Nov 1, 2012

All Hail Halloween!

You know what? I love Halloween. I love it!

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?


  1. Sorry, Halloween is regarded in my household as an American hallmark holiday tradition. But if if makes you happy (and I get what you say about the community thing) then that is good.

    Mexican Day of the Dead - now there is a holiday!

    1. Did you know though, that they are the same thing?
      See here:
      and here:
      Both part of the pagan and Christian traditions around 31 Oct - 1 November, honouring the dead, end of harvest, beginning of winter, keeping safe from the underworld, etc.
      All good stuff!

  2. Hi Jackie,

    Hallowe'en - no thanks! I wrote a blog post about it once:

    I've mellowed a little since then but when it comes to Hallowe'en I am definitely the equivalent of Scrooge (before the ghosts came).

    Sorry :-(




    1. Oh PM - that is indeed a scroogy post!
      Bah humbug!

  3. I vacillate between thinking it's harmless fun and in being annoyed at another meaningless American event being shoved down our throats.

    Despite that, we've always got enough lollies and chocolates to give away but this year our intercom was broken so I did't have to share!

    1. Half your luck. I stocked up on crappy cheap lollies and we didn't get as many kids as we expected so I'm stuck with them!

  4. Nice post but can I can point out please that Hallowe'en is an ancient CELTIC ceremony and has nothing, at all, to do with America. The only part they added were the words Trick or Treat, and the tradition of egging or toilet papering. Celts have, for hundreds of years, been guising (getting dressed up as ghosts etc) and going door to door saying "The sky is blue the grass is green, are ye daeing Hallowe'en?" then performing a joke, or a dance or etc and receiving chocolate (sweeties) in repayment, or sometimes money.

    Celts have been dooking for apples and celebrating Hallowe'en since long, long before the USA existed. If you have Celtic ancestors and choose to celebrate Hallowe'en you can enjoy yourself safe in the knowledge that you are carrying on a tradition long enjoyed by your forebears. Happy guising.

    1. Very true Alison, though it's the American stuff that everyone knows. But these are all good points - I didn't know ducking for apples was so old, I admit I thought that bit was only American. Thank you!

  5. My two girls absolutely adore it. I fee it would be very mean spirited of me to not allow them to participate.

    1. I think that's how many of us have ended up joining in!

  6. As an expat American living in Brisbane, I love Halloween!
    And I wish more Australians would get on board...if they did then it could have the same community feel that it has in the States!
    We have a Halloween party every hopefully we are spreading the good Halloween vibes!
    Trick or Treat!
    Caitlin from Mother Down Under

    1. Cool, Caitlin! I'm sure it will grow here and your parties will become a solid tradition in your community. So much fun!

  7. Love it!! The decorations are so fun, the children get to dress in creepy costumes; its all over in one night...So much fun.

    This year we went "big" with it, and had over 100 children visit our home, and my children had a blast!! But many people I work with, were very anti it (their children are not!!), and some didn't like it because of its link with the deceased; others said too American (mind you, it doesn't stop them watching US TV shows and movies!!).

    As for us, we have embraced it as a fun way to spend one night of the year doing something a little different - and where is the harm in that?


    1. My thoughts exactly Annie. Very well said.
      100 kids - wow, that must have been... exciting...!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...