It's Halloween this weekend and most Australians couldn't care less.
To a point, I understand where they're coming from. After all, it's a North American holiday and not every Aussie household is overjoyed about the prospect of kids banging down their front door looking for treats.
I have to admit, until I lived in Canada I didn't really get into the festivities either. That's all since changed. Over there, it's a massive event in which retailers spruik costumes, decorations and pumpkins for a month or so prior -- kind of like Christmas trees popping up here at Myer in September.
Everything shifts into fright night overload. When asked if we celebrate it back home in Australia I mostly answered with a "no", although we are aware of it. When the 31st swings around we might acknowledge it to work colleagues with a simple: "Oh -- it's Halloween today." That's about it. The local movie theatre might show a marathon of scary old flicks and you might get the occasional trick-or-treaters if you live on a kid-friendly street, but nothing as epic as in the US.
Starbucks starts pumping out the Pumpkin Spiced Lattes and people line up at farms to carefully select the most symmetrical pumpkins to carve into. The movie reruns start appearing on TV -- who could forget the Halloween scene from "Mean Girls" -- a perfect example of why costumes have to be scouted and chosen carefully. A simple "scary witch" just doesn't quite cut it. Girls go all out.
Over time I've noticed how Australians have slowly become more and more involved each year as costumes become more creative and parties more regular. If there are children living on your street it's expected that you might experience a few door knocks these days, so a few lollies are kept on hand.
As we approach Halloween this weekend, I encourage everyone to get involved in some harmless fun. I mean, we celebrate Oktoberfest every year as though we are all German, so why not Halloween? It's one of the best things to come out of America.
At the very least, it's a great excuse to grab your friends for a few bottles of wine shared over a scary movie marathon.
Just avoid anything involving clowns. There's nothing scarier than a clown.
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