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. Tracey Villiardw

    My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using Movable-type on several websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard fantastic things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

    July 3, 2012 at 4:34 am |
  2. april

    What was your favorite treat you received yesterday? http://bit.ly/cpLWiK

    November 1, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  3. Lisa

    As a teacher, I would love to see "Trick or Treating" permanently moved to the last Saturday of the month. You would not believe what a distraction this holiday causes. I expect to see tired, sugared-out children in class tomorrow. I hope to keep the crying down to a minimum!

    October 31, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Sarah

      I also am a teacher and love to celebrate the holidays with my students...lighten up on the kids a little. You sound like a real stick in the mud...I feel sorry for your students.

      November 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
    • DeNae

      Lisa, you are not a stick-in-the-mud for not wanting to distracted from the business of teaching. As a teacher I also enjoyed celebrating holidays with the kids, but you're right; there is a lot of wasted time that goes with it. And that doesn't even address the need to be sensitive to the kids whose families do not celebrate holidays for religious reasons. I always felt so bad for those kids, because they were often singled out as the REAL sticks-in-the-mud, even by others demanding that their "religious" preferences be respected – by celebrating the holidays in school. It gets complicated and exhausting. If Sarah lives in an area where this is not the case, then she is very fortunate, and I wish her well. But she is also in the minority. I don't think changing the date of Halloween is the solution, but I completely sympathize with your situation. As I write this on Monday, I hope your day is going well!

      November 1, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  4. vintagemommy

    You people are all ridiculous Halloween saturday or sunday doesn't matter get some bowls of candy for each day and enjoy seeing them dressed up. Children are innocecent they don't need to be badgered by faith when they are just trying to have fun this is the one day they get to take candy from strangers and vomit all over the floor and say this was so much fun so chill out and let kids be kids and stop making it out to be about god or jesus

    October 30, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  5. Andrew VA

    Pick a day at random and see how much candy you get.
    Then use the same holiday on the day its always been on and see how much candy you get.
    Tough choice, huh.

    October 30, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  6. michelle

    @David Johnson

    You are sadly misguided on your religious beliefs. Christ was not born on December 25 and in fact that date does coincide with the pagan holiday. Several Christian holidays coincide with original Pagan holidays and this was deliberately enacted by the church for the sole purpose of converting non-believers. Spring Equinox = Easter, Samhain = Halloween, Winter Solstice = Christmas. The Winter Solstice occurring around Dec. 21 (long before Christianity invented the birth of Christ on Dec. 25). The church invented Dec. 25 as the birth of Christ because they wanted to replace the Pagan God with their God (hence, making conversion of Pagans somewhat easier). There is no reference in the bible to celebrating Christ's birth on December 25 nor is there any reference as to when his actual birth took place. Based on research by biblical scholars they guesstimate (based on weather conditions at the time of Christs birth and the location of his birth) that he was born sometime in September or thereabouts but even so, they don't all agree.

    You might enjoy reading factual information about history and not just listening to what your church leaders tell you 😉

    October 30, 2010 at 6:34 am |
    • David Johnson


      Michelle, I have been born again so many times, my head is now in the permanent shape of a teardrop.

      I have Jesus not only in my heart, but in every organ of my body. You can't possibly know how this feels. You cannot hope to understand what it is like having Jesus reside in your heart and your liver!

      Every December 25th, my congregation celebrates the birth of our Savior. You should hear Sister Peaches, bellowing out "Happy Birthday" to Jesus! The hair on the back of your neck stands up. At that moment, you KNOW there is a god.

      We conclude the service by passing the cross with Jesus still on it, around the room, while we sing: "For He is a Jolly Good Fellow".

      Jesus would not let His people believe a lie. Just last Sunday, Brother Carl spoke in tongues and Sister Peaches interpreted God's message. It was not easy for Sister Peaches, because Brother Carl has a hair lip which affects his speech.

      The Lord told us, He is well pleased with our group. He said He is looking forward to spending His birthday with us, and not those Catholics!

      Michelle, I will pray for you. The spiritual world is not like reality. Our faith tells us what is true and right. Evidence means nothing to us. We know that sometimes God is just testing our faith, like when those evilutionists show those transitional fossils. Or when someone says the Lord wasn't really born on December 25.

      I will ask Brother Carl to light a candle for you. Jesus likes candles.

      Once that fat S.O. B. Carl, was going to light a candle for every year of our Lords precious life. Carl was up to 742, when the table the candles were sitting on, fell down. Damn near torched the entire church. Jesus is going to kick Carl in the nads when his time comes.

