Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween: Why I Won’t Be Leaving My Lights On

All Hallow’s Eve. It means something different to everyone.
To some, it’s the night when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.
In America, it’s Halloween: the night where stranger danger is put on hiatus and children can ask strangers for sugary treats. And now, thanks to television, it’s making an appearance in Australia.
It never used to be widely celebrated here. It was only a few years ago in Ballarat that I started to notice trick-or-treaters showing up at my door, asking for treats, simply because it’s Halloween and it’s done like that on American TV shows.
Last year, 2 weeks before Halloween, they showed up at my door, thinking that it was the day/ early night of Halloween. I sent them away empty handed. Then, the same kids showed up at my door, dressed in regular clothes and not in costume, on the night before Halloween doing their trick-or-treating then because they weren’t going to be in Ballarat the night of Halloween. Again I sent them away empty handed.
In America, they have customs on Halloween night to let kids know what houses will participate in Halloween and what ones will not. People can prepare for it if they wish to, or ignore it as most of us choose to. Due to its newness as a ‘holiday’ in Australia, the cultural norms of America have not been adapted yet, like a light left on outside to let people know that it is okay to knock.
Halloween, as it is celebrated with all its gory, plastic tokenism in America, is still in its infancy in Australia, especially in Ballarat. We can choose not to leave out lights on out front and not participate in the Halloween ritual of giving out cheap lollies if we want because it is not a part of our culture yet. Parents are wary of letting their kids go up to people they don’t know to ask for lollies.
I know that this year I will again be turning people away that show up on my doorstep on Halloween night simply because I can’t be bothered taking part of it for the sake of a few kids that don’t even bother to dress up in a costume.

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