Trick or Treating Debate, Saturday or Sunday?
October 28th, 2010
08:40 AM ET

Trick or Treating Debate, Saturday or Sunday?

Editor's Note: CNN's Kelly Marshall Smoot files this report from Washington, DC.

There is a bit of a controversy brewing in this year’s Halloween cauldron over when to Trick or Treat. Each October 31st, little vampires, witches, ballerinas, and astronauts know it is time to head outside to fill their baskets, pillow cases, and buckets with candy.

But what happens when Halloween falls on a Sunday?

Some towns across the country have officially changed their Trick or Treating night to Saturday, some families are opting to keep their kids home, and others say the night provides a good opportunity to get out and meet your neighbors.

When are you celebrating Halloween?

In Boston, Massachusetts, the Turleys are taking their kids to three different Halloween activities earlier in the week but will stay home on Sunday.

“Because of our religious beliefs, our family has decided that Sunday should be focused on Christ and we feel that Halloween would distract us from our focus,” said Brittany Turley.

Turley’s little Fairy, Buzz Lightyear, and Dinosaur costumed children might miss out on the Sunday door-to-door Trick or Treating activities but she doesn’t think they will mind. “Our small children are flexible and they will understand. If anything, they will be burned out by Halloween,” she said.

Amy Null of Sierra Vista, Arizona, agrees. She loves Halloween but says it is too irreverent to Trick or Treat on Sunday. “I think it's perfectly fine for Halloween, or any other non-religious holiday, to be celebrated on Saturday instead of Sunday,” she said.

Caroline Bingham, author of The Bingham Diaries and Mormon Mommy Blogs lives in Virginia and plans to take her kids Trick or Treating on Sunday.

“I don’t have any issue with having it on Saturday or Sunday,” she said. “I think it is fun and a great neighborhood activity.”

Bingham recently polled her blog readers about whether they planned to Trick or Treat on Saturday or Sunday. The results surprised her and she said there was no middle ground in the responses she received.

Bingham said a lot of her readers were against celebrating Halloween on Sunday and felt that the holiday itself is evil and that those on the other side of the argument saw Halloween and Trick or Treating as a way to connect with friends and neighbors.

“What could be more Christ-like than getting out and getting to know your neighbors?” asked Bingham.

Some towns, like Covington, Virginia, and Sulphur, Louisiana, however made the Trick or Treating decision for their residents.

Covington took the matter to its City Council and in a 4-1 vote, declared the night for Trick or Treating was Saturday, a choice this city also made the last time Halloween fell on a Sunday.

Rob Bennett is Covington’s Mayor and a science teacher at the local high school who said he heard from a lot of residents who thought Saturday would be a better night for Trick or Treating.

“We can’t change the day of Halloween but we can change the day we Trick or Treat,” said Bennett.

Bennett explained all but one the churches in Covington were planning big Halloween activities on Saturday and that they didn’t want to cancel Sunday evening services so that people could stay home to greet the Trick or Treaters.

“Our town is pretty faith based and I’ve not had one email or call from anyone upset that we changed Trick or Treat,” said Bennett.

The city of Sulphur, Louisiana, voted to hold Trick or Treating festivities on Saturday for more secular reasons, including the fact that Sunday is a school night and the change to Daylight Savings is later this year.

Assistant City Manager, Wes Smith said they received hundreds of calls from citizens who wanted the change but admitted that if Halloween was on a Monday or Tuesday, the city probably would not have changed it.

“Sunday nights are not what they used to be growing up so I don’t think religion is as big of an issue, the school night would have been the majority concern,” said Smith. However, he said he was glad for the change for personal reasons. “I’ve got kids and I’m a lot happier going out on Saturday than Sunday,” he said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Holidays • United States

soundoff (348 Responses)
  1. civilioutside

    Heck, if I had my way not only would Halloween be celebrated on October 31st (whether it's a Sunday or not), but November 1st would be a national holiday with work and school closings and all so that we could stay up all night having a blast. But then, I spend pretty much the whole month celebrating Halloween because it's FUN!

