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Halloween Australia – Is It ACTUALLY A Thing?

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.

pumpkins for Halloween Australia

Like it or not, Halloween in Australia is fast becoming commonly practised. 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.

Read more: kids guide to the meaning of Halloween.

cookies for Halloween Australia

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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15 Comments

  1. 16/10/2017 / 6:10 am

    I’m a big fan – it’s all the good things of xmas without any of the bad things, as there is no expectation on how you celebrate it. You don’t actually have to do anything to keep people happy. However, as it has no actual tradition here, It would be great if we could move the date to midwinter so the carving pumpkins last longer and we don’t all swelter in costumes and wigs….

  2. 16/10/2017 / 7:20 am

    My husband is deadset against Halloween in Australia, even though our son wants to go trick or treating. It seems like a bit of a cash grab from companies that want to exploit the American tradition (but I do like the Lush Halloween range, that being said lol).

  3. 16/10/2017 / 7:30 am

    I’m definitely a big fan. I think it’s an amazing European tradition. I also think a lot of people consider it Americanized when it’s actually got a fairly strong base elsewhere.

  4. 16/10/2017 / 7:36 am

    I’m not a huge fan of Halloween and I have had issues due to the mixed messages re child safety it sent to kids.

    Having said that I do allow my now teenage kids to participate in trick or treat activities and I do supply lollies and treats to any neighbourhood children that come to our door too but Halloween is not my favourite special occasion and I really don’t understand the origins or purpose of it.

    Ingrid

  5. 16/10/2017 / 8:32 am

    I am a reluctant acceptor of Halloween but choose not to do anything for it other than if kids come to the door there is always a lolly from my collection to give them. I hear you on the community thing but I also think that depends on the community and how well children are supervised. We dislike the teens who arrive and are greedy and that happened to us a few times in Sydney. To the point that I asked them not to ring the doorbell (my hub has early nights) and to take something from what I had left out. The first group raided the lot.
    At school when I was a teacher/principal Halloween was NOT celebrated because it was not deemed to be Australian in its origins. I was happy it was that way. Still. these days parents and kids seem to want to be part of it and as an older person I say ‘if it is safe and hurts no-one go for it’. But don’t come to my door as it is annoying. Sorry! Bit of a grinch about Halloween. D x

  6. 16/10/2017 / 8:41 am

    I love Halloween but to be honest, I’m a big fan of anything that allows me the opportunity to dress up and decorate!

  7. 16/10/2017 / 10:29 am

    I can take it or leave it. Sometimes we have some fun with it other years we do nothing. Thank you for the link up

  8. 16/10/2017 / 10:35 am

    I usually have lollies for the kids if they come to our door. Some years we get heaps and other years we get none.

  9. 16/10/2017 / 11:52 am

    I’m happy to acknowledge it with a few decorations and some spooky snacks at home!

  10. 16/10/2017 / 3:50 pm

    I grew up trick or treating on Halloween. My parents are from Scotland and trick or treating is been a tradition for a very long time. We used to visit homes in the neighbourhood that we knew and perform an act for our treat, or do a trick if no treat was offered. It was light hearted fun for everyone in the community. The elderly used to love us kids coming around and would always have something small for us. Sadly, I think Halloween has become over commercialised, with very high expectations from kids about what they should receive as a treat.

  11. Michelle (inthegoodbooksblog)
    16/10/2017 / 6:49 pm

    I love Halloween. My three kids all enjoy it immensely too. It is a lot of fun!

  12. #itsmybirthday
    17/10/2017 / 12:44 am

    This is the time of the year I don’t want to see any kids what so ever, I’d like to spend my birthday in a semi quiet manner, this is an American thing and we should leave it them. Who the hell wants to go out of their way to buy lollies for unwanted guests i sure as hell don’t.

  13. 17/10/2017 / 11:15 am

    With a special effects make up artist who specialises in horror in the house, we are Beginning to love Halloween!

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