~ WHY EVERYONE IS WRONG ABOUT HALLOWE'EN ~ ...ok, so not *everyone* is wrong about Hallowe'en -- only people who live beneath the equator and think that spring's flowers and sunshine is a wonderful time to be celebrating... Death? Evil spirits? Pumpkins? Skeletal trees, mists and ghosts? UM, WHAT!
When I was a kid growing up in suburban South Australia, Hallowe'en did not exist. I remember once a friend and I put on cat costumes and walked to the neighbours' house. They had no idea what we were doing. My mother, who was raised in mid-west America (Indianapolis, to be precise) in the 1940s, has fantastic memories of her father carving Jack O'Lanterns and dressing in disguises to trick-or-treat the streets of Rocky Ripple with her sisters. She said you knew it was a "candy friendly" house if the porch light was switched on.
Here in Adelaide seventy years later, my mother still leaves her porch light switched on every October 31, "but nobody comes", she says. Yes mum! That's for two reasons! Firstly, there is NO TRADITIONAL CULTURE of Hallowe'en here -- i.e., nobody has a bloody clue about your vintage American porch light tradition. Secondly -- and this is where I jump on my pagan bandwagon every year -- IT'S NOT TIME FOR AN ANCIENT CELTIC AUTUMNAL RITUAL! IT'S SPRING, FOR CHRISSAKES!
Somebody needs to give Coles, Woolworths and Cadbury the memo. In the past five years, Hallowe'en has suddenly exploded into existence in Australia. There's crappy costumes in Spotlight stores and Reject Shops, the supermarkets are full of cheap plastic crap from China, and you can buy pumpkins. 100% out of season. (Any New Zealanders want to chime in? Is the same shit happening in your malls?) October-Hallowe'en in Australia is nothing but a commercial money-making opportunity for the retail stores. Sure, the kids have a ball getting dressed up and eating lollies. But do you know when they'd enjoy it more? WHEN IT'S AUTUMN. When the days grow short and cold, the nights grow dark, the leaves fall, the bats fly, bonfires crackle, and it's genuinely spooky. [cont’d in comments below]