There’s a petition to change the day kids trick or treat and thousands have signed it
For years, parents concerned about bedtimes and safety have been working with the Halloween & Costume Association to change the day that kids celebrate Halloween — and this year they might actually succeed in getting it done. A viral petition to institute a brand new holiday just for trick-or-treating officially has over 100,000 signatures, which is the number required for the White House to consider a petition.
The petition was created on Change.org, and it calls for the last Saturday of October to be declared National Trick-Or-Treat Day. “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,” the petition explains.
The petition is actually an updated version of one that started circulating in 2018. Back then, the Halloween & Costume Association suggested moving Halloween to the last Saturday of October, instead of celebrating on October 31 each year. It was known as the “Saturday Halloween Movement,” and it was based on the idea that current Halloween traditions create a major time crunch for working parents and can pose safety hazards for kids. They cited their own research, which claims that there are 3,800 Halloween-related injuries each year, though they didn’t specify whether or not that number includes injuries to adults. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween as they are on other days of the year.
“Having trick or treat during the day would make for a much safer environment for our children,” explains Lauren Hignite, a mother who signed the petition and whose 9-year-old who was hit by a car while trick or treating.
Last year’s petition was met with mixed reactions from the public, which is why they’ve changed the goal and started pushing for a second holiday. “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,” they explain in the updated petition.
The change was announced at the end of July, and already the petition has almost 141,000 signatures. Even Snickers has gotten on board, promising free candy bars if the movement is successful.
Another signer, Ashley Heaton, writes, “I don’t understand why people don’t like this. As someone who absolutely LOVES Halloween, I am always down for more celebration … I'm surprised this hasn't already been a national thing already. Trick-or-treating on a school night has always sucked, and I hated it while I was in school!”
Despite the widespread support, many still aren’t on board with the idea of essentially celebrating two Halloweens. “Definitely deceiving and confusing,” a signer named Nellie Gonzales-Thompson notes. “This is just going to make everything more chaotic. We’re gonna have some people out trick-or-treating on Halloween and then out again on Saturday. Please revisit and do not add another ‘holiday’ to our calendars!”
Others were furious that the Halloween & Costume Association made changes to the original 2018 petition instead of creating a brand new one. Paula Demaris, who signed the 2018 version, writes, “What I initially thought was a great idea … now doesn't seem so great. Having two days is going to be confusing (and defeats the purpose), and adding Party City makes it feel like a marketing ploy to extend the holiday so people buy more to cover two days,” says Demaris. “I'd remove my name from this ‘evolved’ petition if I could.”
At the time of this writing, Change.org does give users the ability to make edits to existing petitions without losing the signatures they’ve already accrued. They also give those who’ve signed the petition 30 days to remove their signature, otherwise those users have to contact customer support in order to have their names taken off.
Given the number of signatures this petition has gotten so far, this could make its way to the White House. But just because 140,000 people like an idea doesn’t necessarily mean it will become a new tradition. Last year, the National Retail Federation reported that Americans spent $9.1 billion on Halloween, and that’s certainly a significant boost to the economy. The jury is still out on whether or not the majority of American parents would want to make Halloween even bigger and more costly.
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