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Is Halloween on Halloween?

By Ed Brock

Barbara Thornton prefers that Halloween be celebrated on Halloween, even if Oct. 31 falls on a Sunday.

But she realizes that some people may feel otherwise for one reason or another, and she just wants to know what day she should expect trick-or-treaters to ring her bell. In other states in which the 75-year-old Navy wife has lived the county or state set an official day when, like this year, there was a Sunday Halloween.

"Most of the time they made it on a Saturday because of the religious preference," Thornton said.

However, Clayton County authorities are taking no position on which day the little ghosts and goblins should take to the streets.

"As far as I'm concerned I'll leave that to the people," said Clayton County Chairman Charlie Griswell.

Personally, however, Griswell said he will celebrate Halloween on Saturday.

"It seems like to me it's more cordial to celebrate on Saturday," Griswell said. "Sundays should be celebrated for one thing and one thing only and that's going to church to give thanks to the Lord for our blessings."

The county's police department isn't choosing a day, either, Capt. Jeff Turner said.

"We just want everybody to be safe," Turner said.

Also, none of the county's municipalities have picked a day.

Thornton said Rhode Island once issued a statewide edict moving Halloween from Sunday to Saturday, while California had to decide to keep Halloween on Halloween. She's not the only person who wants to know what will happen in Clayton County.

As Bob Taylor is a board member of the homeowners association in his Jonesboro subdivision Foxfire off of Walt Stephens Road, several residents came to him for clarification on the day for Halloween. He wasn't able to give them a solid answer, either, though he would just as soon do it on Sunday.

"If we do it on Sunday they'll just have to wait until we get back from church," Taylor said. "I expect that we'll have a few people who will come on Saturday night."

Taylor said his church would hold services from 6 to 7 p.m. The First Baptist Church of Morrow will continue to have its usual Sunday evening seminar at the same time, around 6 p.m., said the church's pastor the Rev. Stephen Cook.

The church has made no official declaration on which day its members should go trick-or-treating.

"My hunch is our families with children will go out on Sunday night to trick-or-treat," Cook said.

But nobody in the church has made much of a fuss about having the devilish holiday on a Sunday, Cook added.

"I've been really surprised, but that's fine," Cook said. "It's really not been an issue."

For Thornton, the question is simply practical. How much candy should she buy?

"It's either buy way too much candy and have some left over or not buy enough and deprive some poor kid of his candy," Thornton said.