A holiday coordination problem

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While sitting around last night waiting to give away free candy I had the opportunity to think about the Halloween coordination problem. 70% of the time Halloween falls on a school night, which is obviously inconvenient for taking kids out for trick or treating. Halloween is actually uniquely bad in this respect, for three reasons:
  • It's tied to a specific date rather than to a specific day in the week like Thanksgiving is.
  • It's not an official holiday so you don't get a day off afterward, unlike the 4th of July and New Year's.
  • It's kid oriented but also tied to things being dark. That happens around 6 here, so it's already getting towards a lot of kids' bedtimes.

Obviously, it would be better for everyone if we agreed to celebrate Halloween on a Friday or Saturday night (it's not like the particular date is significant to even one person in ten these days) but since everyone has to do it one the same night (also uniquely bad, by the way) for it to be a success, the coordination problem is insurmountable. A government law "moving" Halloween would be weird, but we could certainly make Nov 1 a day off, like we do with New Year's Day.

8 Comments

In California (and probably lots of other places), schools have a handful of days where the students don't come in but the teachers have meeting, training, and so on. The jargon is "in-service" days.

My older niece's school (a combo middle school and high school) plans one of the in-service days for Nov. 1 if that is a school day. The kids like it, the teachers like having one fewer days where the kids will be distracted, and so on.

Somehow, I'm reminded of (Noel) Paul Stookey's characterization of Halloween (on this album, in his introduction to "A' Soalin'") as a night when armed children go around the neighbourhood demanding protection money.

Wouldn't it be convenient a one-day-only daylight savings time (moratorium on standard time) as well, so that kids can go door-to-door while it's still light out?

Before any naysayers get involved and say I'm taking the fun out of Halowe'en, two words: safety first. Please won't somebody please think of the children?

@Paul:

Starting in 2007, standard time in the US will resume a week later, on the 1st Sunday in November, as mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Policy_Act_of_2005)

I, for one, welcome our child safety promoting chronological overlords.

In the town in Oklahoma where I grew up, the city usually moved Halloween to a Friday (especially if it fell on Wednesday, when a lot of people went to church in the evenings.)

So this does happen. It would be strange at a national level, but it seemed perfectly normal at a local level.

In those parts of the world that have not yet shaken off the shackles of Popish dominance, we actually make November 1 a holiday. Of course, we also do not have the kind of massive Halloween celebration that got you to consider it.

My troll backfired because the U.S. will *actually* push the end of DST to November, as Chris aptly pointed out.

So, I hereby reverse my position.

Daylight savings time is the tool of the devil (as is the metric system), and ruins Hallowe'en. Kids need darkness for the Pagan celebrations to be fully realized.

Before any naysayers get involved and say I'm trying to take the newfound safety out of Halowe'en, five words: kids need to have fun! Please won't somebody please think of the children?

I guess there are no Catholics in this crowd. We've had All Saints Day (11/1) as a school holiday for years.

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