injured while walking on ANY day of the year. That’s my point and I’m sticking to it!

And then there is the push by the Millennials who, according to the Association, say Halloween is their favorite holiday….“why cram it into two rushed evening weekday hours when it deserves a full day!”

What many are not taking into consideration with this proposed change is that it’s not up to the POTUS to make this decision. Why? Because Halloween isn’t a federal holiday.

According to heavy.com, during approved government recognized holidays, all non-essential government offices are closed while federal employees continue to collect pay. None of these things happen on Halloween, because it’s not an official national holiday.

“Aside from the fact of how long it takes the government to sign any laws into action, since 1888, Congress has added only six federal holidays: Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Inauguration Day (only celebrated in the nation’s capital), Columbus Day and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. It’s highly unlikely Halloween will earn the federal stamp of approval,” stated heavy.com.

Personally speaking, as a history buff, Halloween – aka All Hallows Eve – has been around for thousands of years. It traces its roots to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints, and the day soon incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, which later became Halloween.

You will not find my name on this petition to change the day on which Halloween falls each year. Gee, what’s next…always having Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on a Wednesday and Thursday closest to Dec. 24 and 25? Forget about the real meaning of this special holiday…rather, it would be all about the convenience of a five-day weekend!

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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