A Halloween Fright Indeed!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Guys, my mind is blown. Blown, I tell you. We all know I love dialects & regionalisms, but there are certain things that just are, you know? There are some things you don't mess with - things I never would've dreamed are different in other places.

Tonight I learned that all Halloween trick-or-treating is not created equal.

Where I come from, Halloween is a scheduled event that usually has very little to do with October 31st - unless October 31st happens to fall on a Saturday. Every year, the city schedules trick-or-treating time, usually the Saturday before Halloween from, say, 6:30-8:30pm. Of course, cities can schedule it whenever they want, but this is the usual time, & neighboring cities usually overlap so kids can't go trick-or-treating on a bunch of different nights!

Here in New Hampshire, it's done the same way - frankly, it never occurred to me that it could be done any other way. The City of Portsmouth originally scheduled Trick-or-Treat Night for yesterday from 5:30-7:30pm, but when a freak snowstorm blew through (perhaps you heard about it), trick-or-treating was rescheduled & was instead held today from 5-6:30pm. 

During the course of a Twitter conversation with Grace, I learned that in other parts of the country, trick-or-treating is basically a free for all. On Halloween day (I think?), costumed kids start knocking on doors & don't stop until whenever they feel like it!

A HALLOWEEN FREE-FOR-ALL! I'd never heard - or dreamed - of such a thing. This seems insane to me. How do you know when the kids are coming? How do they know when it's time to stop? How annoying! And it's on a week-day? WHAT? That's exhausting!

Upon further research, I learned that city-scheduled Trick-or-Treat Nights (sometimes called Beggars' Night) are exclusive to Ohio, Iowa, Western New York, Massachusetts and, you guessed it, New Hampshire. One blogger, a non-Ohioan living in Columbus, wrote a "defense" of free-for-all Halloween, but I don't really understand what he's saying, which is why I put "defense in quotations. Not helpful.

I have lots to say about free-for-all trick-or-treating, as demonstrated by the conversations that ensued on Twitter & Facebook. Apparently, like, 80% of my social media friends think I'm the crazy one here, as it seems the majority of the country has never heard of scheduled trick-or-treating. On Twitter, a few folks seemed appalled at the idea of timed trick-or-treating - and while I am equally appalled by the idea of un-timed trick-or-treating, I hate feeling like people think Ohio is backwards & podunk. Doesn't a set schedule for trick-or-treating just makes sense? It's safe! It's orderly! Porchlights turn off when the set time is over! Go home!

Hey, at least we're not from Des Moines. They get really wacky with their Halloween traditions.

Images: Clipart.com, MyRemoteRadio.com

1 comment:

  1. I have never heard of a scheduled time to trick or treat! I am from north Dakota and now live in MN and there is no such thing as a scheduled time in these parts! You turn your light on if you are giving out candy. You turn it off if you aren't. It somehow all works out with very little confusion!!!


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