All across the rest of the country, Halloween comes and goes on October 31st. However, in Lancaster County, depending on which township you live in, Halloween can fall from the 28th until All Saints Day – November 1st. I’ve lived in Lancaster for over ten years, and I still don’t get it.
The first explanation I got was something about making sure kids trick-or-treated locally, and didn’t swoop in on neighboring areas. Which completely doesn’t make sense to me; I mean, if I could trick-or-treat on October 30 in my neighborhood and then a second time the next town over on the 31st, why not? The other explanation I heard was that local governments tried to keep Halloween away from school nights. Since my township has scheduled it this year to actually occur on Monday, October 31st, so much for that idea.
My secret theory (shhh) is that long ago Lancastrians mysteriously hinged Halloween on some sort of autumnal equinox calendar, just like Easter. In fact, wait – I’m sure of it! I bet, if we were to count the days between Easter and Halloween, they would be identical from year to year. Since Easter’s a moving target; that would shift Halloween out a day or two also, right? And hey – another thing – both holidays are completely centered on candy! Okay, Easter has a crucifixion thingy thrown in, but really – Easter morning we’re all looking around for the candy the Easter Bunny’s left, right?
I have to admit it; my husband’s the free-wheeling candy dispenser while I’m the meannie when it comes to Halloween treats. He looks forward to doling out handfuls of the “good” candy: mini-Hershey bars; peanut butter cups; Baby Ruths and Twizzlers. (What exactly are Twizzlers made from, anyway? There’s a plant in Lancaster; one day when I’m brave maybe I’ll drive over and take a peek.)
I, however, balance out his Willy Wonka-ness by suggesting we hand out dental floss, toothbrushes and/or mini-mouthwash bottles. These suggestions are usually answered by a gasp and a look of horror. But I can’t help it; after spending over 10K in dental bills this year, I’m actually being the good guy here: I’m helping the little tikes not raid their college savings to pay for crowns and dentures.
Hey, maybe Halloween and Easter were really thought up by dentists? A constant supply of customers – patients – drummed up at holidays on either side of the calendar. Genius.
Now, if we writers could expand on that… maybe there’d be a toothbrush with every purchase of an Indie book.