If you’ve ever traveled to another country during October, or if you’re from another country, you might have noticed that the Daylight Savings Time (DST) is a bit different in the United States in comparison to other countries. In a lot of other countries in the Northern Hemisphere, like the United Kingdom, DST ends on the last Sunday of October. Then, said countries turn their clocks back one hour and continue life with one extra hour of sleep. Pretty nice.
Strangely enough, though, it’s not that way in the United States and a few other countries. We wait until the first Sunday in November to turn back our clocks — and it’s a pretty recent change, only instated as of 2007. Why the change? Supposedly, it was a way to conserve energy. It would give us all an extra hour of sunlight in the afternoons, as the explanation goes. Sounds pretty fine, then, although a bit confusing that more people wouldn’t make that change. If it conserves energy, why wouldn’t it be more popular among other countries?
Because it doesn’t conserve energy.
Every single study that was conducted on this suggested that either there would be absolutely no change in energy consumption, or the change would mean we used even more energy. When the United States decided to make the change, it had absolutely nothing to do with energy usage, despite what might be stated; it was entirely because of Halloween.
Each year, candy companions make over $2 billion from Halloween alone — not turning back the clocks until after Halloween means that kids will trick-or-treat for longer, with more daylight, and thus more candy will be sold and consumed. The corporations lobbied hard for the change, and they clearly succeeded in that endeavor. According to Michael Downing, an expert on DST, this is no recent phenomenon. Candy companies have been attempting to get this changed since 1982. There was a hearing on DST in 1985, in fact, and they went so far as to place pumpkin candy on the chairs of every senator, trying to win favor. It didn’t work then, but in 2005 they managed to get the Energy Policy Act passed, which changed DST starting in 2007.
Last Halloween, candy companies made over $2.5 billion; chocolate candy sales increased 12 percent from 2013, too. The addition of an extra hour seems to be working fine for them. It’s funny how Valentine’s Day and Christmas are frequently referred to as the holidays that are corporate-controlled, that exist just to encourage buying more and more gifts, but all along, it was Halloween that was so corporate-focused. Who’d have thunk it?