I’ve written about Halloween before. If you missed it, it’s here.
But if you’re already so riveted by this incredible piece of literature and can’t be arsed navigating away, I can summarise:
I can take it or leave Halloween. But I just wish that we as Aussies would pick a side.
So we’re doing this? Great. I have a section of scrapbooked Woolies magazine recipes and ideas for five years worth of whole-family-themed costumes ready to go. Bring it.
Or is it ex-nay
on the alloween-hay? Great. Hurray for the fight against childhood obesity.
The thing is, the
upward pressure is definitely there from those under 5 feet tall.
But when push
comes to 31 October shove, lobbing up to your neighbour’s doorstep and
demanding confectionary is easier said than done, given our current antipodean
And until this
year, this is what I’ve always tried to explain to our children/use as an out:
not everyone in Australia celebrates Halloween.
So when we
decided to take a trip to the States this year, the kids cottoned on pretty
Are we going to be in America for Halloween?
And everyone in American celebrates Halloween?!
SO CAN WE GET DRESSED UP AND GO TRICK OR TREATING IN
AMERICA ON HALLOWEEN?!?!?!?!?
….oh my, what have I done…yes…?
What I didn’t count on, though, was that Halloween in the US as an Aussie interloper is fraught with as much doubt as it is at home.
We planned to be
in Sleepy Hollow, NY, for the big night because it was in the path of our
general homeward trajectory and also because what’s spookier than a Headless Horseman?
So once we were
en route and the kids’ feverish anticipation for trick or treating threatened
to boil over, I thought I’d better do some research.
And the results,
fittingly, were horrifying.
falls on a weekday, some towns actually do their Halloween festivities on the
Saturday prior, which we’d missed.
apparently there’s a nation-wide push to move Halloween from 31 October to the
last Saturday in October. #therealissues
Also, there are
timing guidelines from town-to-town so that householders aren’t expected to sit
by their doors with a bowl of lollies until all hours of the morning – and –
those general timing guidelines are designed to be cross-referenced with the
weather forecast of the evening for maximum rain avoiding.
Then, Google led
me down a path of demographic trick or treating justification, for example: if
we simply wandered out of our hotel and started knocking on doors, it’d be a
while before we reached anything other than a petrol station, Dominos or a car
the town two towns over has a population in which 1 in 4 residents is under the
age of fourteen, so surely a hotbed of neighbourhood trick or treating
Or not? I’m so
And then, the
straw that just about broke the haunted camel’s back, the Google search yielded
a guide to known sex offender’s homes in your area, to keep your kids safe on
out. Too hard basket.
And yet… the kids
were so excited. And they’d put up with a whole holiday completely devoid of
any theme park action. We’d even stopped at a Walmart to pick out costumes –
Cinderella and a Minecraft Creeper.
How could I let
And this is the
real horror of Halloween – meeting your kids’ lofty expectations. It was hands
down the most stressful part of our trip to date.
In the end, it
wasn’t a white knight (or headless horseman) that came galloping to the rescue,
it was Hoff.
Apparently (in a
fit of genius) he searched “trick or treating near me” and up popped a local
mall, whose retailers were getting into the spirit by handing out lollies to
all and sundry.
So we headed to
the (gigantic) mall, marveled at all the brilliant costumes, and happily
enjoyed the trick or treating experience whilst safe, dry and secure in the
knowledge that we were perfectly welcome until 8pm, or until the lollies ran
night two in Sleepy Hollow was dedicated to the Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze,
should trick or treating turn out to be a major fizzer.
Simply put, it
was 7,000 carved pumpkins, on the grounds of a nearby historical manor (the Van
Cortlandt Manor), arranged into all manner of whimsy, from a fully functioning
skeleton horse carousel, to the pumpkin Statue of Liberty.
It was glorious.
As I stood and
watched a maniacal jack (o’lantern) in a box, spring from it’s box (made
entirely of carved pumpkins), it reminded me of the true spirit of Halloween –
the frivolous spooking of ourselves for no other reason than to raise the heart
rate and have a bit of a giggle. With a sprinkling of harvest folklore and
imagery thrown in for good measure.
everywhere we’ve been in the last couple of days, there’s been people – shop assistants,
hotel staff, medical receptionists (long story) – falling over themselves to
ply the kids with lollies and engage in a conversation about their Halloween experiences,
which the kids have loved and has been truly touching on the whole, I must say.
when you’re ready to take a vote – I’m in. Let’s do this. Vote 1 Halloween. I’m