I always missed out on Halloween. I was raised in a religious home and when I grew up it was decided to be un-Australian to participate. Instead of shunning it as an American holiday let’s celebrate it for what it really is: a chance to dress up and eat spaghetti worms and jelly eyeballs.
Given, the original celebration(s) of Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve was actually about the start of the northern hemisphere winter so celebrating in Australia at the beginning of summer does seem out of context. But Australia has chosen to use the calendar year as a guide so let’s stay with that theme.
I love watching the little kids walking around my neighbourhood in their costumes. Seeing Tommy over the road graduate from what his parents dress him in, to his own creations. It gives me a reason to work on my own neglected sewing skills too so that I can turn my son into a dinosaur with just a green tracksuit and some felt triangles.
Ok so I enjoy dressing up. I often talk about cosplaying for the upcoming conventions but inevitably chicken out. Halloween seems like the occasion that even half-assed efforts are appreciated, nay, encouraged.
Christmas has annoyed me for a long time. First it was the religious aspect, and the mountains of tradition involved in that. Then there was the commercial side of it and the obligations there. Carols, services, gatherings, presents – it all felt so forced.
My husband pointed out that the common thread running through the Christmas celebrations was family. And with family comes obligations (because family equals love, right?). Hence why everyone seems to put such pressure on making Christmas perfect.
Halloween it seems is about you (so is New Year’s Eve but I’m getting too old to be drinking all night and nursing a hangover the next day). You can go all out and decorate the house, dress up your kids and make silly scary craft or you can keep it simple. You can buy things or you can DIY. You can stay at home and let people come to you, or you can go out and interact with other people who are celebrating. I do look on in envy at the Americans discussing how their neighbourhoods come together to create a little Halloween magic for the kids.
You can ignore the whole thing and not participate if you want.
Perhaps we have the level just right here in Australia – Halloween is entirely optional.