Back in 1999, the Farmer’s Almanac ran an article and started an informal campaign suggesting that Halloween, or more importantly, trick-or-treating, be moved from the traditional date of Oct. 31 to the last Saturday of the month.
The staff’s arguments were quite logical. Trick-or-treating is more of a tradition and Halloween is not really a legal holiday. I mean, we’ve combined all of the presidents’ birthdays to better accommodate “good days off.”
Why not Halloween?
When my own kids were little and my husband and I worked full time, Halloween was a flurry and a fuss — trying to get home at a reasonable time in order to put something of some nutritious value into your children’s mouths before they went seeking candy door to door.
Meanwhile, parents with small children were already knocking at your door within five minutes of your getting home, while you were trying to get your family fed and your own children all costumed up.
We figured this out eventually and began eating by candlelight at 5 p.m. on Halloween.
In 1999, Halloween fell conveniently on a Saturday — hence the campaign. This year, it again falls on a weekend night and parents can relax, feed their children well, dress them up with patience, take loads of pictures and linger among their neighbors on this fun and social evening that occurs just before we all retreat into the warmth and comfort of our own homes for the winter.
I’m as tired as all of you of the politicking and polling currently under way, but this is a campaign I could get behind.
So anyway, speaking of Halloween, here are some of the scariest things I heard this week from friends, family and colleagues:
• “They say this trial [that I’m covering] really may last a full two weeks, maybe more.”
• “I need a Halloween costume for that thing tonight.”
• “I’m not kidding you. I swear to God. I saw a real possessed person once. She floated up into the air and a voice came out of her that you wouldn’t believe. … That’s why I’ll never watch ‘The Exorcist’ ever in my life.”
• “When I’m stressed I dream that I’m naked in the State House and I can’t find my clothes.”
• “Are you Renee Ordway?” (I’m never quite sure what’s coming after that question.)
• “I guess we need to call a plumber.”
• “Do you want to go out to the mall on the Friday after Thanksgiving?” (Swear to God, legitimate question.)
• “Mom, all that candy you bought for Halloween is gone.” (For good reason, I already know this.)
• “I’ll see you Monday morning at 5:10.”
• “Take your shoes off, please.” (from a court security officer)
• “Put your purse right up here so that it can go through the X-ray machine (same security officer)
• “Have you talked to Mom this week?”
• “Have you talked to your sister this week?”
• “I’m a forensic psychiatrist [and this had nothing to do with the trial I’m covering]. Actually, I have three doctorates, one in neuro … blah, blah … blah.”
• “Oh yeah, Nick called looking for you. He was yelling something about a police SWAT team outside the house [Nick was at an overnight at a friend’s house]. I told him to calm down and just never mind it.”
• “Hey, no real hurry, but have you had time to … ?” (from three different folks)
• “Hey, I wanted to tell you that I really liked your column last week. I wanted to tell you because a lot of the time I don’t.”
“Yeah, we definitely need to call a plumber. How much are you getting paid for that trial coverage again?”
E-mail Renee at firstname.lastname@example.org and listen to her and co-host Dan Frazell from 7 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday on the radio at 103.1 The Pulse.