“Trick or Treat!”
What relevance is Halloween in Australia? For many people of my generation (in their mid 40s), the first exposure we had to the American tradition of Halloween was in the movie E.T. (by Steven Spielberg, 1982). In the years that followed, you might see references to Halloween in other American TV shows or movies. I also remember hearing an “On This Day” segment on radio for October 31st and the announcer said something like “… celebrated in the United States by children dressing up in costumes to earn treats in their neighborhood”.
These days in Australia, where for 364 days of the year we tell our kids not to accept lollies from strangers, so many kids are sucked into this American tradition that we really know nothing about, and go door knocking to earn a bag full of sweets.
I’m not sure what year it was we first got the knock on the door to be asked to “trick or treat”, but being unprepared without any treats I tried to explain that Halloween was not an Australian custom and they really should go home. The thing is that I felt bad for disappointing those kids, and hoped they wouldn’t be back to give me the “trick”. For the last few years we’ve been prepared with a stash of lollies and chocolates for the “treat” part of “trick or treat”.
I don’t know what disappoints me more, the fact that Australia is becoming so Americanised (what’s next, Thanksgiving?), or that most of the local kids don’t even follow the tradition of dressing up – they just go door to door with empty shopping bags expecting free lollies and chocolates”.
This year, we are very happy to accept a dinner invitation for tomorrow night from relatives on a rural property, who claim to have never been tricked or treated.