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SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would encourage Utah communities to bump Halloween festivities — like trick-or-treating — to the last Friday in October every year, passed out of the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee meeting Wednesday and will go to the full Senate for a final vote.
Senate Majority Assistant Whip Kirk Cullimore, R-Sandy, who is sponsoring SCR5, said his bill would provide a big benefit to parents and teachers across the state.
While the bill wouldn't change the date of Halloween itself, it would recognize a designated day for Halloween celebrations.
"We're not so presumptuous to think that here in Utah, we're going to change the date of Halloween," Cullimore told the committee. "What it does, is it says that we would like to recognize the celebration of Halloween to be the last Friday of October."
He said he's heard the most feedback on the bill from parents and educators who think the bill would be "fantastic," adding that students trick-or-treating late into the night poses educational problems the following day.
It would also be beneficial for workplace Halloween celebrations, where offices often dress up to celebrate the holiday.
"For those adults that just love Halloween, I would say that this extends your Halloween celebrations. You can celebrate Friday, Saturday and on the actual Halloween night. In my estimation, this is a win-win-win," Cullimore said.
Royann Gregerson is a Utah elementary school teacher who said she's been wanting a bill like this for 30 years.
"It's so disruptive when you're a teacher and it (Halloween) falls on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday," Gregerson said. "Friday's perfect because Friday is (a) shorter day usually. It's nice. Kids get to party, you send them home and the parents don't have to redress them, you know. They're ready."
Gregerson said she has proof that the day after Halloween often sees a huge lack in attendance for schools.
At her school (she didn't mention where she teaches), day-after-Halloween attendance was at 88% with 155 absences.
"It's because they're out partying. They don't want to go to bed, they get in late, so either they can't get up on time or they just stay home," Gregerson said. "Parents have said, 'We have a hard time getting them up. It's a party day.' We don't want to interfere with the party, so let them party and then they (can) stay up late."
After hearing from Cullimore and Gregerson, the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee passed SCR5 with a favorable recommendation.
Cullimore said he plans to have Halloween candy for the Senate during the final vote on the bill.