Should Halloween be a movable candy feast?
Supertwins Liam Harencame, left, as the Hulk, and Garret Harencame, center, as Spiderman, trick-or-treat at the home of Cortney Meade, background, in Lawrence Park, Pa., on Wednesday. Ms. Meade said despite the rain, she enjoyed handing out candy.
Alex Owczarzak, a third-grader at West View Elementary School in Ross, walks with his class through the hallways for the school's Halloween parade Wednesday. The rain kept the parade indoors.
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Halloween was no match for a forecast that predicted the coming of Frankenstorm.
The superstorm's official name was Sandy, and by Monday, she was approaching the East Coast, casting threatening glances at the entire seaboard. As wind speeds picked up and rain began to fall, officials across Western Pennsylvania studied the forecast, considered the possibility of rain and flooding and one-by-one, dozens of communities began to announce they had arrived at the same decision:
Trick-or-treating -- that last-day-of-October tradition -- wouldn't happen on Oct. 31, a Wednesday.
Instead, seekers and providers of candy would have to wait to seek and provide until Nov. 3, a Saturday.
This year, the change in trick-or-treat night from a Wednesday to a Saturday was made with the weather forecast and public safety in mind, but the postponements did raise a question:
What if Halloween trick-or-treating was on the weekend every year?
It would mean parents wouldn't have to rush home from their jobs to change children into costumes and shepherd them around the neighborhood.
And after the trick-or-treating is over, they wouldn't have to make certain their sugar-injected children were in bed and asleep in time to be up for school the next morning.
What would parents think of that idea?
"I would love that," said Marsha Bove of South Park, who had taken her 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter to The Galleria of Mt. Lebanon Wednesday afternoon because if they weren't going trick-or-treating, they could at least see the scary movie, "Hotel Transylvania."
Ms. Bove, a physical therapist, works four days a week and she said there have been years where she has had to rush home from work or when she has missed Halloween altogether because of her schedule.
This year, Halloween fell on her day off. But in the future, she may not get so lucky, she said. Halloween on the weekend -- every year -- is something she said she could get behind.
Getting such a change off the ground, however, is a little like trying to change New Year's Eve to Jan. 3. It's hard to change tradition.
Timothy D. Larson, a Connecticut state representative, should know.
He tried last year to encourage his state to move Halloween to a Saturday in October, citing the weeknight stress it puts on parents and children. But he found few other backers, and this year he's dropped the proposal, according to a story posted on the House Democrats of Connecticut website.
Changing Halloween is a "no-win situation," said Michael Silvestri, who has been manager of Peters Township for 36 years.
Until the early 1980s, Peters did sometimes change trick-or-treating night, usually to schedule it around school work or other activities that were going on in the township.
Invariably, a change that was good for some people would be a change that was bad for others, and Mr. Silvestri said he'd hear about it.
The township council decided -- no matter what -- to stick with Oct. 31.
And they did -- although one year trick-or-treating was scheduled for earlier in the evening so people could get home to watch a Steelers game -- until this year.
On Monday, the township fielded calls all day long from people asking about Halloween and saying it should be postponed, Mr. Silvestri said.
Peters, like many other communities, decided to reschedule Halloween for 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday.
"We were very reluctant to change the day," he said. "We took the position years ago that we are going to do it on the 31st no matter what. The hurricane was a bit of an extreme situation that caused us to change it."
In Castle Shannon, Police Chief Ken Truver also struggled with deciding whether to postpone. Most people are aware that kids are out and about every Oct. 31, he said. Drivers may not remember to be as cautious if they are trick-or-treating on Nov. 3.
But Castle Shannon eventually decided to hold trick-or-treating from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday. Even though Wednesday just called for rain.
"It's rained and snowed in the past on Halloween," he said.
Kara Michaelson of Mt. Lebanon grew up in Erie, Pa., where Halloween was never not on Oct. 31, even if it snowed. She remembered trick-or-treating with a coat over her costume.
With a daughter in first grade and a son in second grade, she was glad it was postponed this year because of rain and leaves that have made sidewalks slick.
But, as she waited outside to pick up her children at Lincoln Elementary School, she said she isn't in favor of making the change permanent.
"I think it's important for the kids to observe the holiday on that holiday, for the sake of tradition," she said.
Niki Conaway of Mt. Lebanon, the mother of 9- and 7-year-old daughters and a 3-year-old son, agreed.
"You lose a bit of excitement I think when you have to wait for it," she said.
Still, she admitted that Halloween on the weekend has its benefits. Before Sandy loomed on the horizon, her daughters were asking her whether, on the day after Halloween, they would be able to sleep in later even though it was a school day.
She told them no. She had better news for them when she learned Mt. Lebanon was postponing trick-or-treating to Saturday.
"Now, you guys can stay up, have a good time and sleep in."
First Published November 1, 2012 4:07 pm