It’s only July, but Americans already have Halloween on their minds.
A year-old petition to move the date of Halloween to the final Saturday of the month (Oct. 25 this year), from Oct. 31, is gaining renewed traction online and fast approaching its goal of 75,000 signatures. The petition was launched last year by the Halloween & Costume Association (HCA), a trade association of businesses which focuses on promoting the holiday in the US.
The petition had close to 68,000 signatures as of Friday morning (July 26). If it reaches 75,000, organizers will send it to US president Donald Trump for consideration. (The petition is one of 2,300 on change.org which listed Trump as the “decision maker.”)
It’s not clear what has reignited interest in the petition. Quartz has reached out to HCA for comment, and will update this post if they reply.
Halloween is traditionally celebrated in the US on October 31. This year, it will fall on a Thursday. The authors of the petition argue that moving the holiday to a Saturday would allow more parents to take their kids trick-or-treating, avoiding Halloween-related injuries, and allowing adults to join in on the fun. A 2018 study written by researchers in Canada found that the risk of pedestrian traffic fatalities is higher on October 31 than on other days, especially among kids.
It’s not exactly a mystery why an organization representing companies that make, import, or sell Halloween products would want the holiday to be on a weekend. As HCA puts it, “why cram it into two rushed evening weekday hours when it deserves a full day!?!”
It seems that tens of thousands of people agree. But they might be disappointed to know that, even if president Trump gets their petition, there’s not much he can do, since Halloween is not a federal holiday. Changing the date would require Trump to ask Congress to make it a government-regulated holiday first, which, considering that only six federal holidays (pdf) have been created since 1888, is unlikely to happen anytime soon.