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. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Actually...it's started as a Catholic holiday where the priests give altar boys treats for a "trick".

    October 28, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • Rhyan

      Eww! I'm disgusted AND horrified by that one.

      October 28, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  2. Lewis

    I won't be doing it Sunday night because I'll be on the road to Florida for the final flight of Discovery. That said, people in our area would likely be doing it on Saturday anyway. We live in one of the more thicker parts of the bible belt.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Lewis: Awesome! I wish I could be there but work... you know...

      October 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  3. Larry

    We will only celebrate Halloween on Sunday at our house. Let's face it, Christianity is just the mythology of the current day. Please go do some research into the origins of Christianity and their holy book. If you do so with even a semblance of an open mind you will discover the roots of all your beliefs are mangled versions of beliefs and fables from previous religions. Let's not even begin to go into all the contradictions, etc. Really, have you even read Leviticus?

    October 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  4. February

    I'm going to dress as zombie Jesus for Halloween. Can't get more focused on Christ than that.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  5. DB

    Halloween a non religious holiday? Give me a break. It is indeed a religious holiday. And much, MUCH older than Christ and Chistian modern holidays. As a matter of fact, look it up yourself, ALL Christian holidays are just whitewashed versions of much older, DARKER pagan holidays. So keep your Sunday holy. After all it is a pagan day to worship the SUN.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
    • Pagan John

      To be fair, the Christian holidays are whitewashed versions of pagan holidays that were themselves whitewashed versions of much earlier much darker pagan holidays. By the time Christianity was sweeping across Europe, the old ways of human sacrifice were almost as far in the past as the old ways of God asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.

      Now, the Aztecs, they were ripping out hearts right up until the Spanish showed up.

      October 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  6. Darcy

    The communities in my area have moved trick-or-treating for lots of reasons. We never have it on Friday night because too many families are tied up with high school football games. The kids don't care about the date. The only time there was an uproar was when they held it on a Saturday afternoon. Many thought the cover of darkness was necessary, but there are lots of people who just won't open their doors after dark.

    From a religious perspective I know lots of churches discourage participation in any Halloween festivities anytime because of the pagan roots of the holiday. So if it's a religious no-no for you, then you won't be participating on any day of the week. Personally I think trick or treating should be abolished completely. It's just not safe anymore and most kids today don't need the junk food anyway.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  7. kat george

    Now we have folks quoting long scripture to us. Either to save or shame us?! Religous focus of blog due to 'no trick-treat' on sunday.
    This haas nothing to do with kids having school next am or this would not be allowed mon-thur & watch, it will be.
    It has to do with the holiday itself.

    DJ is funny but last couple of posts from others not so much. I don't really need Jeh Witness to start with bible quotes.
    And I don't think most folks send kids to strangers. At least where I live, parents are withkids or kids just allowed to go to friends homes.

    I recall my fav treats as kid was homemade candy & popcorn balls or an invite of 'witch brew' that was apple cider.
    Then came sick behavior and need to xray candy & advent of 'halloween size goodies'.
    Now its pretty much safe places or parties for kids.

    I say do it whenever you want, have fun, and be safe. I'm having fun, eating birthday cake (any and all can join) and doing some movies after a hike earlier in day. Oh I also do the "day of the death" and remember all my loved ones that I no longer see on this side.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • civilioutside

      We let the kids go to any house in the neighborhood that's giving out candy. But I, personally, go with my kids when they Trick or Treat to keep an eye out for their safetly, and we inspect their candy for tampering before allowing them to eat any of it. 'Cause we're whacky like that.

      October 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  8. Frogist

    David Johnson, you are making my day today! LOL!! Give em hell?! LOL!

    October 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • Mykol

      David Johnson's my hero.

      Not really. Jesus is. But Dave's a close second.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jenni

      I was just about to post that he was MY hero, but you beat me to it! 🙂

      October 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
    • laughin

      We put up a statue of David Johnson in our front yard and danced all night. He has answered our prayers today!
      Little Mary was even healed of the ketchup stain on her "I love David" shirt – we all praise David for his wonderful gifts.

      October 28, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  9. Jax

    Who cares what day of the week it was!!! I remember it during the weekdays my parents rushed home to get us all goblinned up and out trick or treating!!! Never once did they complain about it during the week!!! It should remain on the 31st......

    October 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  10. Mandy

    our county sets the date for trick or treat night every year. If it falls on a saturday or sunday, trick or treat night is held on the friday before. So this year we will do trick or treat on Friday Oct 29.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  11. Laura

    If any kids knock at my door on Saturday, I'll give them a bag of tea. On Sunday, I'll give them halloween candy. That way, everyone is happy.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • Mykol

      I'll take chamomile please.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  12. Logic

    And they say the Islamists are whacked....

    Pretty Ignorant but then again, ignorance is usually a prerequisite for religious fanaticism.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  13. Skyy

    Wouldn't you be with friends in a church parking lot?? I'll take my church friends over my neurotic neighbors any day!!

    October 28, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
    • Laura

      I like my church friends and my neighbors equally. My church doesn't do trunk or treat though, we do a pumpkin patch. I went to trunk-or-treat with a friend one year and it was mostly a trick! I got approached by so many people handing out prayer books and wanting to recruit me to their church – I was very uncomfortable. I thought it was a mean trick to play to try to get more members.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  14. Really

    You think they are changing trick or treating in Louisiana due to religious reasons....really!? some parishes are changing it due to the fact that the Saints play Sunday and they don't want to miss the game...so really let's be honest people.....!!!! Halloween is for the kids..stop being selfish.....

