Halloween Could Move To The Last Saturday Of October, If An Online Petition Gets Its Way

'It's time for a Safer, Longer, Stress-Free Celebration!' says the Halloween & Costume Association.

A woman gives candies to a young trick-or-treater.
2nd Lt. Jose R. Davis / United States Air Force (GPL Cropped and resized)

'It's time for a Safer, Longer, Stress-Free Celebration!' says the Halloween & Costume Association.

An online petition to move Halloween to the last Saturday of October is gaining steam, although whether or not that will ever happen remains to be seen.

As CNN reports, the Halloween & Costume Association, a trade group of costume and decoration manufacturers and retailers, would like to see Halloween moved to the last Saturday in October, much like how Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November, rather than a specific date.

In a Change.org petition, the group lays out the reasons why the date should be made flexible. Most of those reasons have to do with safety — having children out and about on a weeknight when it’s dark exposes them to too much traffic and other opportunities for danger. What’s more, having Halloween on a weeknight inconveniences parents, leading to too many kids trick-or-treating without adult supervision.

“Why cram it into 2 rushed evening weekday hours when it deserves a full day!?!”

Unfortunately, there are several reasons why this online petition is unlikely to change anything.

Online Petitions Aren’t Worth The Paper They’re Printed On

There’s no law that says lawmakers in any jurisdiction have to give consideration to online petitions, much less enact the things those petitions advocate for. About the best anyone can hope for is that lawmakers will learn about the petition in the media, see how many people have “signed” it, and perhaps try to make things happen.

children trick-or-treating
  popofatticus / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Halloween Isn’t Even An Official Holiday

Federal holidays, like Christmas Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, and so on, are considered as such because they were designated as holidays by federal law. Halloween and other “cultural” holidays like Saint Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo just kind of exist, without official recognition from the government.

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That means that Halloween is — as much as it’s a holiday at all — a strictly local one. Local governments can designate a day before or after Halloween as the official day for trick-or-treating, but the feds have nothing to do with it.

That’s not to say that some municipalities haven’t moved trick-or-treating days to days and times more convenient for them. For example, as Haunted Wisconsin reports, several municipalities in the Badger State are designated days other than Halloween as official trick-or-treating times. Although to be fair, most are sticking with the actual day of Halloween — which is a Thursday this year.

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, however, Halloween will still be October 31, regardless of which day trick-or-treating takes place. So if the petition succeeds, the day kids trick-or-treat may be moved to the last Saturday in October, but Halloween itself is, was, and always will be October 31.