      Anyway Michelle, trust the believers of the one true god. What has science ever done for mankind?

      Your friend in Jesus!

      October 30, 2010 at 10:15 am |
    • Agnostic

      Michelle, you are absolutely right! I might add that this debate to celebrate Halloween on Saturday or Sunday due to religious beliefs is even more STUPID because the true Sabbath day is Saturday – NOT Sunday. Genesis says God rested on the SEVENTH day (everyone: get out your calendars).

      October 30, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
    • Sixmom

      The calendar point could be valid, except the calendar we use was invented in the 1500's and before then a lot of cultures were on a 360 day calendar. Calendar systems been revised several times since Genesis. So pick a Sabbath day, and whatever it is, stick to it. The point isn't about Halloween origin or if it is pagan or not, the point is whether it is an appropriate Sabbath Day activity for folks who honor a Sabbath Day. If your trying to keep the Sabbath Day holy, it doesn't fit in very well. That is all religious people are trying to say. If you have kids going to school the next day, that's hard too. I really like the idea of making it the last Friday or Saturday of October, like Labor Day or Memorial Day. Then it doesn't fall in the middle of the week either and it can always be a big weekend party. Just a suggestion.

      October 30, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  7. michelle

    We celebrate Halloween on Oct. 31, no matter which day it falls on and will continue to do so. I'm curious, for those who are saving Sunday for Christ and celebrating Halloween on a day other than the Sunday it falls on... if your religious beliefs are so strong (being Christian and saving Sunday for Christ), why are you celebrating a Pagan holiday at all?

    As far as it being a school night, it is a non-issue in our family. I'm 39, celebrated Halloween myself til I was in 6th grade and my kids have now celebrated Halloween for 14 years. It has never been a problem what day it fell on. We enjoy the holiday and will continue to do so no matter what day it falls on. I think just the fact that some people find this a debatable issue shows how bored and purposeless people have become.

    October 30, 2010 at 6:20 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "I think just the fact that some people find this a debatable issue shows how bored and purposeless people have become."

      People just don't want to offend the One True God, by worshiping Satan and His Demons.

      I asked my pastor about this. He knows the bible so much better than I. I think he has actually read parts of it.

      My pastor reminded me of when Jesus was a boy of 12 his parents couldn't find him. They finally located Jesus in the Temple.

      They asked Jesus, " why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."

      Jesus replied "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"

      My pastor pointed out that this was possibly a mistranslation of the original English. Instead of "in my Father's house", The line should have said, "Didn't you know I had to be Trick or Treating?"

      My pastor is always amazing me with his knowledge.

      October 30, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  8. Thomas M

    Halloween should be celebrated on October 31 every year. That is the holiday and that is when it should be celebrated. Just like Christmas should always be celebrated on December 25th, Independence Day should always be celebrated on July 4th (not the 2nd, 3rd, or 5th).

    ALL holidays should be celebrated on the actual day of the holiday. They shouldn't be changed because of the day of the week on which they occur, because of school schedules, or because of religious activities. If you can't celebrate a holiday on the proper day, then don't celebrate it at all.

    October 30, 2010 at 4:06 am |
  9. shannon

    Hey. Come on give it a rest. Im catholic and my kids going both nights. Saturday and sunday.

    October 29, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Saturday and Sunday?

      Isn't "greed" one of the 7 deadly sins?

      October 30, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  10. An athiest who stumbled upon this site.

    I have read a lot of comments on here about being christlike, sacriligous behaviors, would God lie to us, etc.
    I have a couple peaceful comments that I would like all of the christians on here to consider.
    First of all, I have never once told you what you need to believe and never will! I believe that we need Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc because those alternate faiths keep the world in balance. Not once in the existance of this planet, whether you believe it to be billions or thousands of years old has a single faith dominated the planet completely. Do you know what we have called it in the past when a single faith has tried to do so? Think, Persia in B.C. times, tyranny, I believe for that one. Or, how about Nazi Socialists in the early/mid 1900's, genocide, I belive we called that one...

    @ JT: What exactly is christlike about the garbage you wrote about bringing kids into your house and showing them atrocities of abortion, stem cell research, and so on? Last time I checked, God is no longer raining down fire and brimstone on sinful people or cities. Try, "Love thy neighbor" for a change. And for one, not so peaceful comment to close on. I can't wait for you to try that garbage with the children of me, so they can bring you into their home and show you what the atrocities of .44 magnum shell going through the back of your head looks like!

