Halloween: The Great Divide


Probably because I’m more in tune with family matters these days, I’ve been seeing the Great Halloween debate pop up a fair bit. It is a holiday whose popularity is growing in Australia, but sparks divisive feelings between those who think it’s a good romp of fun for the kiddos and those who think it is:
a. Another example of American commercialism invading Australia
b. Teaching kids to be greedy “lolly beggers”

This post on North Shore Mums, “Trick, Treat or Banish” really got the discussion going and sums up both sides of the debate pretty concisely.

As an American who grew up loving Halloween, I almost feel as if I have no right to weigh in on the debate. I can see why Australian parents might be against it, and I certainly see why kids love it. But, regardless of how I or anyone else feels, based on the number of trick-or-treaters I saw  last year and the 8 year old boy outside the discount store yesterday asking his dad, “do you think they have fake blood!?!,” I think Halloween is Down Under to stay.

One of the most creative ideas I’ve seen was “Operation Orange Balloon” from Offbeat Families. I love this because it gives people who want to participate a way to join in, while gracefully letting those who don’t off the hook. Basically, neighbors are invited to put a balloon on their mailbox to signal that they are open for trick or treating business. As some of the commenters noted, this is especially good in Australia where it is Spring and still light out when the kids head out, so porch lights don’t work like they do in the States.

I did get a kick out of this sign for a Halloween party at a local school. Fireworks for Halloween? Only in Sydney!

This is the only picture I can find of myself at Halloween. I’m the hippie.
This would have been my last year trick or treating, and surely under the guise of taking my sister, the witch.
I doubt I was turning down any “treats” offered, though!