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Towns in southern Alberta asking residents to celebrate Halloween early

Click to play video: 'Sunday scaries coming a day early for some Alberta towns?' Sunday scaries coming a day early for some Alberta towns?
WATCH ABOVE: Halloween is right around the corner, but for some towns in southern Alberta it could be coming a day early. Jessica Robb has more on why at least one town is asking residents to hit the streets for their treats on Saturday – Oct 28, 2021

The Sunday scaries take on a whole new meaning when Halloween falls on a Sunday. But this year, some southern Alberta towns are asking residents to take part in festivities a day early.

A post on Facebook from the Town of Nobleford caused a stir on Wednesday. Citing the town’s ‘history of Christian and moral values,’ residents were asked to observe Halloween on Saturday instead of Sunday.

Facebook post from the Town of Nobleford asking residents to celebrate Halloween a day early.

They aren’t alone. Cardston also made a post telling trick-or-treaters to hit the streets on Saturday.

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Facebook post from the Town of Cardston asking residents to celebrate Halloween a day early.

“Today, Halloween is often associated with people dressing up as devils or goblins or witches,” said Jennifer Otto, an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Lethbridge. “It’s not entirely surprising that some Christians may be less comfortable celebrating Halloween on a Sunday.”

Read more: Majority of Canadians hesitant to hand out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters: poll

Otto said Halloween actually has religious roots. It started as a European medieval Christian festival, or feast day.

“The feast of all saints, honouring all the saints who had previously died,” she said. “And also all the souls.”

Trick-or-treating didn’t hit the streets until the 1950’s. The Halloween people know today became popularized in the 1970s with Hollywood horror movies.

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This year, Halloween falls on a Sunday.

“Sunday is the Lord’s day in Christianity. It is the day that honors Jesus’ resurrection,” said Otto. “As a result, it’s marked by worship services and spending time with family. So some of the associations with Halloween might be particularly unwelcome on a Sunday for Christians.”

In a statement, the town of Cardston said the area was settled by Mormon pioneers at the end of the 19th century. Today, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make up a large part of the population.

They observe Sunday as the Sabbath day.

Read more: Dr. Hinshaw outlines Halloween safety tips as Alberta records 770 new COVID-19 cases

Moving Halloween to Saturday has always been the recommendation of town council whenever Halloween falls on a Sunday. The statement continues that this is done “so that more children could participate in trick-or-treating. Otherwise, there would be a large portion of the population who would simply not let their children go out, or even hand out candy to trick-or-treaters who went on Sunday. Trick-or-treating is not prohibited in Cardston on Sunday, but children who go out that night may discover many of the houses in town will be dark.”

Nobleford town council posted a statement to Facebook on Thursday, hoping to add some context to the decision. The statement reads, in part, “a representative from a local religious institution approached a town councillor and requested council discuss a potential rescheduling of Halloween. Out of respect for the individual, the request was deliberated during Tuesday night’s council meeting.” The motion passed with one vote against.

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Statement from Nobleford Town Council on Thursday.

Town council adds that this is a recommendation. They don’t have the power to reschedule Halloween.

Other towns in southern Alberta are also making the move to celebrating on Saturday. The Town of Raymond will be closing down Main Street for a town organized trunk-or-treat on the 30th. The Town of Magrath is not designating any day for trick-or-treating, instead letting residents choose which day they would like to go out  and to expect trick-or-treaters out on both Saturday and Sunday evenings.

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