October 31, 2012

Editorial: In defense of Halloween

Halloween is having a rough go of it this year.

First, there was Hurricane Sandy, threatening to blow the kids off the street, if forecasts were to be believed. The North Country was bracing for a storm of tremendous proportions; Sandy was supposed to storm in Monday and make life miserable for days.

There was so much trepidation that a woman from Champlain, Sarah Miller, started a Facebook campaign to have trick-or-treating moved to Saturday, Nov. 3. She wanted to spread the word in Clinton and Essex counties, as well as northern Vermont, and see if she could get people to delay Halloween. At least 100 people signed up.

But then Sandy fizzled in our area, conjuring up nothing more than a little rain and wind. While the forecast for tonight definitely involves rain, it won’t be any worse a Halloween night, weather-wise, than we have seen in years past. That’s probably fortunate because efforts to move Halloween don’t usually work out. Because it’s almost impossible to get everyone to go along with it, you can wind up with people having to prepare for two Halloweens: one on Oct. 31 and another on the rescheduled day. That would be even more difficult for people to manage — both from the aspect of dishing out candy and collecting it.

Every now and then, nationally, someone tries to get Halloween permanently moved to a Saturday. That effort never seems to take hold, either. In this area, people who aren’t interested in sending their kids out on a mid-week candy excursion can instead attend the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department’s annual Trick or Treat on Safety Street.

Halloween has been turned into a bad guy at a few local schools, with some banning costumes or parties. Yes, we know, it is not much fun to deal with a bunch of little kids revved up by costumes and candy. But we are talking one day a year! Educators complain about how federal and state mandates are taking all the creativity and fun out of school. Well, you can’t argue against that and then turn around and say that Halloween distracts kids from their studies.

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