I love Halloween but I know many of my friends feel differently. I’ve heard all the arguments (it’s unAustralian (this particularly puzzles me as Santa Claus and Easter eggs are allowed), a pagan practice, greedy kids etc etc). I am not phased by the arguments because everyone is entitled to their own view. Now that’s Australian!
For me, Halloween is a celebration of community. The children in our street and their friends dress up and connect with their neighbours. If it wasn’t for Halloween some of the big generation gaps in our street would never be crossed by conversation. It’s supervised – lots of parents and advertised – neighbours choose if they want to be involved by displaying a sign. Our street is very steep and very few kids go to all the houses. Once there’s a few lollies in the bag, it’s more of social occasion.
For me Halloween began one magical night in Tennesee when all the children in the mall were wearing costumes. When #1 son saw the old holiday slides, he wanted to go trick or treating. We explained that no-one did in Asutralia (this was 10 years ago). But every year he asked and eventually I relented and arranged a visit to my immediate neighbours. For the next week my phone was ringing with people asking why we didn’t call on them.
The next year we letterbox dropped some ‘street rules’ about lollies, quantities and the start time. Neighbours who didn’t want to participate would simply not display the ‘Trick or Treaters Welcome Here’ sign on their mailbox and doorknockers would respect that. When lollies ran out or dinners was in progress, the sign could be removed. There was a high proportion of older people in our street and I was certain they wouldn’t want to be interrupted but they were the biggest supporters. They loved those trick or treats and I love the fact that my children eventually met all their neighbours.
Nowadays it’s a well-anticipated annual event – by kids and adults alike. My other half builds a haunted house and sometimes there are 60 kids queued to go through. This year things were a little different as we had a lot of illness in the family and just didn’t have the time. But good fun was still had by all and I’m looking forward to next year.