Utah resolution proposing designation of Friday for Halloween celebrations moves forward

Parents and children parade through the Cedarwood senior living community during the Sandy community’s Halloween parade on October 22, 2020, passed by a committee on Wednesday and will go to the full Senate for a final vote. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would encourage Utah communities to postpone Halloween celebrations — like trick-or-treating — to the last Friday of October every year was passed Wednesday by the Senate government’s Operations and Policy Subdivisions Committee meeting passed and will go to the full Senate for a final vote.

Senate Majority Assistant Whip Kirk Cullimore, R-Sandy, who sponsors SCR5, said his bill would greatly benefit parents and teachers across the state.

While the bill would not change the date of Halloween itself, it would recognize a specific day for Halloween celebrations.

“We are not presumptuous to believe that we will change the date of Halloween here in Utah,” Cullimore told the committee. “What it does is say that we wish to recognize the celebration of Halloween as the last Friday of October.”

He said he’s heard most of the feedback on the bill from parents and educators, who think the bill is “amazing,” adding that late-night trick-or-treating students are the closest raise pedagogical problems.

It would also be beneficial for workplace Halloween celebrations where offices often dress up to celebrate the holiday.

“For the adults who just love Halloween, I would say this extends your Halloween celebrations. You can celebrate Friday, Saturday and the actual Halloween night. In my opinion, this is a win-win-win situation,” Cullimore said.

Royann Gregerson is a Utah elementary school teacher who said she’s wanted a bill like this for 30 years.

“It’s so disturbing when you’re a teacher and it (Halloween) falls on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday,” Gregerson said. “Friday is perfect because Friday is usually (a) shorter day. It’s nice. Kids can party, you send them home and the parents don’t have to make it up to you, you know. They’re ready.”

Gregerson said she has evidence that there is often a severe lack of school attendance the day after Halloween.

At her school (she didn’t mention where she teaches), attendance the day after Halloween was 88% with 155 absences.

“It’s because they go partying. They don’t want to go to bed, they’re late, so either they can’t get up on time or they just stay home,” Gregerson said. “Parents said, ‘We’re having trouble getting them up. It’s a party day.’ We don’t want to disturb the party, so let them party and then (can) they stay up late.”

After hearing Cullimore and Gregerson, the Senate Administration’s Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee passed the SCR5 with a favorable recommendation.

Cullimore said he plans to have Halloween candy for the Senate during the final vote on the bill.

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Logan Stefanich is a reporter for KSL.com covering the communities, education, economy and military of southern Utah.

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