All Hallows Eve is tomorrow, and many events are planned throughout Polk County, from downtown trick-or-treats to costume parties at homes and bars and restaurants.
A few petitions are getting some attention on change.org to move Halloween to the last Saturday of every October, rather than honor the traditional Oct. 31 date. The arguments range from increased participation due to people not having school or work, to a case to get people to spend more money on costumes and candy.
Halloween is Oct. 31 for a reason. According to History.com and census.gov, it originated with the Celtic festival Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off spirits, as the veil between the living and the dead became very thin.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated Nov. 1 as a time to honor all saints, All Saints Day. Oct. 31 also starts the Mexican tradition Day of the Dead, a time to when family and friends gather to pray for and honor those who have died, and help them on their spiritual journeys.
Halloween has changed through the centuries and decades, particularly as it came from European cultures to America — pumpkins are more fun to carve than turnips, for example. It became a time of celebration with family and friends, as communities threw parties together and neighbors walked through the streets trick or treating. In fact, trick-or-treat is a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share in the Halloween celebrations.
Halloween is a huge infusion into the economy, even when it falls on a Thursday. Last year, Americans spent about $9 billion on the holiday (it was a Wednesday last year). It is second only to Christmas as far as spending goes. Moving it to a Saturday may increase the spending, but at the cost of losing so much tradition.
We hope you all have a very safe and happy Halloween. Get to know your downtowns by participating in the business trick-or-treats, and follow it up with a walk around your neighborhood. It’s a great way to get to know everyone, and may be the only time of year people will get to see their neighbors. Watch out for traffic (and drivers, watch out for kids and families!), bring a flashlight, be kind to each other, and share treats — no tricks.