    October 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
    • Rhyan

      We have teacher inservice days on the 1sy and 2nd, so we can stay up as late as we want.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  2. Jack

    Let's just mandate that Halloween should be the last Saturday in October. This keeps it from being a school night with all the homework and activities kids have during the week anyway. Then, like last year, hold off on the time change until Halloween night so the kids have more light for trick-or-treating. Families could plan activities, schools could plan on the last Friday of the month for parties and parades, you have a day-off after the festivities of the evening, etc.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
    • Sixmom

      Great suggestion.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
    • civilioutside

      Or make November 1st a national holiday. We need more time off to relax anyhow.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
    • Mykol

      If we Mandate it then that's encouraging more government control– doesn't that sort of go against your Republican Views?

      October 28, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
    • Laura

      Mandating the day that halloween should be celebrated, in my opinion, is a great use of government resources. Best I've heard! It's common sense! Who the heck would it offend anyway – Dracula?

      October 28, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Pagan John

      I will keep observing it on the 31st regardless.

      Diluted as the holiday may be, it's still a religious holiday for some of us.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Laura

      Pagan John....I like you.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
  3. Mike in RI

    So it's o.k. to celebrate the allegedly satanic evil of halloween, as long as you don't do it on Sunday, because that conflicts with beliefs? Seriously? That's about as fair weather religious as you can get.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
    • lostintranslation

      Thank you MIKE! My point from way earlier.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  4. maggie

    The Basis for Christian Unity
    When on trial before Pontius Pilate, Jesus identified the basis for Christian unity. He said: "For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice." (John 18:37) Therefore, acceptance of Jesus' teachings along with the rest of God's inspired Word, the Bible, has a powerful uniting influence on Christ's true disciples.—1 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.

    Of course, Jesus' disciples would have sincere questions or disagreements among themselves at times. What then? Jesus explained: "When that one arrives, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own impulse, but what things he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things coming." (John 16:12, 13) Thus, God's holy spirit would enable Jesus' true disciples to understand the truth as it was progressively revealed by God. Also, that spirit would produce fruitage, such as love, joy, and peace, which in turn would promote unity among them.—Acts 15:28; Galatians 5:22, 23.

    Jesus left no room for dissension or factions among his disciples; nor did he authorize them to reinterpret divine truths to accommodate cultural or religious traditions of those whom they would meet. Rather, on his last night with them, he fervently prayed: "I make request, not concerning these only, but also concerning those putting faith in me through their word; in order that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us, in order that the world may believe that you sent me forth." (John 17:20, 21) Genuine unity, then, in spirit and truth was to be a distinguishing mark of Christ's disciples from the start down to our time. (John 4:23, 24) Nevertheless, today's churches are, not united, but divided. Why is that so?

    October 28, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • civilioutside

      If I had to guess... it would be because there is in fact no holy spirit cruising around confirming which religious beliefs are true and which are false in order to provide that unity. Thus everyone's personal beliefs feel true to them, even where they differ from the belifs of others nominally of the same religion.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
    • Megatron

      It's because the bible is so nonsensical, inaccurate and conflicting with itself that there is no option but to have people see different sides to it.

      Hell, read the resurrection story, the books differ in almost every detail of how mary went to the cave. If the books cannot even agree with each other on WHEN mary went to the tomb, how can there not be different interpretations.

      Sounds like you need to read your bible.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  5. lostintranslation

    Okay guess what people on Sunday my pregnant self will be dressed up as Padme and my goofy husband as a random jedi and we will be at church passing out candy and running games for our youth group children. Sunday, 31 October, 2010 is HALLOWEEN.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
    • Laura

      Cool costumes! May the force be with you – you'll need it with all those sugared up kids!

      October 28, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  6. maggie

    For the people that are claimed to be Christians. Being a Christian, is more than saying I believe in the ramson and I have faith in Jesu Christ. Being Christians means Christlike. Are you following the teaching of Jesus? Are you doing what Jesus thought us?

    see the article below.
    True Christianity Is Flourishing

    In this series:

    Can the Churches Be Saved?
    True Christianity Is Flourishing
    Related topics:

    "Can I Worship God in My Own Way?"
    Should You Belong to a Church?
    Jehovah's Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe?
    JESUS CHRIST'S ministry burst onto the world scene in the first century. His message was invigorating, illuminating, and inspiring in a way that astounded people. Many of those who heard him speak were profoundly touched by his words.—Matthew 7:28, 29.

