THE world is getting ready for a scarily brilliant Halloween, but Australia refuses to care. The haters’ complaints range from accusations of commercialism to complaints about its overseas roots. What have we got against this deliciously wicked, thrillingly dark time of year? After all, it’s normal to gorge yourself on chocolate over Easter, or exchange overpriced presents and indulgent treats at Christmas. But Halloween? There’s hardly a pumpkin in sight. Google Trends shows the volume of searches for the word in the UK is 41, almost double the 24 in Australia. In the US, it’s 100. Australians are known for a sense of fun, and yet we keep trying to bury Halloween.
None of our objections actually make sense. It’s nonsensical to complain that Halloween is a foreign pastime when so much of Australian culture harks back to a British heritage. British settlers took the tradition to the US and Canada in the 17th and 18th centuries, where it was enthusiastically embraced. It only bypassed Australia because of an accident of timing, according to the Washington Post, with colonisation coinciding with a Victorian backlash against the holiday. Do we really need to stick to buttoned-up 19th-century morality judgments?
All Hallow’s Eve is believed to have originated with the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland, when a pagan celebration merged with the Christian All Saints’ Day. It was thought the souls of the dead came back at this time to visit their former homes. Now the holiday has morphed again, into a more secular celebration, you could almost call it the perfect reflection of modern-day society’s diverse beliefs. Other vague objections involve the weather, with Halloween marking darker autumn nights in the northern hemisphere.
But if we can merrily exchange snowman cards at Christmas and talk of Easter bunnies and chicks in autumn, then we don’t have a leg to stand on.
So let’s be ghoulish this year, rather than just grumpy. Instead of saving the hideous costume for the Spring Races, let’s dust off the cobwebs for this, the baddest of all holidays.
Later today and with their parents or older siblings in tow the little trick-or-treaters will be ringing the doorbell AND banging the screen door (just in case the doorbell is broken) after which I will open the door and be greeted with a loud chorus of “TRICK OR TREAT!!!” It is in that instant when my trivial resistance to this thing called Halloween will evaporate into thin air as I give in to the delightful sight of the little munchkins’ “scary” outfits and expectant looks. Getting into the spirit I’ll say solemnly (a la Lurch-like), “One moment please” and then dash into the lounge room, put on the witch’s hat with the straggly red hair, grab the 2 half pumpkin bowls (one filled with lollies the other with fruit treats), grab the broomstick and stuffed black cat and return saying “TREATS FOR YOU LITTLE TRICKSTERS!!!” :)))
Thank you in advance little Munchkins for reminding me of my own childhood times of fun and laughter and Happy Halloween to all!