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Niagara Falls
Friday, December 8, 2023
Ross’s Ramblings: Let’s create a new tradition for Halloween
This house on Regent Street is in the lead for Halloween decorations this year. ROSS ROBINSON

Why is Halloween always awkwardly celebrated on Oct. 31? Mainly, because it has always been celebrated on Oct. 31.

Perhaps too often, I ramble that traditions hinder progress and stifle creativity in our lives. We tend to forget that today’s traditions were yesterday’s changes.

Think big, NOTLers, and let’s open up our minds. Be courageous.

Halloween 2023 is upon us and we have a golden orange opportunity to lead the league, to burst out of our shells and to carve our pumpkins differently.

Think big, and a few decades from now, people will be thanking the pretty town of Niagara-on-the-Lake for being open-minded and nervy. Unconstrained by the past and willing to better our lives with creativity.

Full disclosure: This is not original thought.

I tend to learn while traveling, and tend to modify, massage and even plagiarize good ideas.

About 20 years ago, I found myself in Steamboat Springs four days before Halloween, on Oct. 27, a Friday.

I had finished my business in Denver and driven to this ski town in the Yampa Valley for a weekend in the mountains: hiking, hot springs and cold beers with cowboys.

Late in the afternoon, the main street of this touristy town was busy with stores all open and decorated for Halloween.

Costumed kids and adults were out and about a few days before Halloween. Such excitement, with children, parents and merchants all into the spirit of the occasion.

They had obviously mixed up their dates somehow.

Wrong! It was Halloween in Steamboat Springs, a touristy town of about 13,000.

A few years earlier, some open minded locals had realized that it was fairly dumb to get all stressed out on Oct. 31 each year.

Leaving work early, collecting sugared-up kids at school early and deciding whether to stay home and give out treats, accompany kids around the neighbourhood, or go to an adult dress-up party.

There’s no divine rule that Halloween must be celebrated on Oct. 31. This is a man-made tradition, and therefore, it can be changed by men.

The tradition is linked to the Gaelic Festival of Samhain from medieval times, in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.

It has stumbled along for centuries, making our lives stressful for a few days each autumn.

It’s time to change this tradition for the better.

Let’s do a study and then vote to celebrate Halloween on the last Friday of October every year.

Much less stress, away from the peak day mandated by other towns and cities and the opportunity to save money on costume rentals.

Imagine the relief of letting kids sleep in the next day, not dragging them out of bed on a school day, after the overdose of excitement and sugar the day before.

Plans could be made by downtown merchants to join the party, and give out treats on the Friday afternoon between, say, 5 to 7 p.m..

I have done some research on this sociological, out-of-the-box thinking.

Celeste at the Olde Angel Inn, “probably” the best pub in the world, has her ear to the ground and after thinking about this concept, gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.

A friend of mine was recently in Mooloolooba in the Sunshine Coast region of Australia, an hour or so north of Brisbane in Queensland.

This friend told me that they made the big change to “Halloween on the last Friday in October” a few years ago.

It’s been a forehead thumper and everyone there wonders why everyone everywhere doesn’t do it.

To repeat, “today’s traditions were yesterday’s changes.”

Rambling to a close, is there anything more perfect than a perfect autumn day?

Cool and fresh, plus the coloured leaves in our wee town.

People smiling, out and about, appreciating what seem to be bonus days.

Pray for peace in our mixed-up world and seize the days.

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