Should Halloween be moved to the last Saturday in October?

The kids will come home from school excited for a night of trick-or-treating. Costumes will be put on and dinner quickly eaten. A night with friends collecting candy is all they will think about. They don’t want to be bothered with thoughts of homework and school. Luckily most teachers know this and are kind enough to not assign any homework.

Parents later will be insisting kids stop their fun and go to bed as there will be school tomorrow. With frowns on their faces, the kids will put away their candy and try to fall asleep.

The next day they will be dragging as they get up and trudge off to school. (Or perhaps they will be hyped up if they had an after-breakfast candy fix.)

This is how every Halloween goes when Halloween lands on a school day. So, this leads some parents and teachers to wonder…why can’t Halloween be set as the last Saturday of October? After all, there are already some American holidays that have been assigned a specific day of the week – Election day, Columbus Day, Presidents Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day and Thanksgiving.

In fact, in the past, Time magazine and the Spirit Halloween retail store both have done petitions to ask Congress to officially endorse this change. But since Halloween is not a federal/national holiday, the federal government cannot make anything other than a proclamation.

But still others claim that Halloween cannot fall on the same day each year due to religious observances. It is after the eve of All Hallow’s Day, which is also called All Saints’ Day, a Christian festival in honor of all Saints.

There are numerous other religious attachments to October 31 or November 1. But the actual celebration that these kids are participating is more of a commercial holiday. Halloween is one of the top-selling months for candy and of course there is the sales of costumes and decorations. Americans spent $8.4 billion last year on Halloween.

If we separate the fun night of dressing up and begging for candy from a day of any religious significance, then there should be no harm in moving the date.

As a parent, I don’t know if I am all that concerned with moving the date. It is a once a year event, and many parents already must contend with keeping kids up late due to either their busy schedule or that of their kids. In all honesty, I would be fine either way. But every year that Halloween lands on a school night, I will still hear this question asked. Maybe one day we will have an answer.

Today’s Featured Author – Tonya Barbee

Please welcome Tonya Barbee as she stops by my blog as part of her virtual book tour promoting her book The Little Girl Inside: Owning my Role in My Own Pain. 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Tonya

She’s a singer.

She could dance all night.

She loves to burn candles.

She’s a neat freak but has a hidden junk area.

She’s very sensitive but working on that.

She wanted to be a DJ when she was in high school.

She was a drum major for two full years as well.

She also wanted to be an actress and write plays.

She dropped out of college in her early years.

She loves cooking new things.

Book Blurb

The Little Girl Inside is a prolific story of triumph and discovery of inner peace. With each page, the reader will be captivated while the author uses the writing pen as a sowing tool-seaming a garment of praise, banner of victory and fabric of joy. With imaginative color, the book is a perfectly designed combination of patterns expressing the maturation of a woman.

A uniquely designed transparent jewel every woman should own in her jewelry box. The Little Girl Inside is a ministry resource tool for women in search for transparency in the human heart. The author shows us how to overcome the inner battle of doing the right thing the wrong way, going from finding love in the wrong places to allowing love to be revealed in the right time and in the right place.

About the Author 

TONYA BARBEE is a novelist and aspiring playwright. Tonya grew up in Durham, NC, a family of four daughters and one son. Her father, Woodrow served his country for twenty years as an Army officer, retired then taught ROTC for another twenty years and her mother, Doris, a college administrator. She is a proud 1980 graduate of Frank W. Ballou High School in Washington, DC. She worked in operations and management for Department of Agriculture for twenty years. For the past ten years, she’s worked as a project manager for Department of Defense in Washington, DC. She studied at National-Louis University where she earned her Masters in Business Administration in 2009.

Although she’s worked her way up the ladder in the federal government, she had no idea she would end up writing professionally however she has always enjoyed sharing her personal life through story telling with those she thought she could help. Then something clicked. As she writes, she is in hopes that her work reaches her readers that have been through something and have contemplated giving up. Her goal is to enable her readers to become empowered to keep moving forward to accomplish their dreams no matter what challenges they have been faced with.

Tonya resides in Bowie, MD with two of her youngest children, Christian and Zachary. Her eldest two, Andrew and Jessica left the nest years ago and have blessed her with seven beautiful grandkids.’

You can find more about Tonya on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase The Little Girl Inside: Owning my Role in My Own Pain Amazon.


The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

This post is the thirteenth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Most likely at some point in your novel, your characters are going to speak to each other. This is called dialogue and it can be one of the trickiest things to write well.

Dialogue can provide several benefits to your storytelling. It can provide:

1.) Immediacy – Dialogue allows the reader to be involved in a scene. They experience what happened rather than have the author or a character tell them about it later. Wouldn’t you rather witness an argument between two people than hear about it later?

2.) Characterization – Dialogue is an excellent method of revealing character. When you hear a person speak, you get an understanding of what kind of person he or she is. It can reveal if they are educated, funny, happy, bored and so much more with not only what they say but how they say it.

3.) Information – Dialogue is a way to deliver information to the reader. It can reveal people’s passions, motivations and more. This can be a way to get back story or other important information into the story without dumping a lot of information in a long story-stopping description.

Writing realistic dialogue can be challenging, and how much dialogue you include in your novel can depend on your own preferences, circumstances in the novel or even the type of genre. But don’t avoid dialogue because you feel challenged by writing it. As with all aspects of novel writing, it takes practice to write dialogue well.

Now, dialogue needs to serve a specific purpose in the story. Rarely are you going to add dialogue to just pass the time. It needs to be used to advance the plot, reveal something about a character, establish the mood of a scene – or perhaps all three. When editing your novel, always consider if the dialogue advances the story.

Here are a few tips to help you with dialogue.

1.) Remember that people don’t speak in proper English. They use slang and contractions. They speak in fragments. They also rarely call each other by name. Spend some time listening to people speaking – at the mall, at restaurants, or even in your own home. This will help you develop natural sounding dialogue.

2.) One of the best ways to ensure your dialogue sounds natural and realistic is to read it aloud.

3.) Keep your dialogue tags (said, asked) simple. The more complex the tag line, the more it detracts from the actual dialogue. (More on this in two weeks.)

4.) Avoid using adverbs with the dialogue tags. (Example – he said angrily) Often the adverb is repetitious; the dialogue should tell us he is angry. There is no need to repeat it.

5.) Consider whether you even need a tagline. If two people are conversing you don’t need a lot of “he said, she said” to have people follow the flow of the conversation. Avoid using “said” too often. However, be wary of using words like “shouted,” “muttered” or “whispered. While they are perfectly fine, they should be used sparingly. It is better to have the dialogue convey that it was intended to be shouted or whispered.

Since dialogue can be important to your story, I have broken this topic into three parts. Next week, I will talk about internal dialogue and the following week I will go more in-depth about the use of dialogue tags.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

WANTED – Authors for Featured Author Spot

wantedAre you an author looking for some additional publicity for your latest book?

I host guest authors every Friday – any genre, both traditionally and self-published. I have openings in November, December and beyond!

The post can take one of three formats: author interview, book excerpt or a guest post on any aspect of writing, publishing, or book marketing.

Sign up is on a first-come-first-served basis, though I do have a few Tuesday openings to accommodate special requests for dates related book tours, book releases or cover reveals. (Click the Featured Authors link on the left to check out past authors.)

If you are interested, send me a message along with any date requests, and we’ll take it from there.