We have been lucky enough to have never had trick or treaters knock on our door.... until last night that is. I was so grateful for having read Allison's post, and I, too, cheerfully and politely told them sorry - we don't do halloween. That was all fine, except that my boys turned on me after they had left, pointing out that obviously 'some' people do Halloween in Australia. Sure, but we don't, I explained.
Unfortunately to a 9 year old boy, getting dressed up in scary clothes, walking down the street in the dark and getting lots of lollies from strangers is pretty close to perfection. He was devastated that I wasn't going to change my mind. As I tried to console him, and as tears rolled down his cheeks, I thought that it is a bit like breaking a habit. People say that you can't get rid of a habit, you need to replace it. Maybe that is what I (or maybe we - in Australia) need to do. Instead of the American version of Halloween slowly creeping in to our culture to the point that it becomes virtually impossible to say no to our children, because 'everyone' else is doing it, perhaps we need to start our own 'tradition'.
Many people who commented on the post at Pink Fibro pointed out that it comes from a Pagan celebration, another person said that it also had roots from Mexican tradition. In fact, it is something that is celebrated in many countries around the world in some way, and is probably a combination of Christian and non-Christian traditions. Most countries around the world have a day or festival that honours the dead. Australia is possibly unusual for not having one.
When I lived in Sweden, I found their tradition of lighting candles in the graveyards that burn for a week (in the dark, snow covered graveyards), to be beautiful, sombre, and magical.
I'm not sure what I would like 'my' version of Halloween to be look like, but I am thinking of things along the lines of a sombre supper remembering the people who were close to us who are no longer with us. Sharing the memories of my Dad and my grandparents with my children, with good food, candles, soft music. Perhaps also dressing up in costumes (to keep my 9 year old happy).
What are your thoughts on Halloween? Do you think it is just a bit of fun? Do you dislike the commercial nature and Americanisation of our culture?
Do you like the idea of starting your own celebration? On your own terms? I'd love to hear your thoughts!