A petition made at Change.org is going viral after garnering nearly 60,000 signatures to officially change the date of Halloween from October 31, to the last Saturday of the month. Even though petition was originally drafted last year to little fan fare, it started pick up steam in July and is now going viral, expected way surpass its goal of 75,000 signatures.
Created by the non-profit Halloween & Costume Association, once they’ve secured their goal number of signatures, the petition to make Halloween a shifting holiday like Thanksgiving, which is always held in November on the last Thursday of the month, will be sent to the President for consideration. Halloween 2019 is set to take place on a Thursday, but the petition states moving the holiday to a Saturday is “safer” and will make for a more “stress free” celebration with more available day-time hours for kids to trick-or-treat.
While the the petition is well-intentioned, makes plenty of great points, and most Americans would love to celebrate Halloween on a Saturday instead of a week night, it’s an ill-fated movement for numerous reasons.
Halloween is Not a Federal Holiday
Even if the petition gains hundreds of thousands of signatures, the President can not actually do anything to change the date of Halloween since it is not a federal holiday like Thanksgiving. 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.
However, let’s say the President was incredibly moved by this petition, as it presents affecting informed stats such as how there are “3,800 Halloween related injuries each year,” and that “70 percent of parents don’t accompany their children trick-or-treating,” Trump would have to first push the legislative branch of the government to pass a bill making Halloween a government regulated holiday, and then sign it into law.
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. While Halloween, which is also known as All Saints’ Eve, or All Hallows’ Eve, is a holiday that dates back thousands of years and is celebrated around the world on October 31 — it’s highly unlikely Halloween will earn the federal stamp of approval.
The True Ancient History of Halloween
According to the History Channel, Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts, and in the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints, and All Saints Day was weaved into the traditions of Samhain. In this respect, changing the date of Halloween would be tossing out the holiday’s true ancient history.
Fun Fact: There’s Nothing Stopping Anyone From Celebrating on Saturday
Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities that people of all religions celebrate today, by giving out candy, dressing up in costume, and decorating their homes with ghost decorations and carved pumpkins. And while it would be awesome to have always have Halloween on a Saturday, there’s nothing actually stopping anyone from doing so.
In fact, numerous cities pick a separate designated day near Halloween’s date for kids to safely trick-or-treat. As for adults, most modern day Halloween fans wanting throw costume parties, already pick the Saturday closest to October 31 to host. Privately owned businesses, such as clubs and bars have also leaned into the fact that they can pick any night of the week to have their Halloween celebration.
Lastly, not everyone has Saturday off from work. While this shift in date would be mindful of school kids going trick-or-treating, it doesn’t mean their parents will be able to take them around the neighborhood any more than they would on a weekday night.