    Jesus fearlessly rejected involvement in the oppressive ecclesiastical and political systems of the day but made himself approachable to the common man. (Matthew 11:25-30) He openly acknowledged the pervasive influence of wicked spirits on earth and demonstrated God-given power over them. (Matthew 4:2-11, 24; John 14:30) Jesus skillfully illuminated the fundamental connection between suffering and sin, and he lovingly pointed to God's Kingdom for lasting relief. (Mark 2:1-12; Luke 11:2, 17-23) Once for all time, he lifted the veil of darkness that had so long obscured the true personality of his Father, making God's name manifest to all those interested in having a personal relationship with Him.—John 17:6, 26.

    It is not surprising, therefore, that despite intense religious and political persecution, the disciples of Jesus spread his dynamic message rapidly. In just 30 years or so, vibrant Christian congregations were formed in Africa, Asia, and Europe. (Colossians 1:23) The simple truths Jesus had taught enlightened the hearts of humble, righthearted people throughout the Roman Empire.—Ephesians 1:17, 18.

    How, though, would all these new disciples from such diverse economic, cultural, linguistic, and religious backgrounds come together in a truly united "one faith," as the apostle Paul called it? (Ephesians 4:5) What would keep them 'speaking in agreement' so as not to drift apart? (1 Corinthians 1:10) In view of the serious disunity among professed Christians today, we do well to examine what Jesus himself taught.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  7. Rachael

    I find it hilarious that in this day and age and with everything else that is going on, the topic of Halloween is being so heavily debated. Seriously people, its a day to have fun and dress your kids up! I was born on Halloween and the last I looked no evil spirits are following me around...Get a grip and keep religion out of it!!

    October 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  8. Farhibide

    Saturday. Not because I'm religious, but because Sunday is a school night.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    • Rhyan

      If you're going to base the decision on the bible, what about the parts that say not to judge others, and to love they neighbors?

      Oh, that's right, we get to pick and choose which parts apply to us personally.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
    • Rhyan

      And that was meant as a general reply, not to you specifically. Sorry about that.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
    • Farhibide

      No problem. I get what you're saying and I totally agree. If we could leave it at "love thy neighbor" that would be fine with me. Unfortunately, it seems like it's interpreted as "reserve judgement on thy neighbor until you find out if he's Christian or not."

      October 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • JT

      So, what do you do when it falls on M-Th or is it really that you are afraid baby Jesus would get mad if you worshiped Satan on Sunday?

      October 28, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  9. RockinRunner

    I think it should always be on the 31st, but here in Pennsyltucky, the townships determine when it should be, which is stupid. It could be any day within a week of the 31st. Just another example of the Gov't control.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • Frogist

      @RockinRunner: I still don't get that. Halloween is the 31st. Why does the gov't get involved at all? And I'm not joking, I'm really curious about their justifications for this because it seems ridiculous.

      October 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  10. Rachel

    I love it - Susie and Johnny can't stay up trick-or-treating and organizing their candy loot until 10:00, but it's perfectly OK for them to stay up until after midnight texting friends, on their computers, gaming or watching TV. This self-absorbed, self-righteous generation of parents is laughable.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  11. Mister E

    I think this is great because now we can celebrate Halloween on two days!! We'll go Trick or Treating to the Teabagger Fearmongers on Saturday and the Liberal Pagans on Sunday! Whoopee, more candy!!!

    October 28, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • JT

      But a true Teabagger would abolish the holiday all together. Since O'Donnell was once a witch one would think she would be a bit more pagan but it looks like the fundies got to her.

