Our opin­ions re­main di­vided

Shepparton News - - VIEWPOINT - BARCLAY WHITE barclay.white@sheppnews.com.au

Ev­ery year as Oc­to­ber 31 ap­proaches, you can guar­an­tee Aus­tralians will have the same de­bate.

Hal­loween, do we do it or not?

Sev­eral thou­sand of col­umn inches have al­ready been writ­ten about the harm­less hol­i­day that some Aus­tralians just love to hate.

Hal­loween was never tra­di­tion­ally recog­nised in Aus­tralia, but in the past cou­ple of decades the num­bers of trick or treaters has slowly in­creased.

But de­spite the over­all harm­less­ness of a cel­e­bra­tion of hor­ror and candy, there are al­ways a cer­tain num­ber of peo­ple who get an­gered at Aussies join­ing in the fun.

‘‘Aus­tralia is not Amer­ica’’ they shriek.

‘‘It’s a cel­e­bra­tion of sugar and mass con­sumerism’’ they yell.

‘‘What kind of par­ents let their kids knock on strangers doors and beg for food?’’ they ask.

Well I for one put my­self firmly in the pro-Hal­loween camp.

Like many kids of the ’90s my in­tro­duc­tion to the won­der­ful world of Hal­loween was through tele­vi­sion and movies.

E.T. The Ex­tra Ter­res­trial was a big hit in my fam­ily, but the first time I saw it I was cu­ri­ous about this strange cel­e­bra­tion where kids dressed as ghouls and gob­lins and trick or treat through­out the neigh­bour­hood.

But it was not un­til the four-fin­gered fam­ily from Spring­field hit the scene that I re­ally got a cu­rios­ity about this strange and won­der­ful day.

Ev­ery year, The Simp­sons came out with a Tree­house of Hor­ror episode, which helped plant the won­der­ful idea of Hal­loween into the minds of kids across Aus­tralia. One year my brother, sis­ter and I de­cided we were sick of not tak­ing part in this won­der­ful day and we got some cos­tumes and went trick or treat­ing.

Back in the early ’90s we were the first kids in our lit­tle pocket of Perth to try and make Hal­loween a thing in our neigh­bour­hood.

The first year peo­ple were be­wil­dered and amused, a few were even an­gry, but most seemed to en­joy the nov­elty of kids try­ing to do some­thing new in their neigh­bour­hood.

Once my friends saw the candy haul we scored, they joined in on the fun the next year. And from there it grew and grew.

So I never got why peo­ple have such a ha­tred to­wards Hal­loween.

It might not be Aus­tralian, but those same peo­ple com­plain­ing about the for­eign na­ture of Hal­loween do not com­plain about other bor­rowed hol­i­days of Christ­mas, Easter or St Pa­trick’s Day.

But what I liked about Hal­loween is that as a kid it brought every­one to­gether.

Un­like other hol­i­days with strong reli­gious con­no­ta­tions, Hal­loween was some­thing ev­ery kid could en­joy, no mat­ter what god they did or didn’t believe in.

It is easy to be cyn­i­cal about an­other cul­tural im­port, but if kids can get as much fun out of Hal­loween as I did when I was young, I am all for it. ● Barclay White is a News jour­nal­ist.

Trick or treat: Aussies are di­vided on the merits of Hal­loween.

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