There are issues that divide this nation. Which way the toilet paper roll should be hung. Whether the toothpaste should be squeezed from top or bottom. Whether the toilet seat should be left up or down. Okay, maybe these are issues that just divide my household.
But there is one topic that comes around this time of year guaranteed to polarise opinion: HALLOWEEN
Nothing brings out the curmudgeonly, get-off-my-lawn types faster than the mention of Halloween in Australia. In our island continent saturated with Americanism, suddenly there is an onslaught of anti-American sentiment. It’s an American thing – we don’t celebrate it in Australia. It’s actually a Celtic thing, but granted the Yanks have done a splendid job commercialising it. Then there are those that are concerned about the state of our children’s teeth after consuming their weight in lollies. To those conscientious objectors, I say “conscientious objector, say hello to Easter, I wonder if you have met.”
You may have already guessed. I kind of love Halloween. As a kid, I desperately wanted to trick or treat, but it really was not a thing back in the eighties. It has definitely grown in popularity and our street (which is peopled by little people) has embraced it. Last year we dressed up as a family, went down to our local shops (who hosted a Halloween evening) and then visited the like-minded neighbours for some more Halloween fun. We had a BALL.
Here’s why I think Halloween isn’t so bad….
The kids the adults get to dress up. I love a good dress-up. I wonder if part of the reason Halloween has grown in popularity is that the current generation of parents of young kids are suckers for a costume party. I am not sure what was in the eighties water, but there is a strong contingent of costume fans. My son’s school host an annual trivia night with a theme and you should see the costumes. Ah-mah-zing. So a whole night of dress up fun? I am SO in.
>> It promotes community. Last year we met a whole bunch of people on our street that we didn’t know before. And we are a tight-knit bunch on our street. I mean we even camp together. We now wave to those people and stop for a chat if we pass. One of the arguments against Halloween is that it is unsafe. I actually think it’s entirely the opposite as it encourages people to know each other and look out for each other. There are very few other celebrations that really allow for this.
>> It’s an opportunity to be creative and make memories with your kids. I know that a big objection that people have with Halloween is the blatant commerciality. I don’t like plastic pumpkins or scream masks much either. But I don’t think it has to be that way. There is lots of gorgeous Halloween craft. Who doesn’t like pumpkin pie? And how much fun is carving a pumpkin? It is an opportunity to create lovely things with your kids and it’s the kind of thing they will look back on and cherish.
If you do decide to join on the Halloween fun, here are some tips:
>> Let your neighbours know you will be Halloweening and that if they want to participate they can place a balloon on their letter box – we have a free printable Halloween Neighbourhood Letter for you to use.
>> If you are concerned about the emphasis on treats that rot little teeth, provide something healthy. Someone has to be the house handing out apples and dental floss. You might not delight the kids, but the parents will be happy.
>> Go along with your kids, meet your neighbours and use it as an opportunity to teach manners and confidence.
>> If your street is not trick-or-treat friendly, check out what other events are on in your neighbourhood. Our local library at Fairfield in Brisbane puts on a Halloween party each year.
>> Just remember, it’s all in good fun and every one is entitled to their own opinion …