Trick, No Treat 

Council messes with everyone's Halloween

Council messes with everyone's Halloween

Last week, our Metro Council voted 18 to 16 to recommend that Nashville kids go trick-or-treating not on All Hallow’s Eve, but on All Hallow’s Eve Eve. That would be Saturday, Oct. 30, not Sunday Oct. 31. Got that? Good.

When I heard that the Council was talking about moving Halloween, my first thought wasn’t about the actual trick-or-treat schedule. My first thought was about the unspeakable vanity of the Metro Council. Sure, I can believe a lone councilwoman, namely Lynn Williams, got up one morning believing the citizens are crying out for her leadership on the all-important trick-or-treat issue. I can believe that she convinced herself that Nashville should keep the kids off the streets on a night-before-school night, and a church night besides.

What I can’t understand, for the life of me, is how Williams got 17 other adults to nod in agreement and vote to move Halloween for the good of all childkind.

You Halloween-moving Council members, listen to me: We parents can handle this stuff all by ourselves. We don’t need you worrying about our children’s bedtimes, or church attendance, or sugar consumption. This is personal stuff. It’s not public business.

Jeez, next thing you know, the Council will be telling us when to plant our daffodil bulbs, rotate our tires, and get our teeth cleaned.

The Council’s meddlesome vote has knocked this whole week out of whack. For instance, my neighbor Mike is cohosting a little kids’ Halloween party. It was originally scheduled for Sunday, then moved to Saturday, then moved back to Sunday. Mike summed up the Council’s action pretty well. “They’re [messing] with my Halloween,” he said through clenched teeth.

Halloween is a big deal in my part of town. At one house, it’s full-out theater. People perform skits and do dance numbers, complete with lights, props, and sound effects. Some neighbors station hunchbacks and trolls in their yards. One family displays a couple hundred jack-o-lanterns on their front porch. This is not the kind of stuff that people do for two nights. These are one-shot deals. I’m betting they’ll happen not on Council Halloween, but on Real Halloween.

I admit, I’m seriously suspicious of Lynn Williams’ motivations. I know, the official position was that Sunday will be a night-before-school night, and Central Standard Time will go into effect Saturday night, a rare coincidence that would cause little tykes to go to school sleepy Monday morning.

I say that’s a big load of spin. Oct. 31 will be on a school night 70 percent of the time. Trick-or-treating is one activity that can start about 5:30 and be over by 6:30. That’s network news and Wheel of Fortune time. I see plenty of school-age kids at sporting events that last until 11 o’clock. Last fall, daughter Jess was in the Circle Players’ production of The Wizard of Oz. There were more than 50 school-age kids in the show. Rehearsals and performances ran until 10 or 11 o’clock. This went on for weeks. I don’t think anybody flunked out of school because of it.

I know that in some sleepy Southern towns, the citizens don’t celebrate anything other than Christian holidays on Sunday. I’ve got in-laws down in Statesboro, Ga., and they tell me that if the Fourth of July comes on a Sunday, the citizens will by-golly shoot the fireworks on the Third of July. I can’t help but think Councilwoman Williams was the tool of folks who don’t want little kids celebrating Halloween on Sunday because they think it would be un-Christian. Now, that’s spooky.

I’ll tell you what’s spookier yet: I have it on good authority that there’s a buzz in the Metro Council that they ought to get out front on this issue and move Nashville Halloween to the last Saturday in October every year.

I’m sorry, that’s just too Podunk for me. I don’t mind the stereotypes that have us Nashvillians running around barefooted and romancing our first cousins. I don’t mind that joke, “What’s a hundred feet long and has 32 teeth?” (Answer: “Front row at the Opry.”) I don’t even mind the guitar-shaped scoreboard at Greer Stadium. But I think I would be a little bit embarrassed if Nashville became the first Saturday-only trick-or-treat town in America. Besides making us look goofy, it would prove that we’ve got the silliest city government in all the land.

Yesterday, a friend suggested that since Councilwoman Williams is so concerned about Nashvillians doing the right thing, and because she’s clearly a proactive type, we all ought to take our Halloween pumpkins over to her house on Sunday, so she can make sure they get recycled the right way.

I wonder if she’d mind? If she’s in favor of this enviro-conscious scheme, I think it could be a fine new Nashville Halloween tradition.

Visit Walter’s Web site at http://www.nash-villescene.com/~housesense, or you can e-mail him at walter.jowers@nashville.com.

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