Louisa Claire



A Halloween Rant…and Confession

I have a confession.

I was very ready to have a big rant about the way Halloween is being increasingly celebrated in Australia. While I am aware that it did not originate in America it is most widely and opulently celebrated in North America and Canada and next to Christmas, it’s the holiday that features most strongly in American film and television. To deny that the rising popularity it has found in Australia is due to anything other than American influence is…well….deluded.

Just sayin’

BUT…I’ve read a lot of blog posts about this and had some very interesting conversations about and have realised that for some Australians this is becoming quite a big deal. It’s not changed my mind about it but certainly given me an insight into some other perspectives.

In particular, I can see that for expat communities, celebrating Halloween is a way of helping them feel connected to their culture and a way of sharing that with the people who they now share community with.

The best thing I’ve heard is from a friend whose street celebrates each year – they receive a letter in the mail in the lead up to Halloween asking if they would like to take part and if so to put a sign up on their letter box. That way any trick or treaters know which houses are participating and which to avoid. For an area with quite a few US expats that sounds like a great approach.

BUT I do think that joking about Satan is just not funny and I think kids dressing up as the devil also not funny.

Not funny.

I’m sure that to some of you I am sounding like a total party pooper. That’s not it, I promise! I’m all for fun and parties – can’t stop me, but I’d love to see us creating a celebration that is a reflection of our culture or priorities rather than just adopting one from Hollywood.

What about you? How do you feel about Halloween in Australia? Will you and/or your little ones be out trick or treating tonight?


Thoughts on “A Halloween Rant…and Confession

  1. Each to their own… We will be going trick or treating tonight, well we are going to a Halloween kids party (our 2nd for this week) and the kids will be going T or T after all together.

    My theory is… I still participate in Easter and Christmas and I don’t believe in Jesus / God / religion.

  2. I just moved back home after 10 years living in the US (Im Australian) and so I have been exposed to the Halloween thing for a decade now, and have raised a child with it (he’s 7). I have to say that the whole dressing up as the devil thing is largely unfounded. Ive never seen kids who arent teens dressing up as anything scarier than a ghost or witch (pointy hat, cape and broom). I wasnt sure about it at first and then after being involved I saw what a great way it was for neighbours to get into the spirit, for kids to be creative (most people end up making at least an element of the outfit) and imaginative. My son went as a lion, elvis, cowboy, pirate, and old-fashioned golfer over the years and I can honestly say – this being our first year back that we wont be celebrating it, that Im sad about it. Its a really whimsical holiday, not at all focusing on devils or evil or the things that I imagined that it was – at least until the kids are older – in their teens, I have no idea what they do then, but imagine it would be a little more sinister if teens have any say in it! So for what its worth, give it a go, or at least be open to trick-or-treating and you may be surprised at how cute it really is to have 5 3 year olds at the door squealing ‘Trick or treat!” in their adorable costumes.
    Karyn recently posted..I Was Flamingoed (and more of my week)My Profile

    • I think I was further put off when I saw a bunch of kids about 10 walking around as devils full with cape, red face paint, head gear etc… I just really don’t think it’s funny. Little girls as princesses and the like is a total different ball game, you’re right. I can imagine that after years of taking part it would be hard to miss it!

  3. I hate how it’s become so much of a big deal over here, but each to their own, as long as we don’t get tricked, if we choose not to treat!

    I remember growing up, our primary school used to do something for halloween, but I was never allowed to participate, but I know parents these days just let their children participate so they don’t get left out.

    • It does seem to be becoming a more dominant cultural activity here and it makes me a little sad to see us adopt something that is so commercial and Hollywood :(

  4. I think it’s a great way to meet your neighbours and have some fun. Who am I to spoil some kids’ fun when they come to my door, by playing scrooge? I wish there were more opportunities to legitimately go door-knocking around the neighbourhoods, maybe we would all stop feeling so isolated.

    I have a bows of treats ready and we’ll be going trick-or-treating at least for a little bit.
    Dorothy recently posted..My son’s too clever for this ‘burbMy Profile

    • I can see how it could be a really community building thing if you were in an area where it worked like that – I certainly saw a great group activity happening last weekend and you’re right – there’s something really great about that!

  5. I agree Dorothy – this is only the 2nd year we are doing anything for Halloween and the kids are SO excited. For them, it has absolutely nothing to do with the devil or anything remotely evil – it’s about dressing up and having fun and eating lollies! I’ve noticed a few houses around that have decorations up but I also know that not everyone responds in a friendly manner when we knock at the door – just hope they remember they are dealing with kids!

    I like the idea you mentioned in your post about doing a letter drop beforehand. I think this would encourage more people to participate and would allow people not wanting to participate to be left alone.

    We are going trick or treating later tonight and I hope to have a blog post up shortly after.

  6. I haven’t bought anything, and honestly, we have a big fence and a dog so I’m not expecting anyone. I’m not against it for moral issues; I really just can’t be bothered, and don’t want to have another thing to send money on.
    Jess recently posted..Heart Training 101My Profile

    • How do you feel about it from a faith perspective Jess? That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot and The Architect feels quite strongly about but I’m really interested in how others approach it?

