I want Australia to embrace this funny, fun celebration and all its glorious trappings.
American cultural imperialism? Lighten up, haters!
Not an Australian tradition? Who cares, we're not importing Thanksgiving or July 4th, so calm the crap down.
It's fun. It's harmless. It's cheap and easy to join in. And you don't have to have kids or be a kid to get into it. And no, it's not all about kids being greedy and bullying neighbors into giving them lollies. As this excellent post at MamaMia explains, it's about community.
When I was a kid we lived in the US for a few years, and Halloween was fantastic. I love that Modern Family Halloween episode which gives a reasonable idea of what it's like there. It's HUGE. Some people go all out and really get into the whole decorate-your-house-and-scare-the-kids thing; others just cheerfully open their doors and hand out candy. The streets are crawling with kids in costume, from the simple to the amazingly, funnily inventive. (My parents' finest Halloween hour: dressing me and my sister as a pair of dice, in massive boxes with arm-holes and black circles on them, and black top hats. Most uncomfortable costume ever, thanks guys!)
Teenagers chuck eggs or wrap houses in toilet paper. OK the eggs are not so much fun. And I'm sure it sucks to unwrap your house and chuck out all that toilet paper. But it's an awesome sight seeing a house and the tree in its front yard all wrapped in toilet paper the morning after Halloween, as we saw one year. Good times!
Here in Australia, I know some people are grumpy about Halloween, and actually I do understand. But I'm not one of them.
The good thing about Halloween, unlike most other celebrations, is that it seems so utterly silly and meaningless (these days). And as it has so little meaning, there's no pressure to partake.
If you don't want to join in, you don't have to.
On our trick or treating expedition last night, there were plenty of people who didn't answer their doors - and that's OK. Others answered and said "Oh I'm sorry, we're not playing" - and that's OK. A couple of people had nothing but wanted to join in anyway - one lady ran out and chased the kids to give them a box of Cheezels; another man said "Give me ten minutes!" and jumped in his car and raced to the shop to buy sweets. What a sweetie!
One house had a Jack-o-Lantern outside.
We hung orange balloons on our door to let kids know they were welcome. At one glorious point we were over-run and ended up handing out lollies on the front lawn.
How many of our neighbors joined in? About a fifth, maybe. But everyone was nice, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Our kids - ours and a friend's, who joined us - had a ball. In the words of Vampire Girl A, "Best Halloween ever!"*
*It was their second.
Do you "do" Halloween? Do you like it, hate it, or do you totally not care?