Friday, October 28, 2011

October 31

This afternoon a student asked me if I knew when the city was planning to hold Halloween.  I'm afraid I scared her a little with the rant I offered in reply.

Before last year, I had never encountered this notion of rescheduling Halloween.  In 2010, October 31 fell on a Sunday.  For weeks ahead of time, people were asking whether Conway officials would issue an edict moving trick-or-treating to Saturday, to avoid conflicts with Sunday evening church services.

I know that some of you will find this bizarre because of the religious angle; I found it bizarre despite my Southern evangelical in-church-every-time-the-doors-were-open upbringing.  When Halloween conflicted with church, we trick-or-treated early, late, or not at all.  We didn't ask elected officials to get involved to protect our God-given right to dress up in non-occult and non-slasher-movie costumes and solicit candy around the neighborhood.

Here's why you can't reschedule Halloween.  Number one: It's a day on the liturgical calendar -- All Saint's Day Eve.  That's not under secular control.

Number two, and more important: You can't get the memo to everyone.  To its credit, that's how the city responded last when the hue and cry arose.  They got the word out to the papers that the city was taking no action so that there wouldn't be an incomplete penetration of the news, meaning some people would expect trick-or-treaters on Saturday and some on Sunday.  Disappointed kids and embarrassed doorbell-answering would ensue.

And number three: There is no problem to be solved here.  Are we concerned that Halloween falls on a school night?  That happens most years.  Why is it suddenly unacceptable?  Trying to move it creates far more problems, because people are uncertain about what they're supposed to do and are afraid of doing the wrong thing.

All we have to do is have Halloween on Halloween.  No issues whatsoever.  Everybody chill and stop calling City Hall.  End of rant.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Hmm, I seem to recall that trick or treating (ie., Beggars Night) was rarely, if ever, on Halloween when I was a kid. I want to say it was usually on the Thursday before Halloween.

The communities in the area where I live now don't necessarily have it on the 31st. (If anything, there's been closer to a unanimity to having it on Halloween in recent years.) Here's one explanation.