Trick or Treat? This Trick Is On Us

Trick or Treat? This Trick Is On Us


Halloween Pumpkin

At the risk of sounding as if I’m obsessed with Americans or picking on American culture, which I am so not, I want to take the opportunity at this time of year to talk about Halloween.

Perhaps I’m picking on Australian culture this time.

Ah Halloween. Only ten years ago it was just something to do with pumpkins, scary stuff, too much sugar and Americans. We didn’t even know what month it was in, or care. All we knew about Halloween was pumpkins with faces, the kind we don’t even grow here, and kids dressed up in costumes roaming the streets in search of sugar.

Now, it seems to have invaded our shores and there are Halloween masks and costumes in all the shops.

Halloween comes from the Celtic Feast of Samhain and appears to have been transplanted into North America when almost two million Irish people migrated there after the potato famine of 1845.

Australia didn’t have a huge influx of Irish migrants so it’s only now, with Australian popular culture having a tendency to copy all things American – let’s hope not – that we are seeing a rise in Halloween festivities.

Australia has its own unique culture and it disturbs me to see our kids blindly following American trends when they don’t understand them and they don’t make sense over here.

You only have to look at the Ice Bucket Challenge that made its way here during our winter, because the Americans were all doing it in what was their summer. I’d like to bet the Americans won’t be doing that in December or January.

Thankfully we don’t observe Thanksgiving and never will because that would really be absurd and meaningless to Australians. The idea of a day to be thankful has its merits – and I’m full of thanks because we don’t have Thanksgiving – but American Thanksgiving is, and means, much more than that.

So instead of the usual tinsel all over the shops in September it has now been delayed by all the Halloween paraphernalia, most of which is ignored by 90% of consumers. Some savvy markets have even started growing the large, orange jack-o’-lantern pumpkins, native to North America. Even our fruit and veggie departments aren’t immune.

What next, pumpkin pie? Why would anyone make a pie out of pumpkin? Pumpkin scones are more our style. As for canned pumpkin, let’s hope that never shows up on the shelves of Australian supermarkets.

Trick or treat? We’ve all seen this happen in the movies and in sitcoms but I’ve never seen anyone choose trick instead of giving in and handing over the goodies. The kids just say trick or treat and hold out their bags for more life-shortening, teeth-rotting, sugary rubbish. What if someone were to choose trick? Would the kids even know what to do? I don’t think they would, I don’t think anyone expects that answer.

Fortunately we are not as obsessive as the Americans about dressing up and bothering the neighbours, and I hope we never are. I won’t have to worry about random strangers in bizarre costumes knocking on my door and asking me to contribute to their diet-induced declining health – I live too far out of town.

Tonight there will be some people in my town dressing up and celebrating something they know nothing about, especially since Halloween falls on a Friday this year, and I feel for them because it’s currently 37 degrees Celsius and those costumes won’t be comfortable. Yet another reason for Australians not to bother with Halloween, it’s just too hot this time of year.

A happy Halloween to everyone around the world except those who don’t care and don’t celebrate it because, well, like me, they just don’t care (but it’s hard to ignore Google’s amusing cartoon videos today). No doubt the shops will be covered in Christmas decorations come Monday.



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