As a child, I often wondered why I’d always have school the same day as Halloween. We got off a whole week, sometimes more, for Christmas, why not one day for Halloween? Not to mention the day after Halloween, when all the kids are stuffed with sweets and tired from the long night of walking all around town. Due to the normalization and public acceptance of the Halloween holiday, schools across the country need to formally recognize it as a holiday and give it it’s deserved day off.
Where do holidays come from? They usually come from traditions passed down from older generations to keep it alive. Halloween first started as a Celtic festival of Samhain. They celebrated at this time because it was the end of the summer harvest, and it was the beginning of the cold winter months. They believed that, with winter being seen as a very dead and cold time of the year, that the beginning of those months would mean that spirits come out. This day was usually around October 31st. To throw the spirits off, they decided to dress up as spirits and ghouls. The history of Halloween is long, and we’ve been able to preserve the basic tradition of dressing up and walking around. Some people do more, like decorate their houses, carve pumpkins, and make pies.
The day of Halloween is very exciting for many different people. The people that tend to be more active are younger people. These younger people are also the ones that have to go to school even though they’re going to be distracted all day and not want to do any work because they’re too excited for what comes after school. Not only this, but teachers never really assign work on Halloween day because they know their students aren’t going to want to do it. Overall, if a school day lands on Halloween, you can bet that no student will be doing work, but they’re still made to go.
Some people might argue that Halloween only takes a couple of hours to walk around town and get candy. “Why would school be cancelled for a couple of hours?” Well, if we’re following that logic, why do we have a whole week off for Christmas? Opening presents only takes a few hours on Christmas morning, nothing happens on Christmas Eve except for parents wrapping the presents. Why do we get a whole week off for Easter? Why do we get a whole week off for Thanksgiving? Why can’t we get one day for Halloween?
Thanksgiving began when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe shared a feast together. Thanksgiving wasn’t truly declared a federal holiday until President Roosevelt signed a resolution saying so in 1941, about 320 years after the Pilgrims landed in North America. The first proof of Halloween’s origin was a piece of literature back in the 9th century. So, a holiday about a feast that happened in the 1600’s gets federalized, but a holiday that’s been around since the 800’s (possibly even earlier) doesn’t even get one day of recognition?
The age of Halloween makes it older than some holidays we already celebrate and let out a whole week for. When school does land on Halloween, it’s a very unproductive school day anyway. The target audience of Halloween should be able to fully enjoy the holiday meant for them and parents should be able to have the opportunity to do fun things with their children before trick-or-treating. With more time before trick-or-treating, parents could bake pies, make cookies, carve pumpkins, and maybe even be more likely to dress up with their kids for Halloween. In conclusion, schools need to recognize Halloween as a holiday and let out school for it because it would be better for the teachers, the students, and parents.
A Short Horror Story
A tiny sound of scraping pulls open my groggy eyes as it reaches my ears. The direction of the scraping seems to be coming from my window. “Stupid tree,” I think to myself. There’s always been a tree right in front of my room, not that far from the only window in my room. This is the first time it’s scraped at my window. I guess it’s growing. I yawn quietly and glance over at my clock. 3AM? I have school in a few hours… I should probably go back to bed. The scraping finally stops as I turn over and get in a more comfortable position.
I’m startled awake as my alarm goes off. I groan and slap the top button of my digital clock. My eyes are blurry with sleep. I get up and start to get ready for school. Once I’m done brushing my teeth and getting dressed, I put on my backpack and head downstairs. “All ready to go, bud?” my dad asks.
“Yeah,” I say. I’m happy my dad is able to drive me to school every day. It’s nice to talk to him. We get in a dark green truck and head to school.
“Was there a storm early this morning?” I ask, hoping to hear details of how much rain we got.
“Storm? Not that I know of. Why?”
“Oh,” I look down, disappointed, “The tree outside my window was making a scraping sound. I thought that meant there was a storm.”
“That’s okay, it was just probably windy out,” he says. “How about I find out what branch is causing the noise and trim it, huh? I don’t want your sleep to be affected by something small like that,” my dad looks at me lovingly. Ever since mom passed a few years ago, he’s only had me. He’s a great dad to me; I just wish my mom was here to keep him company. Soon enough, we’re at the middle school. He drops me off and reminds me to write down what homework I have. We say bye, and I go to class.
School seems to fly by, and I’m suddenly on my way back home on the bus. I have to remember to finish up an essay due in English class, and I have a worksheet for math. I’m thankful I don’t have too much homework. I’m glad my teachers are all pretty nice this year. I hop out of the bus and walk down the driveway to my house. “I wonder when dad is going to trim the tree,” I say aloud, staring at the tree that’s been causing me problems. I make my way into the house and upstairs into my room. I set my bag down and pull out the binder for my English class. As I look around the room for my phone charger, something catches my eye. I walk towards the window, staring at what’s in front of me, trying to make sense of it.
There, on the bottom of the window, are patches of missing paint, exposing the wood underneath. My hand trails the details of a wood patch and I feel dips underneath my fingertips. These are… claw marks. My eyes widen. The dips in the wood mimic the distance between human nails. The scraping wasn’t the tree. It was something alive. It was something trying to get out. Something that is… still inside.