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The petition to change Halloween
by TeenHelp October 2nd 2019, 08:26 PM

The petition to change Halloween
By Cassie (cynefin) and Haley (Halcyon)

Halloween enthusiasts are counting down to the holiday that has been celebrated on the last day of October for centuries. However, a petition was created last year to move the date of Halloween. Read on to find out more about the history of Halloween, the petition and how it has evolved.

All Hallows' Eve, or more commonly known as Halloween today, dates back to around 2,000 years ago and was originally a pagan religious festival, celebrated by the Celts to mark the end of summer and harvest season. The pagan festival 'Samhain' means 'summer's end' in Gaelic and took place annually; rituals included wearing costumes and lighting bonfires to ward off ghosts. Halloween became popular in America much later, when Irish immigrants fled there during the potato famine in the 19th century [source].

A petition to move the date of Halloween was started last year by the Halloween & Costume Association (HCA) with the intention of making Halloween safer. They wanted to move the date to the last Saturday in October. The petition gained popularity in July 2019 and many people commented about it on social media.

Those who supported the petition were in favour of making Halloween safer for their kids since not having a set day would mean that when the holiday happens to fall on a weekday, like this year, children will have to celebrate on a school night and in the dark. Someone also pointed out that "kids would not be hyper on candy when they go to school the next day". This would also benefit parents who work through the night and wouldn't be able to take their kids out on a weekday.

Halloween is also a favorite holiday for many kids as well as adults and moving the date to a Saturday would give fans more time to celebrate and enable more people to enjoy the holiday rather than cramming it all into one evening, making it a less stressful affair as well. On social media, others even suggested extending Halloween to the whole month of October.

On the flipside, some people who were against the petition pointed out that the holiday has evolved over time and many people already hold Halloween parties on a Friday night or over the weekend anyway. Some schools and workplaces even allow people to spend the day in costume. Others felt that if Halloween is moved, perhaps Christmas and other holidays should be moved as well, since Halloween is not the only holiday that can fall on an inconvenient day. Moreover, not all parents have Saturdays off work so changing the date won't necessarily be convenient for everyone.

Another side to this argument was that having a day entirely for celebrations would increase sales of costumes and people thought that it was just a way for industries to make more money. Also, Halloween is supposed to be spooky so celebrating at night is more fitting, and if parents are with their children or in the vicinity it isn't that dangerous.

To date, the petition has over 148,000 signatures and the organization that wanted to move Halloween's date now have new ideas in mind: in effort to bring people together, they want to designate an additional day to celebrate. The HCA has now coined the term "National Trick-or-Treat Day" which is desired to occur on the last Saturday in October. The campaign for this change officially began on September 13th, 2019 [source]. It is thought that this is a fair compromise: keeping Halloween on October 31st will preserve tradition and history, but it will also allow families with busy schedules to participate in the festivities on a weekend.

While some are in favor of this idea, many people are still concerned about Halloween's historical significance. Confusion over which day is most appropriate to trick-or-treat may also arise. Many questions will continue to resonate with Halloween enthusiasts. Should people trick-or-treat on the last Saturday of October, on the 31st, or on both nights? How do families and neighborhoods decide on what day to light up their jack-o-lanterns and hand out candy? If trick-or-treating is to only occur on the last Saturday of the month, how will Halloween be celebrated on the 31st?

Any decision regarding Halloween's celebration is likely to leave people unhappy because not everyone can be pleased. If there are changes to Halloween, can the history and traditions be preserved? Should people intervene, or leave well enough alone? The answers to these questions remain to be seen. What answers are you rooting for?
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