    October 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
    • Mykol

      That's the most honest comment in this thread!

      October 28, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  15. Carol from SoCal

    So, I think this article is aimed mainly at Christians who are trying to decide what to do with their kids about Halloween, but the board is mainly aetheists blasting away about Christianity. Totally missing the point, methinks. For Christians, Sunday evening is often a church night – we have youth group, a Sunday service etc. Why NOT move trick or treat to Saturday night, so the kids can do both? Sure. And many towns find it works to move things around to fit the calendar – a neighboring town to us always has fireworks on July 3rd; it works for them.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • Sixmom

      One of the most intelligent comments on here.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • Mykol

      Our church is doing a Halloween Trick or Treat thing on Friday where we trick or treat around the church. Another town near me is doing Trick or Treating on Saturday and my town is doing it on Sunday.

      I'll be at all three with my kids in tow.

      And, our church services are at 10am so we can worship The Lord AND get candy. WIN WIN.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • civilioutside

      That'd be because Christians aren't the only ones in their communities, but they are the ones demanding that the observance of the holiday be moved to accommodate them.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
    • Jenni

      Well put, civilioutside. It seems to me that when Halloween falls on a night that you have other obligations (church, sports, whatever), you have a choice: miss out on Halloween, or give up your other activity for one night. Expecting the rest of the community to change the date of a national holiday to accommodate your schedule seems just a tad arrogant and selfish. I know it may be hard for some of you to remember, but this is a pluralistic society; not all Americans are fundamentalist Christians (thank god! and yes, pun intended).

      October 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  16. Pagan John

    As a pagan, I love this holiday; it's the one pagan holiday stolen by Christendom that didn't get a Christian relabeling. Like Easter, Christmas, Michaelmas, etc. Although it is cool that Easter and Christmas use a whole mess of pagan symbols, like wreaths and evergreen christmas trees for a celebration of winter, or rabbits and easter eggs for a fertility holiday.

    Our community is celebrating "Beggar's Night", the trick or treat night, on Thursday Night. I will be conducting my Halloween/Samhain rituals Saturday night around midnight if possible. This is the time of year when the veil between the worlds is at its weakest, and I have some ancestors way back down the bloodline that I want to try and get in touch with. Also, my wife's father passed away before last Christmas, so this is the appropriate time to honor the passing of his spirit.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • civilioutside

      Santa Claus is pagan too, just like all the rest
      And if you are a merry witch he’ll bring you all the best.
      So set that star upon the roof and bake those cookies too
      ‘cause Christmas time is really Yule and Santa’s pagan too.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
    • Darcy

      Yes it did – All Saints Day on November 1st is widely observed by Catholics.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
    • Farhibide

      Love this!

      October 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
    • Pagan John

      Yeah, but when I was growing up at least, my Christian parents were very clear that October 31st and November 1st were two very different days.

      So, while Christmas is a pagan holiday that has been Christianized, and Easter is a pagan holiday that has been Christianized, Halloween is a pagan holiday that, while it had a Christian holiday nearby, Halloween itself has *not* been Christianized at all. There's no Halloween Day Services at churches.

      My particular brand of paganism, a reconstruction of the Slavic paganism practiced by my distant ancestors, has its Halloween-analogue closer to when Easter is celebrated, but it's a lot easier for me to just stick to the wheel of the year used by the Wiccans and derived loosely from Celtic mythology. And hey, it's not like Jesus was really born on Christmas, right?

      October 28, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • Know What

      "All Saints Day on November 1st is widely observed by Catholics."

      Yes, and November 2nd is "All Souls' Day" for Catholics - it's a veritable 3-day spooookathon!

      October 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  17. LAA

    I think it's disrespectful to celebrate such a ghoulish holiday on the day of our savior. I will not be handing out candy to the pagan kids and their disrespectful parents on Sunday. Sunday is reserved for time with our saviour.

    Besides, I'll be watching the Pittsburgh – New Orleans game that night.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • Sixmom

      Irony duly noted.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • Lewis

      No, don't hand out candy on the day of the Savior. Instead, watch grown men pummel each other over a leather ball.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  18. Laura

    They should just make Halloween a legal holiday and close the banks and schools. Then, if it falls on a Sunday, we all get Monday off of work. We are trick-or-treating on Sunday, but I'm nervous to see the looks I get from the extreme christians who think it's holier to celebrate halloween out of the trunk of your car, in a church parking lot, than in your neighborhood with friends.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
    • Mykol

      People celebrate Halloween in the Trunks of their cars?

      That's just plain weird.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Laura

      Yes, it really is.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You can always take a personal day.

      I took 3 days, last year when that damn Carl got liquored up and claimed Jesus had told him he was coming back, and could someone meet him at the airport.

      I waited at the airport for 3 days, and nothing! I had that stupid "Savior" sign so Jesus would recognize me. People thought I was a nut. One brat kicked me in the shin. Rotten brat. God should send that she bear again.

      October 28, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @David Johnson

      O.K.. bro.... You are just keeping me in 'st-i-tches' today.... My sides are achin'... LMAO..!! 🙂

      October 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  19. jesse

    Halloween is on October 31st!! Case Closed!!!

    October 28, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  20. Incredulous

    CNN- the Christian Castigation Network. Live and let live, people.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • Carol from SoCal

      no kidding. And they wonder why CNN is becoming less and less relevent.

      October 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
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