Saturday, October 31, 2009

Taking advantage?

Halloween isn't celebrated much in Australia.
Very rarely when I was growing up.
Then we've had a few 'trick or treater's knock on our door the last few years.

Now this.

Went grocery shopping earlier this week and was absolutely amazed at the range of Halloween paraphernalia on sale. Front and centre store displays. Aisles of the stuff.

First time ever I've seen that here...shops taking advantage of an increasing commercial angle to a festival we Aussies know little about?

I could google Halloween to discover its true meaning, but am very busy, so going to be lazy and hand over to all of you.

What is Halloween all about?
Why should we celebrate it?
Any special traditions associated with it?

Guess the cynic is me is a little creeped out by the fact we spend so much time instilling 'stranger danger' into our kids, and the dangers of taking lollies from strangers, yet this festival involves sending kids out to doorknock strangers asking for lollies?

Maybe I'm the Halloween grinch?
Please enlighten me. :)


Lois said...

Ah well, I celebrate it because it's one of those times of year I know I can get chocolate. Sure, sometimes I can get chocolate in between on off months, but Easter, Halloween, Valentine's, Christmas, guaranteed chocolate days. ;) And once upon a time when I went to school and actually had parties to go to, I would dress up. So now it's just basically a) eat chocolate and b) pass out candy and stuff to the kids that show up and hope that since it's good stuff we're giving out, there's leftovers for more chocolate to eat (see part a).

Anyhoo, it comes from the Celts and Pagans where they believed the souls of their deceased come back to the Earth for the time (because it was their New Years or the like). Dressed up to keep the ghosts from recognizing them. Instead of carving pumpkins, it was turnips. . . one actually did a trick or something before getting a treat. It was a vastly more holier than well, it is. LOL That's what I know in a tiny nutshell.

But yeah, there is a certain amount of trust that goes into at least the trick or treating part, but in the end, a lot of the fears (while I'm sure someone here and there has done something to the candy and all), it's more myth than anything. But all anyone can do is basically, if you go trick or treating, only eat anything that is wrapped and looks safe, dump the rest, or just go to a party or something with a group where you mostly trust who's there.

The actual meaning and rituals of Halloween are more than what I put, but was trying to keep it short. Probably failed anyway. :)


2paw said...

We're Australian, so we just don't do Halloween, except for the Holy Day of Obligation the next day if you're Catholic. I am quite happy for other countries to go for Halloween Gold, but it is just a blatant bid for cash from businesses here. I has a photocopy in my letter box saying that someone in my neighbourhood would be coming around for lollies. Who knew?? Not Happy Jan, and neither are some of my blogging friends!!!
You are not alone.

Veronica said...

LOL - Halloween in OZ?
Kids knocked on my door once...
Begging for chocolate?!! I only had handmade HAIGHS Cointreau chocolate truffles. Did they really think I'd share?

Caroline Storer said...

Hi Nicola. Wikipedia has a good bio of what Halloween is all about - basicall it has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Christian holy day of All Saints (apparently).

Over here in the UK there has always been an element of treet or treeting etc, but I have to say it has become so much more commerical these days. I went shopping yesterday and one full aisle was dedicated to it! From face paints to baby outfits if you can imagine. And yes people were buying stuff in their droves.

I don't expect to get many trick or treeters tonight. Why? Because I live in an isolated church house next to a very large graveyard! Take care. Caroline x

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks Lois, I'm actually kind of intrigued by the sounds of a Celts/Pagan ritual. Sounds like good story fodder...

And I'm with you, chocolate is good anytime :)

Nicola Marsh said...

Glad I'm not the only one, 2Paw. It IS just a blatant bid for cash here, which really annoys me as much as the doorknockers.

Nicola Marsh said...

Veronica, you're lucky, only once? We have quite a few doorknockers every year, from 5 yr olds to 16 yr olds!

And share the Haigh's? I'm with you, no way!

Nicola Marsh said...

So sounds like it's becoming more prominent in the UK too, Caroline?

Your house sounds fab! Imagine all the wonderful scary things you could do to trick or treaters :)

Lois said...

I did forget that point, that it's basically a gimmick for cash/gimmick for a party, but then, that's why people like it in and all.

Me, well, definitely have some candy around as leftovers from the treaters! :)


Lacey Devlin said...

I'm a grinch too Nic! I think it depends on whether your grew up with it or not. I am fascinated by the whole candy angle, there was a show on TV called Psych and father of the kid was a policeman. He wouldn't let them eat the candy until he'd scanned it at work for razor blades. If I wasn't put off before I certainly am now!

Nicola Marsh said...


The whole idea of eating lollies from strangers just puts me off totally.

Alice Anderson said...

It's amazing how different our countries are. My SIL had this huge party for Halloween. I've hosted them before. Games for the kids. My nephew wore a dinosaur costume. Too-cute-for-words! And the candy. Oh the candy. We just finished the last of it. When I was young, the only folks that lived near me were family... so that's who I got my candy from. These days the neighborhood kids come around and show off their cute costumes. But my favorite part? The decorating. :)

Nicola Marsh said...

That does sound like fun, Ally!