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Pros and Cons if municipalities change the Halloween trick-or-treat date for weather

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boy and girl holding carved pumpkins for Halloween

Why some areas have changed the trick or treat date

In years past, it was almost unheard of to trick-or-treat on any day other than October 31st.

Today, more and more municipalities – and even individual neighborhoods and homeowner’s associations – are changing trick-or-treat dates for Halloween based on forecast inclement weather.

Some cities who are anticipating unusually high traffic volumes due to concerts on October 31st (for example, a concert or sporting event) are considering making changes for reasons of traffic.

Let’s take a look at both sides of the argument, then I'll talk about how parents can deal with this problem while still keeping their sanity.

If you're a municipal officer reading this, you're probably aware there are significant pros and cons with each decision. It's important to know what these are going to be and what you're letting your city in for by either keeping or changing the trick-or-treat date. Let's take a look:

Pros of changing the trick-or-treat date

  • Allows children to enjoy the event to the fullest, since they're only young once. Because Halloween comes around only once a year, those in favor of changing the day want to have the children enjoy the event to the fullest and trick or treat as much as possible. If a big snowstorm – or worse, an ice storm – comes into town, children may literally be snowed in at home. They may be limited to trick-or-treating just one or two houses away.
  • Safety of walkers. Changing the trick-or-treat date for Halloween can help keep walkers safe. Many families bring strollers or wagons trick-or-treating, and excessively wet or snowy weather can pose safety problems for those. Likewise, it's harder for pedestrians crossing the road to maintain visibility to drivers in rainy weather. In the case of unusually high traffic patterns even in good weather, each Halloween there are traffic accidents causing harm to child pedestrian trick-or-treaters. High traffic volumes due to concerts drawing a large out-of-town crowd compounds the problem further: more traffic, and more people coming in from other areas who are not familiar with the local roads or directions putting local kids at risk.
  • Allows costumes to be displayed fully, without cold weather gear or rain gear. Changing the Halloween trick or treat date to one with better weather means costumes are more visible. There is less need for kids to put coats, jackets or rain gear on top of their costume.

Cons of changing the Halloween trick-or-treat date

  • People are likely to already have other plans on the new date, making the new trick-or-treat event less populated. Another problem is for those hosting an event. Parents hosting a Halloween party on the trick-or-treat date are then put in an awkward spot when the date is changed if they had other plans then. It's embarrassing to have to cancel a party when the city changed the date to something that doesn't work for you. Even if the party isn't canceled, not all guests will be able to attend if they had other plans on the new date. Also, neighbors who had planned to give out Halloween candy on the original date may not be available on the new date.
  • Other events that were purposely scheduled NOT to coincide with the original October 31st trick or treating are now disrupted by trick-or-treating. For example, school fundraisers that were originally scheduled for another nearby day are now unable to go ahead as originally planned because trick-or-treating now occupies that date. Another danger is that moving a trick-or-treat date for weather reasons may then cause it to fall on the same date as a major traffic event, for example a concert that had purposely been scheduled not to be on October 31st. So one problem is solved, but a new problem is created.
  • Other dates such as Thanksgiving are not moved for reasons of weather, and this is a normal part of life. Parents simply need to use good judgment about how long or how far away the child can go for trick-or-treating. If the weather is severe, so be it – that happens some years. That is the case for certain other holidays, and no-one talks about moving Thanksgiving!
  • It can be unreasonable for an entire city to move trick-or-treat day for traffic reasons that will affect only a small portion of the city. For example, if just the area near a sports arena is affected by unusually high traffic, does the entire city really need to change the trick-or-treat day?

How to maintain your sanity as a parent about this

As frustrating as it is to have uncertainties, building in a bit of flexibility is key if you don't want to be stressed. Even if you strongly disagree with changing the date for trick-or-treating (which I totally relate to!), it's the municipality that has the power to make that decision not you. Therefore for the sake of your child it's good to just go with the flow if they make changes, as annoying and as painful as that can be.

I've learned the hard way not to try to make other plans close to trick-or-treating night, just because they might switch trick-or-treating. That would be my number one take-home message: not to make other plans close to Halloween, for the sake of your child.

Being a parent has its own everyday excitements and challenges. So you might want to take a look at these sanity-saving tips for moms that I've put together. Also, if you like to save money on your children's clothes without sacrificing style or quality, take a look at my list of the top 6 children's clothing stores.

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