    October 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  11. Kate

    Does anyone know what it take to nationally and officially change Halloween to the last Saturday in October every year? It's a hassle when Halloween falls on a school night too.

    October 29, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • Darwin

      Good idea Kate, last Saturday in October works for me.

      October 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • Sixmom

      That would be perfect for a lot of families for different reasons.

      October 29, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
    • Thomas M

      That's really pathetic. All holidays should be celebrated on the actual day... not whatever day is convenient for YOU alone.

      Why does it matter what day of the week it occurs? Your kids can't stay out late or trick or treat late because of all the silly laws anyway.

      You need to check the history of Halloween anyway.... the date of it wasn't just pulled out of the air. There is a reason for it.

      October 30, 2010 at 4:13 am |
    • David Johnson

      If the Teabaggers are elected, we won't need to worry about Halloween. It will be outlawed.

      Everyone best be voting for the Dems in November.

      October 30, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  12. Sixmom

    “What could be more Christ-like than getting out and getting to know your neighbors?” asked Bingham" ..so which part is Christ-like? The costumes or begging for candy? Sounds like rationalization to me. My neighbors appreciate help, a kind word, a home-cooked meal, visits to the hospital....but partying on the Sabbath? That rationale is not truly representative of most of the LDS families I know here in Southern Oregon. I'm fine with you expressing your views but do not want them associated with what the majority of Mormons believe about the Sabbath.

    October 29, 2010 at 11:57 am |
    • Rhyan

      I think the Christ-like part is throwing the opinion of a fellow saint under the bus.


      October 29, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • Sixmom

      I can see your point. But I do have to smile a bit as I read your other comments on this thread. I guess the world really is our mirror. Myself included.

      October 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • Mykol

      I think, @sixmom, you are arrogant and naive to believe that ALL Mormon's believe the exact same way you do. You sound more like a "Born Again Mormon" who thinks that if people don't believe/act/do exactly as she does then they aren't REALLY Mormon. Or Christian. Or representative of the "Faith".

      Not True.

      There are TONS of Mormons–In Utah and Out of Utah– that have absolutely ZERO problem with going trick or treating on Sunday. It may be easy for you to go trick or treating to only church members on a Saturday night because you all live near each other. My ward covers 3 cities– One with 150k people, one with 25k people and one with 23k people. The closest ward member to me is over 30 minutes away... our town is doing trick or treating on Sunday. So, that is when we go. I'm not dragging my little babies 30min for 1 house. What's the fun in that?

      Stop being so arrogant and don't ASSUME everyone thinks and feels just like you. We all know what they say about ASSUMING!!

      I can trick or treat on Sunday AND be a good Christian.

      Trick or Treaters are people too. Geesh.

      October 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • Sixmom

      Mykol, since your post is really one straw man after another, I'll just wish you a Happy Halloween. Hope you enjoy it.

      October 29, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
    • Sixmom

      Hmm... Rhyan + Mykol = Caroline?

      October 29, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
    • Mykol

      3 people in One is the Trinity. Duh.

      I don't believe in the Trinity– I believe they are THREE SEPARATE BEINGS– Just like ME, Rhyan and Caroline. I could try and use my super dooper Wangdoodle powers to make us all one– but we'd probably be ugly. Although not knowing what the other two chicks look like we could be hotsters, too.

      @amelia said it best: Pot or Kettle Judgy McJudger Pants??

      October 29, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Rhyan

      Flattered as I am by that, it's wrong. My name really is Rhyan and I own what I say.

      But since we are going round and round on this subject (which is so very very stupid, by the way) I'm going to bow out of this conversation now, and we'll just have to agree to disagree.

      Happy Halloween to you.

      October 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
    • Mykol

      Besides, I'm really David Johnson in disguise.

      October 29, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "Besides, I'm really David Johnson in disguise."

      In a disguise, yes. But not a David Johnson disguise.

      I miss my friend.

      October 30, 2010 at 10:22 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said, “What could be more Christ-like than getting out and getting to know your neighbors?”

      Well, when Brother Carl tried to get to know our neighbors, they got really mad. They said his peeking in the windows wasn't Christlike.

      I think I sort of agree. There is a time and place for every purpose under Heaven, but being a peeping tom may have limited applications...

      But then again, Carl pointed out that Jesus is always watching. So, why couldn't he?


      October 30, 2010 at 10:34 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "My neighbors appreciate help, a kind word, a home-cooked meal, visits to the hospital....but partying on the Sabbath"

      My church goes to the Old Folks Home on Halloween. We take the old people out and wheel them door to door, for treats.

