You Can Keep Your Saturday Insanity

Children in costume trick or treating on Halloween.
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Tuesday Halloweens Are The Best Halloweens

Stop trying to convince everyone Halloween should be on Saturday. You’re missing the best part.

I am here to offer my services to all you weeknight Halloween haters. Anyone who doesn’t want to take their kids trick-or-treating this year. Anyone who thinks Halloween should only happen on a Saturday, who is angry and frustrated and pre-exhausted by the idea of trying to wrangle your kids into their costumes on a school night. I’m so jealous of all of you who get to take your kids out on the best possible night of the week for Halloween: a Tuesday.

You are looking at it all wrong. What you’re not seeing is the entire blissful Halloween weekend stretching before you, well ahead of actual Halloween. This period used to be called something awful like Devil’s Night or Mischief Night, and everyone was supposed to egg each other’s houses and spray-paint things and perform some kind of PG-13 version of the Purge, but we’ve mostly moved on from that. At least I hope we’ve moved on from that. Egg is very difficult to clean off windows.

Instead, your pre-Halloween this year will most likely include all of the Halloween-adjacent activities that are arguably better than actual Halloween. I can almost guarantee you that, anywhere you live, there will be some sort of hay-bale maze, pumpkin-patch photo opportunity, and spooky neighborhood walk (aka ogling of the neighbors’ inflatables). And you will be able to actually enjoy these things instead of wedging them in ahead of trick-or-treating on a Saturday night, the night everyone thinks should be Halloween.

It’s the Big Show. The Holy Grail of Halloweens: a school-day Halloween.

Instead of trying to shoehorn in the best parts of Halloween into a single frantic day, you and your kids can luxuriate all weekend. You can watch lightly frightening movies — might I recommend a Hocus Pocus double feature or perhaps a largely forgotten movie, The Little Vampire? Eat some sort of homemade chili or warming soup and maybe, yes maybe, carve a jack-o’-lantern without having a family meltdown. Because Halloween is not until Tuesday and now you have time to do all of these things.

If you run out of time on the weekend, you still have Monday. Glorious Monday, when the kids are maybe in school and you can replenish all of the Halloween candy you bought for trick-or-treaters and then slowly polished off on your own. Or maybe you have one of those kids who has changed their mind about their costume 48 hours before Halloween. You’ll have time on Monday to go to Target; you’re probably going to be there anyway since you’re stocking up on Halloween candy.

Sure, the selection will not be good (this is a drawback that cannot be avoided), but your child will figure it out. Go for the lesser, generic witch costume or give up and go shopping in the hallway closet for my personal favorite childhood costume, a traveling fortune teller. (Hey look — you really have been saving that sequined scarf all these years for a reason!) Either way, your kid will be fine and you’ll have those precious extra 24 hours to smooth things over.

Tuesday will arrive. It’s the Big Show. The Holy Grail of Halloweens: a school-day Halloween. Some schools will give kids permission to wear their costumes to school but I’ll be honest with you, most won’t. If you’re lucky, your kids’ homeroom will declare it something like an orange-and-black day at school and maybe host a fun Halloween-themed afternoon dance where kids can boogie to “Monster Mash” and “Thriller” and “I Put a Spell on You,” even though these songs are all ancient and that last one is very difficult to dance to.

By the time the kids get home from school, you’ll be in the blessed four-hour window.

Maybe your kid’s teacher will let you bring in some Halloween snacks for the class to share, although no one would blame them if they said “absolutely not” to such a request. If their teacher does allow it and you are so inclined, some spider cupcakes are always a hit. And there will absolutely be at least one extra for you to enjoy with your afternoon tea.

By the time the kids get home from school, you’ll be in the blessed four-hour window. You just have to get yourselves from dinner to costumes to trick-or-treating to bath time to bed (with a detour for candy counting if absolutely necessary). Another blessing of the Tuesday-night Halloween is that everyone can collectively give up on cooking. This is a pizza or McDonald’s night for the whole neighborhood. Trick-or-treating on a Tuesday takes on a frenetic, we’re-all-caught-in-a-blizzard-together kind of energy that is actually quite invigorating. The clock is ticking for all of you, so you don’t mess around. You run from house to house, making the same, “Wow can you believe we’re out here partying on a school night?” small talk with the other parents.

It’s a no-holds-barred kind of Tuesday that only comes along once every seven years or so. You don’t have to do anything other than Halloween for the night. The kids have to go to bed early because it’s a school night. You all get extra candy on a Tuesday, which is traditionally not a candy night, even for adults.

I would do it for you in a heartbeat. Just give me your kids and off we’ll go.