Halloween

It’s the first weekend of August, so it seems a little early to be mentioning Halloween. Or is it?

More than 120,000 people have signed a petition seeking to officially move Halloween from Oct. 31 to the last Saturday in October.

Syracuse.com reported this week that the Halloween and Costume Association started the petition on change.org, addressed to President Donald Trump, asking to officially change the holiday to be observed on weekends like other major U.S. holidays.

“It’s time for a Safer, Longer, Stress-Free Celebration! Let’s move Halloween to the last Saturday of October!” the petition says.

The Halloween and Costume Association says moving Halloween to be on a Saturday every year would allow adults, children and kids at heart to fully enjoy the holiday over a full day rather than “cram it into 2 rushed evening weekday hours.” Kids could also trick-or-treat earlier, with better visibility in the daytime instead of waiting for parents to get home from work.

The group cites safety stats, such as 3,800 Halloween-related injuries annually, in part because 82% of costumes don’t have a “high visibility aid” and 63% of children don’t carry a flashlight while trick-or-treating.

The petition started last year but picked up steam this week, gaining more than 50,000 signatures in the past five days.

Thrillist reports candy company Mars Inc. is also throwing its support behind the movement by offering to give away one million Snickers bars if Halloween gets moved to the last Saturday in October.

“Snickers is all in on celebration Halloween to the fullest,” Josh Olken, Snickers’s brand director, says. “If the federal government makes this thing official, we’re offering up to one million free Snickers to America. No tricks, only treats.”

The petition seeks 150,000 signatures. Trump, whose likeness is a popular Halloween costume choice, has not commented.

If Halloween were moved to the last Saturday of October, this year’s holiday would be observed on Oct. 26. Halloween 2019 will otherwise take place on Thursday, Oct. 31.

Of course, Halloween is traditionally observed Oct. 31, representing the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain that celebrates the new year (and the end of the harvest) on Nov. 1 — later designated All Saints Day by Pope Gregory III. Celebrations the night before, known as All Hallows Eve (and later Halloween), included bonfires and costumes to ward off ghosts.

As to whether it’s too early to consider Halloween, there’s this: a large banner has appeared on the Olean Center Mall space that was Bon-Ton, indicating the annual pop-up store is getting ready for business.

Halloween is not as far away as it might seem.

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