Have a Scary Fourth of July

by Dave Michels

The Fourth of July is a fine holiday.

  • It’s a real holiday – no work.
  • It’s a casual holiday  – hot dogs, really?
  • It’s a summer holiday – parks, pools and picnic areas are the places to be.
  • And it is NOT a retail holiday – no real obligation to shop or buy presents.
  • Best of all – it’s a holiday with few obligations… light a sparkler and be done.

But the Fourth of July has two annoying characteristics – it doesn’t get dark until late – and the fire danger makes lighting fireworks a bit … well playing with fire.

I have a solution. But have so far been unsuccessful in selling it. My solution is to switch observance of the Fourth of July and Halloween.

Lighting fireworks during the height of fire season is just silly. Plus having to keep the little ones up so late is also ridiculous. October is cooler, low fire danger, and it gets dark earlier thanks to Day Light Savings Time and the tilt of the earth. Celebrating US independence on October 31 makes perfect sense – but what about Halloween?

Halloween is also quite inconvenient. It is cold in October, and nothing ruins a great costume more than a jacket. Sending our kids out to wander the streets in October makes no sense whatsoever. Halloween interferes with school, it’s cold and often snowy or rainy- and the kids often have to dodge snow or mud on the ground. Halloween has summer written all over it. Let the kids run around on a warm summer night – stay up late with no concern for school and enjoy all the candy without fear of catching pneumonia.

Halloween is more of custom than a holiday. There is little historical association with it needing to take place in October. As for Independence day, the colonists declared independence on July 4th, 1776, but the revolutionary war lasted for years. Plus the US Constitution wasn’t signed until 1787. That’s quite a window. It is wrong to say the US declared independence in 1776 as it wasn’t even created until 1787. Regardless, of the actual day – it isn’t unreasonable to move the observance to a different day or date. Several holidays are celebrated on a specific day rather than a specific date (Easter, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day to name a few). Labor day and Memorial Day were intentionally designed to extend the weekend – and President’s day rarely falls on Abe’s or George’s birthday even though it was created to replace those observations. The point is moving a holiday around for sake of convenience is with precedent.

Halloween will be fine in July, but Independence Day will require some changes. Perhaps Hot Dog Soup will become a new tradition. We can enjoy fireworks with hot chocolate and remember the perils of fighting a war through the dead of winter.

I am not proposing the elimination of either holiday -that would be unAmerican. I just want to swap when we observe them for the sake of convenience, safety, and enjoyment for all. It’s really about the pursuit of happiness.

Please join me in my cause. Send your kids out to trick or treat tonight. Put scary decorations on your porch, carve up a spooky watermelon, and have a great Halloween.