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It’s time to separate Trick-O-Treat from Halloween

Two years ago,  I wrote about my well documented desire to move Halloween to a potentially better weather day in October.  I’ve argued that it is time to embrace the practicality of celebrating this holiday on a day other than the last day of October because it is almost always too cold in most parts of the country for an enjoyable celebration.  And any historical or religious associations with Halloween are vestigial at best, at least in this country.

When I was a kid, I recall the majority of Halloweens growing up as being cold, dark and rainy. Think how disappointing it is to a kid being told that you cannot go trick-or-treating because it’s freezing cold outside or raining cats and witches.  Fun fact: the advanced forecast for Halloween 2019 in Chicago is Snow!

And as Susan over at Looking for the Good pointed out that until recently, it was dark out every year because they did the time change before Halloween back then, which might be good for scares but not good for kids who are Trick-O-Treating.

Over the years, there have been petitions to move Halloween to the Last Saturday of the month.  So far none have gained the necessary traction.  People just don’t like extreme change.   So maybe the compromise is to decouple Trick-O-Treating from Halloween proper.


Recently, the Halloween & Costume Association, the group that petitioned to move Halloween to the last Saturday of Octoberproposed a new holiday: National Trick or Treat Day. It would fall on the last Saturday of October and thereby extend the official Halloween celebration, rather than moving it.

This takes the kid portion of Halloween and moves it to a more parent-friendly timeslot while letting Halloween purists still enjoy the true meaning of the holiday: hooking with people at costume parties!

It definitely will help alleviate some unintended consequences that parents of school-aged children face.  If Halloween falls outside of the weekend, parents still have to go to work the next day.  What if you have an important meeting the next day?  Do you really want to be out on the streets until 9 am begging for candy?   Or trying to get your kid out of bed for school the next day is even harder when they are sugar-drunk.  Teachers don’t appreciate having to deal with students who are recovering from a chocolate bar bender either.

If you think about it, many communities already do this unofficially.  They will have special Trunk-or-Treat events, Family-friendly parades or weekend block parties to substitute for going out on Halloween night.  Look, the traditions we associate with Halloween didn’t arrive all at once or from day one.  They evolved over time.  There is no reason we cannot continue to fine-tune Halloween and make it more modern while still honoring the traditional aspects.   


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Marathon Monday, Running Related

Feeling melancholy about the Chicago Marathon I didn’t run

This time of year makes me feel a little nostalgic. For the better part of two decades, I was training for and running the Chicago Marathon. I’d spend the bulk of summer days running Piles of Miles with an almost religious adherence to a training schedule. It meant getting up at the ButtCrack of Dawn on Saturday mornings to get in a Long Run (LR) before the summer heat kicked into high gear.

Unfortunately, a combination of too many back-to-back marathons, a shredded meniscus and simply getting older have taken its toll on me. I can no longer run fast or far. I use to be able to throw on my running clothes and knock out 5 miles in 50 minutes or even less. Now I can barely run 3 miles nonstop.

Photo Courtesy of Robert Meyers

Photo Courtesy of Robert Meyers

I’ve made my peace with it for the most part. I certainly don’t miss being married to a training schedule or getting up at the wee hours of dawn for an LR. Or the Post Labor Day Blues. And after 22 marathons, not ever qualifying for Boston got a little old. You spent 18 Fridays going to bed at a decent hour during the socially active summer for one shot on a Sunday morning. If you have a bad 5K, you can make it up next week, but your garden variety marathoner needs at least a month to fully recover before running another race competitively.

This time of year makes me feel a little nostalgic.  But it also makes me feel a little sad.  I think what is making me gloomy is that I didn’t have Facebook to humblebrag on back in the day. All summer long my FB feed was filled with friends sharing their runs and their training tales and their marathon dreams. A few weekends ago was the big 20 miler, followed by the Taper. Good times that I remember so well.

Back in the day, I didn’t have this outlet. I sent my marathon story to people I thought were friends via email. Some of these people were good-natured and wrote back, using it as an excuse to reconnect, even if just for the afternoon. Others just wrote back congrats, which is the coded language of  I’m only maintaining this relationship on the off chance I need something from you in the future.  Still, others never replied.  Which is a cacophonous dialect of go fuck yourself. 

Let me be clear, I miss the ability to run these races in the first place, especially at the pace I use to (8 min/mile for marathons, sub 8s for most other races).  But I also feel I missed out on the social media aspect of all that.  As narcissistic as it was, I only sent out Marathon Stories.  I didn’t bother with great Shamrock Shuffle runs or amazing half marathon times.  Now I see all my FB connections sharing their marathon and other race results and getting a slew of comments and likes and I think, wow, I peaked too early.  Surely my breaking the 4-hour marathon mark would have gotten some ego-boosting Attaboys.  And when I finally set my Personal Best in ST Louis, coming within 15 minutes of Boston Qualifying, surely everyone would have encouraged me to keep on trying.

Was it pure narcissism or something else?  I think we all crave attention deep down inside, just perhaps in different forms.  Getting a response from the handful of friends who did write back made me feel successful for a few minutes at times when other areas of life were not as rewarding.


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