Thursday, March 31, 2005

Daylight Savings Time

Donald Prerau recommends bringing the start of Daylight Savings Time forward from the first Sunday of April to the middle of March, and moving the end from the last Sunday of October to the first Sunday in November.

I largely agree in the springtime, if only that the beginning of Daylight Savings time, when the sun suddenly stays up until 7:30pm, always seems to me to herald the arrival of spring and always lightens my spirits after the dark winter. Every year, I'm surprised how much an hour of extra light in the evening cheers me up.

However, he provides an odd reason for the extension in the fall:
Daylight time now always ends just before Halloween - sometimes, as last year, on Halloween morning. Alarmingly, children's pedestrian deaths are four times higher on Halloween than on any other night of the year, and daylight time would provide another hour of light for young trick-or-treaters.
But trick-or-treating is no fun unless it's dark out. I remember one year when I was a kid, my parents made plans for our family to go out for dinner on Halloween, and I was really disappointed that I would have to go trick-or-treating around 5:30pm, thinking that it would still be light. Luckily for me, the end of daylight savings time meant that it was already pitch black by then. So, really, daylight savings time on Halloween would just make kids want to go trick-or-treating an hour later. (In any case, in northern cities the sun sets on Oct. 31 by 5:30pm even with daylight savings time, and trick-or-treating usually happens after dinner, so it's not clear how the extra hour of daylight would help.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But surely there's some sort of age considerations on the Halloween case that you're not considering. Younger children (say younger than six or seven), who go trick-or-treating with their parents, often go earlier in the evening because of earlier bedtimes and the need for the sugar effect to wear off before then. Surely, they could benefit from an extra hour of sunlight to help them out. Plus, if Halloween is on a school night, which it often is, that determines the time of the trick-or-treating in my experience.

I agree that trick-or-treating in the dark is better and I do think that this is an odd reason for changing daylight savings time, but there's some other issues going on here that you're not addressing. 

Posted by Jesse Zink

4/01/2005 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But my whole point was that trick-or-treating is better in the dark - so actually ending daylight savings time actually does kids a favor by providing more dark hours in the evening. So the young kids who have to go to bed early would enjoy it more if it was dark when they go trick-or-treating at 5pm or whatever early time they need to go to calm down before bedtime at 8.  

Posted by Andrew

4/02/2005 10:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Gary Peterson said...

I used to live in Seattle which has daylight saving time before I moved to Arizona which diesn't have daylight saving time and most times I dind't get my first trick or treater at my house until about 6:30 PM so even with daylight saving time it would still be rather dark because the sun would set on Haloween at 5:54 PM with daylight saving time. Some places it might be still light at 6:30 PM on Halloween with daylgiht saving timeif you are farther west and south in the time zone ir in a place that had changed time zones to the one that was to the west. However those are the places that seen to be most against daylight saving time extentions because they feel they are already on half daylight saving time in the winter and then to time and a half the rest of the year.

8/11/2005 06:01:00 AM  
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