Inquirer Editorial: Halloween has become an executive decision

Twins Liam Harencame and Garret Harencame did their trick-or-treating Wednesday in Lawrence Park, Pa.
Twins Liam Harencame and Garret Harencame did their trick-or-treating Wednesday in Lawrence Park, Pa. (GREG WOHLFORD / Erie Times-News / AP)
Posted: November 05, 2012

It used to be that Christmas was the only holiday big enough to be stolen, ruined, or saved. But like some kind of zombie army, Halloween has grown almost as imposing.

So when "Frankenstorm" Sandy made landfall in New Jersey just two days before Halloween, something had to be done. Gov. Christie's solution took a characteristically expansive view of his powers, but it was brilliant in its simplicity: He rescheduled Halloween.

The governor issued an executive order citing storm-related risks to the safety of trick-or-treating children and concluding: "I, Chris Christie, governor of the state of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the constitution and by the statutes of this state, do hereby order and direct: Celebrations of Halloween scheduled for October 31, 2012, in all parts of New Jersey shall be held on Monday, November 5, 2012."

For a telling contrast, consider the response of Mayor Nutter, who is often quick to focus on the limits rather than the possibilities of his power (see Philadelphia Housing Authority). Said Nutter: "I'm not in charge of Halloween."

It is certainly difficult to imagine ghosts and vampires submitting to bureaucratic delay, and some humans felt the same way. One Cinnaminson man whose family defied the governor's trick-or-treating moratorium told The Inquirer, "We can't be the only people that think it's ridiculous the government is telling people's kids they can't go out on Halloween." Gloucester City officials decided to go ahead with Halloween not to "defy the governor," but "to bring the community together."

In any case, Christie's attempt to rescue Halloween by rescheduling it showed a welcome empathy with the state's children and families. So celebrate it tonight if you can. Halloween isn't dead, or even undead. As Dr. Frankenstein might have put it, it's alive!

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