      October 28, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  12. LuLu

    Each and every holiday should be celebrated ON the day of the actual holiday, period. If kids knock on my door on Saturday night I won't be answering...I will, however, be giving out good candy on Sunday, the 31st.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Lulu: Aww come on! It's just for fun. Let's not be so dogmatic. Remember it's kids you're talking about.

      October 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  13. Honesty

    @ kinectedgamer

    I personally don't "hate" Christians- I don't really care one way or the other to be honest. What I hate is this made up rules by ignorant people who decide what it means to be Christian for everyone else. How ludicrous. Determine what it means to you and leave everyone else out of it. You brought up people "hating on the gays" not being okay but bashing Christians is? Nope, you're wrong. What I'm "bashing" is any fool who thinks their opinion is sooooo important that we all have to bow down to it and inconvenience others to cater to them.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
    • kinectedgamer

      I feel the same way. I thought I would just bring it up to show how some people are so hypocritical.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
  14. Atheist

    What would Jesus do? I think he wouldn't mind taking a day off. Give me a break.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • ThinkItSayIt

      He would go trick-or-treating on Sunday!

      October 28, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Atheist: He would dress up like the Holy Ghost... wear a sheet over his head and run around saying "Holeeee Ghoooost!" like it's an episode of Scooby Doo.

      October 28, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
    • kjcube


      lol this is the answer to your wwjd question.

      October 28, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
  15. Tony Miller

    Satan loves you.
    But he loves me more.

    I'm trick or treating on Sunday!

    October 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  16. Matt

    C'mon people. The Catholic Church took on Halloween as "All Souls Day" to incorporate pagan traditions...just like the Christmas tree, just like the Easter Bunny, all pagan symbols. Get out there Sunday and enjoy Halloween.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Just a thought, but I wouldn't send my kids to the Catholic Church to Trick or Treat. Especially if they are dressed as altar boys.

      October 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  17. Jon

    Everybody can do whatever "floats their boat" as long as the kids have fun, that's what it's all about.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  18. Kamdyn

    I personally don't think Jesus cares if you want to dress up your kids like Thing 1 and Thing 2 on Oct. 30, Oct. 31 or June 29.
    I don't know why we celebrate Halloween and I don't care. We get to decorate our homes all cute and then steal our kids candy when they sleep.
    Can't we all just be happy about that?
    If anything we should be discussing the fact that we teach our children that taking candy from strangers is only ok once a year. That's messed up.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Mykol

      I know, right? We should be allowed to take candy from strangers every 3rd Wednesday. We can call it Wednesday Wangdoodle!

      October 28, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • lostintranslation

      Candy = HAPPY

      October 28, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Mykol: All hail Candy Wangdoodle day!

      October 28, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  19. David Johnson

    You said, "It seems where the holidays come from are a mute point."

    As long as it is not a moot point.

    Once the Religious Right puppets, the Republcans, get in office, Going to church on Sunday may be mandatory. We will all be evangelicals.

    Want to avoid this? Vote for the Dems in November.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Sixmom

      You got me! Should be *moot. The Dems had their chance to show what they've got. The Republicans had their chance...guess what? Color me unimpressed. Anymore, it just boils down to choosing the candidate with the shortest list of "cons". I'll wait to see who is running in '12.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • Mykol

      What color is unimpressed? Magenta?

      October 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • Sixmom

      @ David Johnson P.S. You're having way too much fun heckling people on this thread. I'm fairly sure at least half of them don't get the twist or the irony.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • Rhyan

      That's right @sixmom us heathens are dumb as a bag of rocks too.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    • Sixmom

      @ Rhyan Aw come on! Lighten up!

      October 28, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
    • Mykol

      Isn't that what heathens do on Halloween? LIGHT UP? You are encouraging her to be a HEATHEN? What kind of Evangelical Christian are you?

      October 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
    • lostintranslation

      I'm with sixmom. some people on here are not the brightest crayons crayola has to offer.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Actually, I am learning something. I hope I don't sound like some of the people here.

      October 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  20. john g

    the best halloween is in to kill a mocking bird when Jem and Scout meet Bo Reily! a nice thought instead of all this hate and judgment .ITs a hoilday folks, eye see you.

    October 28, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.