Our opinions remain divided
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.