Crazy costumes and lollies. What’s not to love about Halloween? Yet Australians are still divided about the celebration, with most of us pointing to Halloween as further evidence we are becoming “Americanised’ en route to becoming ‘The 51st State.'
But for the Aussies that do indulge in Halloween fun, there are a few uniquely Australian Halloween traditions that have been slowly boiling over the years.
Orange balloons: Or red, or purple -- any coloured balloon will do. The general consensus is if you tie a balloon to your mail box, fence or gate, it’s a sign for trick-or-treaters that it’s a Halloween-friendly house. By Halloween-friendly we mean that there’s a home with a bountiful supply of lollies. In the home of Halloween, the US, people generally leave a pumpkin on the front door step -- or leave their porch light on as a welcome sign.
Buckets and bowls: Some people like to leave a bucket or bowl of lollies on their front door step. There are two reasons for this. In some cases, it means the family is out -- presumably trick-or-treating with the kids -- and nobody is at home to hand out lollies. It’s a ‘help yourself’ situation. Plus, it's an easy 'out' for those wishing to avoid coming face-to-face with a flock of ghosts, vampires and endless Scream masks. Serving yourself is an easy solution. The only problem is when ill-mannered children take the entire lolly stash, leaving nothing for others.
Water spray bottle: This is for the truly nasty types who hate Halloween so passionately, they will spray children with water if they dare ring the doorbell, asking for lollies. There's a legendary elderly lady on Sydney’s Northern Beaches who not only kept the spray bottle by the front door, she had a back-up bucket of water to throw over any children who ignored her cries of ‘be gone Halloween trash’
In Sydney Harbour the Carnival Spirit is adding an Aussie bite to Halloween, with a massive Redback on its bow -- it's two-storeys high (6m) and 10 metres wide.
A recent Halloween survey by Carnival Cruise Line found that half the nation is afraid of spiders, with creepy crawlies topping the list of things that most scare them -- well ahead of public speaking, heights and the dark.
It’s nice to think most people will get into the Halloween fun. Put it this way, anything that brings kids a little joy can’t be all that bad, no? Happy Halloween!