      Well, at least we use to take the old folks out. That fat S.O.B. Carl forgot to take that one old geezer back to the home. I guess he died from exposure. Everybody was sure down on us for that.

      I kept telling everyone that the fellow was with Jesus now, and much happier. It didn't seem to calm them much.

      Anyway, they got a restraining order.

      October 30, 2010 at 10:55 am |
  13. ohnsap

    People make me laugh...they're 'Christian' and 'want to focus on Christ', but they worry about celebrating the most demonic holiday there is.

    October 29, 2010 at 10:54 am |
  14. Jem

    Christianity is a noble idea but should never have manifested into a religion. Religions, all of them, are based in humanities inability to face our own mortality. Afraid to die??!! Well come to this building on this day and give money and you wont have to, you can go to a happy place where there's no pain and all the people you've ever known who have died will be there....... please give me a break. Death is there to make life count, those who think they get a do-over in an imaginary after life are missing out on doing real good and making a real difference in life. Fear is the basis of all religion, if you fail to act correctly according to "these" rules, whatever "God" you worship will punish you. I feel really sorry for people who need an imaginary father figure b^*$#-slapping you from across the millenia in order to do the right thing. Instead try exercising your inner moral compass this planet and the human race would be much better off if more of us did this on a regular basis.

    October 29, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • David Johnson


      I'm not sure I agree with you, that we don't need a god who will punish us if we do the wrong thing. Like a good parent, our Father takes us to the woodshed and then sets the damn building on fire. He does this because He loves us and wants us to learn through intense everlasting pain.

      You gotta love a god like that! No?

      God probably tolerates you.

      October 30, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  15. mark

    Ummm – actually we can think the church for halloween. Halloween was a pagan holiday, until around 1200 when the church "co-opted" it. November 1 became "all hallows day" for celebrating dead christian big-wigs like popes. Oct. 31st became all-hallows evening – and then "hallowe'en" Trick-or-treating was at first a church sanctioned practice – where beggers would go door to door asking for "soul cakes" – cookies given out with the promise the beggars would pray for sinners in purgatory, thus lifting them into heaven. So – when you are out trick-or-treating on sunday – don't condemn the church – Thank it!

    October 29, 2010 at 9:36 am |
    • kjcube

      November 1st is all soul's day. It's for remembering the dead. November 2nd (all saint's day) is what I think your talking about. Plus Halloween (October 31st one) is only related to All Soul's and All Saint's day peripherally. They both based on a Similar Pagan Holiday (date and minor cultural customs) but neither of those holidays are the same as the original one and only All Soul's day and All Saint's day are still religious in nature.

      October 29, 2010 at 10:00 am |
    • kjcube


      October 29, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  16. David Johnson


    I'm sorry, you are wrong about December 25. It was not pagan. It is Jesus's birthday. My church has prayed over this many times. We have asked Jesus to tell us if this was not his birthday. He did not say a thing.

    Have you not seen pictures of a nativity scene, with snow on the ground and trees with decorations?

    The proof is overwhelming!

    October 29, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  17. me

    holoween is no more of a pagan holiday than december 25th. december 25th was originally a pagan holiday, but the christian church was competing with paganism for followers, so they kind of stole that day to use for their own purposes. christ was actually born in the spring, not during the dead of winter. i am pretty sure pagans celebrated on that day because the days were getting longer which ment spring was coming. how holoween was started is a funny story, you guys should read it.

    October 28, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
    • kjcube

      I think it might be wise to point out that the original date (December 25) was never claimed by the early church (well earlier church) to be Christ's birthday. It was claimed to be the celebration of Christ's Birth, based on the Pagan Holiday of Sol Invictus' Birthday. Not because they were trying to convert pagans (in this way at least) but because many former pagans who had already converted to Christianity were celebrating a holiday of a still existing religion and the church wanted to have a Christ based celebration instead.

      October 29, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  18. Linda

    Here in central Ohio, we just had beggars night tonight. Thursday. Mostly because of football.

    October 28, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Why, do beggars play football?

      October 29, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  19. David Johnson

    Kat was nice. I will tell Jesus about her. LOL

    October 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  20. kat george


    Lol. Guess your 'jesus sense' was not that sensitive the day of the book signing!! Most folks thought it was at B&N, but it was at borders. Easy mistake.

    After reading these texts, I've decided to give out chocolate crosses and go hug a tree!! Happy halloween to all (or not).
    Cheers kat

    October 28, 2010 at 6:06 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.