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Halloween – I Don’t get it

Halloween – I Don’t get it

Halloween, I don’t get it.  Kids, of various ages, are dressing in “spooky” costumes, walking the streets, knocking on the doors of people they don’t know and taking lollies (I’m not going to call it candy) from complete strangers.

I don't get Halloween

When we grew up, Halloween was a strange American tradition we saw in movies like E.T.  It’s probably only really taken off here in Australia over the last 10 years or so.  The first time we had kids knock on the front door and yell “Trick or Treat” I asked them if they were American.  When they said “no” I asked why they were doing this, to which they answered “to get free lollies”. 

Those kids had no idea what I was talking about when I told them we had no “treats” so they’d better try and trick me, so I asked them to tell me about the tradition of Halloween and where it came from.  They couldn’t do that either.

don't call it candy

Of course we don’t want to be the Halloween grinch, so these days we have a bowl of lollies at the front door for the “trick or treaters”, and to avoid the possibility of a rotten egg “trick” being thrown at the house, but I still don’t get why Australia has taken on the American Halloween tradition, when it has no relevance here.

I also wonder about the logistics of the Halloween “trick or treaters”.  What would happen if everyone went out to “trick or treat” on Halloween night, that would leave no-one to answer the door and hand out the treats?

Anyway, that was just a short blog with my thoughts on Halloween. 

I’d better go now, there are kids knocking on the door…

Halloween

Halloween

Halloween Pumpkin Faces

“Trick or Treat!”
Really?

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.

 

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