  7. We generally shut the gate and nobody comes in – we have no gate this year and I am hoping nobody comes round as I don’t have anything to give them so I will have to take the trick I guess….

  8. We celebrated here, we had a party last weekend (a little early) but it was all cute, sweet, coloured spiders in ice cubes, cute fun kids crafts (which can be found on my blog). I did nothing scary, as my daughter would have nightmares. Halloween is just plain and simple GOOD FUN. My kids were keen to get involved so we embraced it and have had a ball. They haven’t trick or treated yet, because people are so yay or neigh about it, but we had our own treat hunt so to speak and other little bits of fun with their little friends.
    Mandy recently posted..My Happy Place – Celebrating HalloweenMy Profile

    • It’s so great that you can find a way to embrace it for your family while realising where the rest of your neighbours are at with it – I can imagine it wouldn’t be much fun for kids to go door knocking and not get anything. Maybe the letter drop idea would work for you next year?

  9. not at all interested in halloween!!!….. the dressing up can be fun, but isn’t it really just an excuse to gorge yourself silly on junk food and lollies!!??? kids get plenty enough sugar as it is (and i’m the one that gets the lolly bag after any party)……… and i think it’s advertised more because it’s just another thing to spend money on!!

    not for us thanks!

  10. I agree with you – I do not buy into this holiday at all. When kids come and ring the bell, I let them know that we don’t participate (in a fun engaging way of course – would hate to be perceived as a bad ole meanie – how ironic would that be). I tell them if they wanna come back tomorrow dressed in their normal clothes I will happily give them lollies. With so much violence in the world why add to it or condone it!! But as one of your readers said – each to their own. My kids have never participated – we have explained why we do not “celebrate” this day and now as teenagers they are quite happy not to go out with their mates.
    Mandy recently posted..I am LOVING …… the colour Orange!My Profile

  11. We’re not into Halloween at all either. Well that’s I lie. I celebrate Samhain at the more seasonally appropriate time for Australia. Where we live the schools seem to really push the kids to go trick or treating. On the upside though this year is the first year where I have seen parents with little kids, not little kids on their own.
    We just put up a sign saying we don’t celebrate.
    Glad I’m not alone feeling it is a bit commercial ;)
    Caroline recently posted..What I’ve been up toMy Profile

  12. I waited to see what the comments were here.

    It seems a large number don’t agree with you so I was interested to see why.

    I too am not a fan. I don’t see the point in joining in on such an activity, when I lived in Ireland I enjoyed the fireworks and taking part in their tradition of the celebrations but here it isn’t the same.

    To me it is just a totally commercial thing, spend money on costumes, buy lollies, kids eat lollies.

    But, from reading here i wonder if we will both change our minds when our children are at school and this is more a group activity that the kids are doing. I like the idea of neighbours being out and saying hello.

    So I am totally with you right now, but wondering if I will say the same in a few years time!
    Claireyhewitt recently posted..The Sibling InviteMy Profile

  13. Well, I am Canadian so I am coming from this from an entirely different perspective. As a kid I loved Halloween. The costumes, my favourite one was a clown costume made by my mom, the carving of the pumpkin, and of course the goodies. My kids are super excited because we have a dinner party with neighbours before heading out trick-or-treating. Also they are both super excited for the parties held at school and daycare.

    The perpective that it is about celebrating the Devil and dressing up as one it not exactly correct. I could get into the whole history of it, as I am an historian, but I won’t. If you are intersted I will happily email you a copy of an article I wrote about the history of modern Halloween celebrations.
    Jenn@Fox in the City recently posted..Rollercoaster RideMy Profile

    • Thanks Jenn, sounds interesting! I didn’t mean that it was about celebrating the devil just that I think dressing up as the devil as your constume (child or adult) isn’t funny or something to joke about. It’s such a huge holiday in America, it’s just bizarre that it’s becoming big here when our only real exposure to it thus far as come from Hollywood. Hope you had a great time with it this year!

  14. This is the first year I’ve marked Halloween and that’s only because they were having Halloween cooking and activities at childcare. Ella was dressed as a witch, which she thought was lots of fun. For her, it’s about the dressing up and getting to do something out of the norm. However, we wouldn’t have acknowledged it otherwise.
    I agree, that each to their own. xx
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  15. I find the whole knocking on strangers doors and asking for candy thing a little creepy. I don’t answer my door on halloween. I wasn’t always this way, my mum loves halloween. Being half american, she embraces all of those traditions and we did a bit of trick or treating as kids and always had candy to give out.
    But these days, my neighbours ARE strangers, which is sad sure, whatever. But I don’t encourage kids to knock on my door to get candy and I will not ever encourage my children to knock on strangers doors for candy. I wont even go into the mixed messages here.
    If you have a neighbourhood where you know each other – then that’s lovely, go forth and trick or treat. fun.
    I pretty much ignore halloween because it doesn’t interest me, the same way I ignore the melbourne cup. I am aware of it and I don’t stop anyone else having fun, but I chose not to participate.
    toushka lee recently posted..Hugs Are Better Than Sticker ChartsMy Profile

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