You’re basically going to be on one side or the other.
Visions of pumpkins and skeletons and teeny-tiny trick-or-treaters fills your heart with glee. OR with a righteous fury previously thought of as only reserved for the angriest of talk-back radio callers.
Like it or not, Halloween in Australia is fast becoming commonly practiced. Schools, shopping centres, streets and entire communities are celebrating what used to be thought of as an all-American holiday.
But should we be embracing it? Or is this something best left alone?
As with any social issue, it’s good to see a range of perspectives. Below you’ll find the arguments for and against Halloween. Think of it as Slimer v The Ghostbusters. But with far less Bill Murray. Which is really a Halloween tragedy, when you think about it.
In favour of Halloween Australia
Halloween offers kids (and the young-at-heart) the chance to dress up, go bananas and have FUN. Costumes don’t always have to be scary – this could be the opportunity to dress up as a favourite character or role model.
Halloween promotes community engagement and togetherness. There are street parties, decorations and festivals popping up all around the country. It’s a great way to get in contact with your neighbours – or even meet them for the first time!
Against Halloween Australia
It’s a commercial holiday built, for the most part, about buying and eating. There’s a lot of money to be made in the Halloween industry – costumes to candy to candy-carrying-cases. It’s often a case of ‘dollar dollar bills, ya’ll’ for a lot of business owners looking to capitalise on childish excitement.
While building stronger community links can definitely be seen as a positive, a lot of the traditions surrounding Halloween run contrary to messages about child safety. We talk to our children about being cautious and wary about interacting with adults they don’t know and then we encourage them to traipse up to stranger’s houses and ask for candy! Messages like this have the potential to be very confusing for younger children (and even some older ones) so this can become a point of contention for many parents.
The meaning of Halloween is quite murky, especially in an Australian context. What exactly is being celebrated and why? Is it disrespectful to particular cultures? How do children and adults contending with things like disability or sensory processing difficulties handle a festival that is all things colour, noise and bright lights?
The ‘trick or treat’ vibe can definitely be taken too far when it comes to things like assault or vandalism. Although it’s rare, sometimes it can only take one (poison) apple to spoil the whole barrel.
The verdict on Halloween in Australia
In all honesty?
Any holiday that promotes people to actually TALK to each other and engage in the wider community can only really be a good thing. Sure, this is a holiday that’s completely driven by lollies and acting like a bit of a brat but there’s a sense of fun and frivolity that even the most serious spectre could crack a grin at.
If you can pair your Halloween in Australia celebrations with keeping a firm grip on child safety, appropriate behaviour, eating junk food in moderation and being aware of the rights of others then that sounds like a pretty fun time. It’s a great chance to get amongst your community and have a bit of silly fun – something we often don’t have time for in our busy everyday lives.
What’s YOUR verdict? Spook-tacular or crap-tacular? Leave your verdict on Halloween in Australia in the comments!
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