When I was a kid Halloween was on the same list as Thanksgiving and Valentines Day; something that America celebrated and nothing more. Oh, we might have been lucky enough to watch a 7:30 Scooby Doo Halloween Special, but really it just was not on our radar.
I don’t recall when the Valentine’s Day shift occurred; I was probably too young to care. Still despite the fact that we are not as ‘into’ it as our USA cousins, there’s no denying that Valentine’s Day has become more and more a part of our culture. Most people buy a card and show a little appreciation to their significant other on this day. There’s still the odd guy who says ‘I refuse to support a celebration created by Hallmark.” Or “I Love my wife everyday of the year I do not need to buy flowers on the 14th of Feb”
I just think Valentine’s Day is a good excuse to get a babysitter and go to a nice restaurant. Why would any rational person want to fight that?
But Halloween; that’s a different story.
I have noticed the Halloween merchandise creeping into the stores for the last 4 or 5 years. In that time I have always been sure to have a bowl of lollies on hand ‘just in case’ (no-one wants to be the scrooge of the neighbourhood) and usually we might be lucky to see half a dozen kids. Last year was the first time we allowed our kids to get involved, and I’d say that was probably true for most of the neighbourhood. Last year was also the first year we actually ran out of lollies (I’m resisting the urge to write ‘candy.’ Given that this, to me, is an American custom it stands to reason that I feel the desire to use American terminology. I will fight the urge for no other reason than it drives me crazy when my kids use American terms. Possibly because I feel guilty that they watch enough television for it to be an influence)
There is no denying that the celebration is embraced a little more with every passing year.
Woolworths media relations manager Benedict Brook says sales of special carving pumpkins rose 300 per cent from 2009 to 2010 as Australians embrace the Halloween tradition.
– Strewth – Halloween’s an Aussie tradition
I would venture to guess that the majority of the population have no idea what the history behind the celebration is. Kids just think it’s a quest for free lollies. Free for them of course. They don’t consider that Mum paid $50 for their costume in order for them to extract $5 worth of sticky awfulness from the neighbours.
What bothers me most about Halloween in Australia is the uncertainty. Some of the population embrace it, most do not. Australians don’t really know how to deal with Halloween. It’s like we’re trying to do something that’s just not ‘us’. We’re not sure if we should or we shouldn’t, so we end up with a bit of a half arsed effort.
I don’t particularly mind either way, but we Aussies need to decide if we’re in or we’re out.
This year I decided we’re out. It’s a school night, we have tennis and footy and homework to think about. In addition, I simply don’t want to celebrate something that no-one really understands, in a half arsed fashion. When I told the kids there would be no trick or treating this year they were a little upset. That is until I said I would buy them each some lollies. ‘Phew’ they exclaimed in relief. I need no further proof that it really is only the lollies they care about and nothing more. SO, instead of dropping $200 on costumes that will be worn for all of 45 minutes, I’m going to Woolworths to buy them each a bag of lollies. Lollies that haven’t been mauled by half of the neighbourhoods children, and guess what?… there’s a Scooby Doo Special on the Cartoon Network…