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Monday, October 29 2018 10:46

The "Saturday Halloween Movement" is Another Ridiculous Part of 2018

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It's Monday morning as I write this, and as has been the case in recent years, there's a feeling of disappointment. You see, yesterday was trick-or-treat day where we live here in Illinois - 1-4pm on a Sunday. The next subdivision over (literally around the corner and across the street) is a different town and will do theirs on Wednesday, Halloween proper.

For years this has slightly bothered me as certain grownups are sucking the fun out of Halloween - just as they do many other things. Now there’s an official “Saturday Halloween Movement” that’s found what I believe to be a surprising amount of supporters with a petition currently sitting at around 27k signatures as of this writing. These signatures come from folks who wish to “move Halloween to the last Saturday in October.” This is WRONG. I’ve actually written about this in the past (as early as 2012 and again in 2013) - the idea of trick-or-treating the weekend before Halloween. I don’t agree with it for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it takes a lot of the magic of Halloween night away. Halloween will ALWAYS be 10/31, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous. Just like Christmas doesn’t occur on 12/21.

The solution is to do what people are already doing - have trick-or-treating on a different day if desired - but don’t start petitions to move a holiday. It’s selfish and whiny. Personally, I enjoy doing Halloween activities with our family all month long (every weekend) but they’re all leading up to the main event... that special night on 10/31. And then we flip the switch for the Holiday music beginning 11/1, and of course there are those who will fight me on that one as well.

Yesterday, I posted the following photo on Facebook along with a shortened version of this very entry. The conversation, thus far, has been lively:

This has nothing to do with "scoring free candy" or saying that you can't enjoy Halloween fun elsewhere in the month. It's about keeping a tradition alive - one that has brought joy to children for countless years. It's about family, community, and having fun together... but doing it on the day for which it was intended. Yes, there are safety issues. Yes, we are all busy.  Yes, Halloween takes place on a school night more often than not... but kids typically have other weeknight activities as well, so complaining about that doesn't hold a ton of weight. 

So where did the Saturday Halloween Movement start? A surprising source: The Halloween & Costume Association.  As the name implies, this non-profit represents the Halloween and costume industries, so they've garnered some support from big players like Rubie's Costume Company. Their goal is to get enough signatures that their petition crosses the threshold that legally mandates a response from The White House. In other words, they want the Saturday Halloween Movement to reach the desk of President Donald Trump. 

The points that they're using to gain support are as follows:

  • 3,800 Halloween-related injuries each year. Talk to your kids about safety before they head out!
  • 82% of parents don’t use high visibility aids on their costume, be sure to incorporate reflective tape, glow sticks, finger lights or light up accessories
  • 63% of children don’t carry a flashlight while they are tick-or-treating. Grab a clip-on light if they don’t want to carry one! Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween. Discuss safety, pre-plan a route, stay on side walks and use cross walks
  • 65% of parents don’t discuss Halloween safety with their children. Talk with your kids and offer ways to ensure a fun and safe experience
  • 70% of parents don’t accompany their children trick-or-treating. You’re never too old to trick-or-treat! Grab a costume and take advantage of some good ol' fashioned family bonding!
  • 51% Of Millennials say Halloween is their favorite holiday, why cram it into 2 rushed evening weekday hours when it deserves a full day!?!

There's some great points and data here, but to put this in perspective before rewarding this nonsense with a bunch of likes and shares, there's around 325 million people in the U.S., so if there are indeed 3,800 Halloween-related injuries, that's just 0.0011692307692307692% of the population.  As for glow-sticks and flashlights, I'm willing to bet that many of those surveyed already do daytime Halloween so they have no need to purchase or carry those. Everything else when it comes to talking with kids about safety is something easily fixable, and no one is saying that trick-or-treating is a two-hour affair. 

Of course, the petition does come with an opt-in to share your information with the costume companies "for future campaigns," so let's just call this what it really is: a marketing opportunity. It's working, too - with coverage in the mainstream media and on niche sites like this one. But did they speak with Spirit Halloween and Halloween City about the prospect of cutting the selling season short by a few days? And all of this doesn't even touch upon the fact that Halloween actually holds religious significance for some.

Bottom line: There’s nothing stopping anyone from having Halloween fun the weekend before Halloween... but that’s exactly what it is: The weekend BEFORE Halloween.

Keep Halloween fun! Keep Halloween safe! Keep Halloween spooky! But most of all, keep Halloween on 10/31!

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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