The Friday NewsPress editorial is incorrect. The city can change trick-or-treat night and has done so in the past when similar conflicts existed. It was done one time when I was on the City Commission. We even established the time, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., enough time for children to cover their neighborhoods and friends, gathering a reasonable amount of sweets.

As in the past, this is done for safety reasons for all concerned – our citizens, parents and children and Stillwater police who have all they can handle on ballgame evenings.

It also removes the conflict of the many families whose children go with them to the ballgames, so they don’t miss out on trick or treating. It requires the cooperation of all, including the NewsPress.

The editorial was correct that Halloween Day cannot be changed by the city. Halloween, translated “hallowed” or “holy evening,” is the eve of All Saints Day, established by the Roman Catholic Church in the 700s to counteract the pagan Druids’ autumn festival “Samhain,” translated “summer’s end,” a day of feasting on foods grown during the summer. The church also scheduled holy days on New Year’s, Easter and Christmas to counteract pagan feast days.

Over the years some of the pagan customs have become mixed into the Christian customs. Costumes of saints and ghosts, translated as “spirits” of the saints, were worn by children to the Halloween festivals of the church.

Ghosts, spirits (evil) fairies, witches, elves and cats out to harm people are of the pagan customs. Jack-o-lanterns are from an Irish custom and legend. Jack was a man, as the legend has it, unable to enter heaven due to his miserliness, nor hell due to the practical jokes he played on the devil.

So Jack had to walk the Earth with his lantern on judgment day. Trick-or-treating is a custom that evolved out of Irish legends and pagan customs, of costumes of saints, Jack and evil. Many church and other events for children are held on Halloween as alternatives to trick-or-treating.

The NewsPress editorial needs to change its suggestion regarding porch lights. Mine will be on Thursday night for trick-or-treaters. It will also be on Saturday night as will many others going to the OSU ballgame. But not for trick-or -treaters, who will needlessly come to my door. It will be on so I can safely get to my door as I return from the ballgame.

So please support the city’s decision for the sake of all. Lights on Thursday for trick-or-treating but no trick-or-treating Saturday.

Jim Burtschi


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