A group working to change the date of Halloween was dividing the country, so instead it opted to create a new “holiday”—National Trick or Treat Day.
The Halloween & Costume Association’s petition originally intended to move Halloween to the last Saturday of October, but evolved into an additional day of celebration after it faced some opposition. Now it has more 150,000 signatures and is backed by Party City.
The day has also made it on the National Day Calendar. This, the group says, makes the day officially official. At least as official as it can get.
According to the National Day Calendar website, there is an application process for “brands, nonprofits, and corporations to register an official National Day that aligns with their product or service.”
For reference, the site also lists in November a National Deviled Egg Day, National Chicken Lady Day and National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day.
Still, the Halloween & Costume Association has good intentions—to increase safety for children and help parents navigate a late-night holiday that often lands on a school night.
Here’s what parents need to know about the new holiday, with some help from Aneisha McMillan, who does marketing for the HCA.
What is National Trick or Treat Day?
National Trick or Treat Day (NTTD) is a day for families and communities to come together by “throwing block parties, community events, costume contests, parades, walks and runs, trunk-or-treating and daytime trick-or-treating as well,” McMillan tells USA TODAY.
“NTTD is just an additional day to celebrate Halloween.” The group is also referring to it as “ALLoween.”
When is National Trick or Treat Day?
The last Saturday of October. For Halloween 2019, that is Oct. 26.
How would Saturdays and daytime trick-or-treating improve Halloween?
HCA has a list of scary statistics on its petition concerning children’s safety on Halloween.
It notes that, on average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
The HCA also claims that many parents fail to use “high visibility aids” on costumes, flashlights or other measures to help prevent nighttime accidents.
Parents signing the petition also voiced concerns about the challenge to celebrate the event during a weekday when parents are working.
“It makes more sense to have it always on a Saturday so that we don’t have to worry about getting the kids home and in bed early for school the next day. Also, for most people, they wouldn’t have to worry about working that day or the day following,” one wrote as their reason for signing the petition.
Does this mean we should be prepared to pass out candy on two days?
Not necessarily. McMillan says there “are no rules” to NTTD and they are leaving celebrations up to neighborhoods, cities and communities. Just as city officials set trick-or-treating hours for Halloween night, cities have the ability to decide what’s best. In fact, some cities have changed trick-or-treating times due to inclement weather. This is the same concept.
How do I know if my community is participating?
McMillan expects NTTD to evolve over time through “grassroots” efforts and through local organizations and communities hosting NTTD events and activities. Parents and caregivers should check with area officials for any changes to trick-or-treating hours in their area.
Could the actual date of Halloween ever change?
Probably not. Halloween is not a federally-recognized holiday. The spooky tradition originated with the “ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts,” according to a History.com post detailing the history and evolution of Halloween.
If a U.S. president was so moved to change the date of Halloween, it would require the government passing a bill to make Halloween a federal holiday, then of course, setting the date to be the last Saturday of October.
Bottom line: It’s unlikely to happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the tradition whenever you want—though your neighbors might be confused when you show up at their door in costume asking for candy in July.
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