Halloween Petition to Move Trick-or-Treating Has So Many Signatures, It's Going to the White House

ackermannphoto/Twenty20

Kids trick-or-treating on Halloween
ackermannphoto/Twenty20

When the talk first started about changing the date of Halloween, it earned its fair share of eye rolls (including from yours truly). But in the last year, the argument has been picking up steam in a big way, with advocates finally putting the talk into action. Recently, the Halloween & Costume Association launched a Change.org petition calling for Halloween festivities to be moved from October 31 to the last Saturday of the month -- and it quickly gained enough signatures to be reviewed by the White House.

  • In just a few days, the petition (known as the "Saturday Halloween Movement") picked up some 123,000 signatures.

    And make no mistake; that's not small potatoes. According to WhiteHouse.gov, the White House is required to review and respond to any and all petitions that gain 100,000 or more signatures within 60 days. In other words, the fate of the cause is officially in the hands of the Trump administration, which could decide to change the centuries-old holiday tradition.

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  • To be clear, the petition doesn't actually ask to move the official date of Halloween -- just the trick-or-treating festivities.

    "Instead of changing the date that American’s celebrate Halloween, we will be adding an additional day of festivities in partnership with Party City and other brands," the petition reads. "National Trick or Treat Day will take place annually on the last Saturday of October so families across the country can participate in community parades, throw neighborhood parties and opt for daytime Trick or Treating."

    Granted, the whole fun of Halloween is kinda the trick-or-treating/costume parading of the day, but the nonprofit clearly doesn't want to rattle any cages by officially moving the date. 

    "We will launch the #ALLoween campaign designed to support the all-day celebration of National Trick or Treat Day AND the time-honored traditions of Halloween on October 31st," the petition explains.

  • The main goal is to create "a safer, longer, bigger celebration for ALL by making National Trick or Treat Day official!" the association declares.

    The group includes a whole lot of stats to back up the argument. 

    For instance, did you know that 3,800 Halloween-related injuries take place every year? Some of that has to do with the fact that trick-or-treating on a weekday forces kids to go out later at night, which can lead to some visibility issues. In fact, some 63 percent of kids don’t carry a flashlight while trick-or-treating, according to the petition -- something that's concerning when you learn that children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween

    Even more eye-opening: 12 percent of kids 5 and younger go trick-or-treating without the supervision of an adult, the nonprofit alleges. Moving trick-or-treat festivities to the weekend, when more parents are off from work and kids can go door-to-door earlier in the day, increases the safety factor. 

  • The movement has gained a lot of popularity in the last week -- even getting some major backing by Snickers, which made a pretty yummy promise.

    The candy bar company tweeted on Friday that if the White House does in fact move the date of trick-or-treating, it would offer 1 million free Snickers bars across America. (Naturally, that proposal made the deal even sweeter.)

    "Signed!!" tweeted one woman. "Totally down for this with 3 school aged kids!!"

  • Not everyone's on board with the movement, though. On Twitter, plenty of people questioned why this is really all that necessary.

    "NO," wrote one woman. "It is on October 31st for a reason. Stop messing with tradition."

    "I find it disturbing that over 60,000 people have a problem with having Hallowe’en on Hallowe’en," tweeted another person. "Christmas isn’t always on a Saturday -- perhaps these same folks will want to move it to the closest weekend as well. You know, for convenience!"

    (Honestly, they have a point!)

    Others argued that the whole Halloween safety argument is kind of moot, because moving it to the last Saturday of the month has its own issues.

    "Horrible idea," one woman said. "We’d be putting trick or treaters on the road with all the drunk drivers going to/from Halloween parties since most are held on the last Saturday of October. BIG NO!!!"

    "Safer?" another man added. "No. If anything it will make it more dangerous. If anyone would bother to look, they would find that the day of the week didn't matter where incidents were concerned. Halloween is what it is, no matter what day it falls on."

  • A lot of people also called out Snicker's tweet -- and the whole petition, for that matter -- as yet another ploy driven by Capitalist America.

    "Horrible idea!" one man tweeted back at Snickers. "The reason behind; more sales? Halloween is on the 31st of October, candy maker. And actually, there is reason for that. Convenience and tradition are 2 different things."

    "Sadly, convenience and commercialism are bylines today," responded another. "The Samhain tradition and All Hallows’ Eve should be respected."

    In fact, the very start of Halloween has its roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts -- not try to get candy.

    According to the History Channel: "In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating sweet treats."

    Perhaps moving the trick-or-treating festivities -- which weren't truly a part of Halloween to begin with -- would make more sense for families with young kids. But it is understandable how this whole thing sounds like one big ploy to make it an all-day affair that leads to more candy and costume purchases. 

    Hmm ... 

    For now, it's in the hands of the White House -- and time will tell if National Trick-or-Treating Day will soon become a thing.