The city of Killeen has drawn criticism after its Monday announcement to move trick-or-treating to Oct. 30, one day before the scary holiday.
“Halloween is on Sunday, Oct. 31, but the City has reserved Saturday, Oct. 30 for trick-or-treaters and for those who would like to pass out candy or treats. As a reminder, children should always be accompanied by an adult,” a news release said Monday.
However, a lot of initial online reactions to the message has not been positive.
“I understand doing city wide events on the Saturday, but trick or treating should definitely be on the 31st. It’s usually that way even when it falls on a weekday. Why change it?” said Facebook user Cecilia Villa, responding to the news release.
“I don’t get changing the day instead of the time frame of trick or treating so that way they can do it earlier like they do when it’s during the week days.. Unless they are saying it’s for religious reasons, then it should be a personal choice, not something determined by a city,” said Elizabeth Ramirez-Boothe, another user.
However, Killeen spokeswoman Janell Ford gave the following explanation.
“There were a few reasons that went into the recommendation. Many citizens reserve Sunday for religious and family activities, and also the Saturday option provides parents the advantage of avoiding Trick-or-Treating on a ‘school night,’ that can include rushing and/or restricted time frames,” Ford said Tuesday.
Ford added that the Killeen community has been generally receptive to the idea.
“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the community on the decision, although we acknowledge the decision may not accommodate everyone’s preference. This is the City’s recommendation, and we hope everyone enjoys a safe and healthy Halloween.”
Killeen is not the first city to try moving the night of trick-or-treating when Halloween falls on a Sunday.
“Across the country, people are monkeying with the optimal day to dress up. In some cities, residents have decided to celebrate Halloween on Saturday to preserve the purity of the Christian Sabbath,” according to a Oct. 28, 2010, article in The New York Times. Halloween also fell on a Sunday during that year.
In the Times’ article, officials also said they wanted to move trick-or-treating from Sunday to Saturday so it would not fall on a school night.
Killeen city officials have recommended that residents follow these guidelines.
Stay home if you or any member of your group is sick
Wear a cloth mask (costume masks are not appropriate substitutes for protective masks)
Keep at least six feet of distance at all times; avoid parties, encourage small groups
Observe good hygiene by using hand sanitizer and washing hands
Wash hands and inspect candy before enjoying
Do not participate if you or any member of your household is sick
Wear a cloth mask when interacting with trick-or-treaters
Keep at last six feet of distance from trick-or-treaters
Keep all activities outdoors
Wash hands frequently when preparing treats and before and after delivering them
Consider contactless delivery, by pre-packaging treats and setting them out to grab