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Hate Halloween? [with poll]

By Barcham - 31 October 2013 54

Debate abounds, is Halloween a gross piece of American commercialism with no place in Australian society?

Batman!
Popular meme bouncing around on Facebook.

Or is it a bit of fun that in no way needs to be commercial or American and what’s your problem with American culture anyway?

Robin!
My response.

What do you think?

I tend to feel hating Halloween for what commercialism has done with it is kind of stupid, you might as well hate music or love for the same reason.

But maybe it’s too much. Maybe you’re fed up with culture bleed? Maybe you just don’t want kids knocking on your door? Maybe some other reason? I don’t know. I’m not a cranky pants like you are.

Let us know!

Halloween in Australia?

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What’s Your opinion?


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54 Responses to
Hate Halloween? [with poll]
1
Watson 4:46 pm
31 Oct 13
#

Bring it on! I am all for adopting new traditions. I’m not American, but as a migrant, I always felt it’s a shame Australia doesn’t have a carnival-type holiday. An excuse to dress up and act silly. Neither does it have a festival that allows kids to go knock on doors to beg. I had both of those when I grew up and they were always real highlights for all kids (and some childlike adults).

I’ve heard the arguments against Halloween. The people putting them forward usually act like they’re really deep and the other side is stupid for letting themselves be brainwashed by popular media. I find it pretty shallow to not accept that cultures evolve, new traditions are started and old ones die a quiet death and if you ask any American 8yo about the origins of Halloween you probably wouldn’t get more than a few blank stares and “Trick or treat!” cries. Who the F cares where it comes from. Let’s make it our own. Carve watermelons instead of pumpkins, sell more Australian costumes (e.g. bogan, Ned Kelly and Mully!) and encourage more kids to participate.

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2
Deref 5:25 pm
31 Oct 13
#

One of the things that piss me off about Halloween is that it’s a harvest festival; if you’re going to “celebrate” it in the southern hemisphere, it should be held in Autumn, not Spring. Just another stupidity of adopting northern hemisphere traditions without any consideration of what they’re about – like Oestre, which is a fertility rite that should be held in Spring.

Anyway, I need to get out of the way. Xmas is coming and I need to start making my plum pudding, which I’ll serve piping hot with turkey and all the trimmings, for lunch in late December.

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3
Deborah 5:33 pm
31 Oct 13
#

For me it’s kind of like Christmas and Easter. I don’t believe in god but I’m quite happy to take a champagne picnic to carols by candlelight and stuff myself full of Bruno’s Chocolate at Easter. I’m not doing anything for Halloween tonight but I will next year.

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4
Deborah 5:43 pm
31 Oct 13
#

HerCanberra has a good article about the origins of Halloween.

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5
Deborah 5:44 pm
31 Oct 13
#

6
IrishPete 5:47 pm
31 Oct 13
#

Halloween is NOT American. The commercialisation of it may be, and “trick of treating”, but Halloween is a Christian adaptation of a long-standing pagan festival. The work Halloween itself means “All Hallow’s eve(ning)”, the day before the Feast Of All Saints. Both Halloween and the following day are celebrated in Catholic Ireland – 1st November was a compulsory mass day when I was at school (a Holy Day of Obligation”).

I doubt 1970s Ireland was being influenced much by the USA, so the pumpkin heads with candles in them, the fancy dress parties with an emphasis on monsters, are probably all original. Trick or treating I would wager is American, especially since the word “trick” in that context is being used with a different meaning than its normal use in Ireland/Britain. I discovered soon after arriving in Australia that “tricking” is used here to mean “teasing” or “joking”.

IP

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7
IrishPete 5:49 pm
31 Oct 13
#

IrishPete said :

Halloween is NOT American. The commercialisation of it may be, and “trick of treating”, but Halloween is a Christian adaptation of a long-standing pagan festival. The work Halloween itself means “All Hallow’s eve(ning)”, the day before the Feast Of All Saints. Both Halloween and the following day are celebrated in Catholic Ireland – 1st November was a compulsory mass day when I was at school (a Holy Day of Obligation”).

I doubt 1970s Ireland was being influenced much by the USA, so the pumpkin heads with candles in them, the fancy dress parties with an emphasis on monsters, are probably all original. Trick or treating I would wager is American, especially since the word “trick” in that context is being used with a different meaning than its normal use in Ireland/Britain. I discovered soon after arriving in Australia that “tricking” is used here to mean “teasing” or “joking”.

IP

work=word

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8
c_c™ 5:51 pm
31 Oct 13
#

It’s commercialism, it’s misguided (people say they’re celebrating and when you ask what, they go “huh?’) and it’s annoying as hell. Should be opt in, you want people trolling you, hanging something on your letter box. For anyone else, you ring the bell, it’s trespass.

If you want to celebrate the harvest, or the spirits past, then do that among those who are actually interested. What’s that got to do with trolling your neighbours seeking chocolate made using stuff harvested in countries where ironically, the lack of a harvest often causes food shortages, who knows? Maybe that $30 for a batman costume could go to something more useful?

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9
farnarkler 6:19 pm
31 Oct 13
#

Does it hurt anyone to celebrate Halloween? I doubt it. The reject shop makes a bit of cash and Clowning Around in Mawson does their best weekend’s trading. Perhaps a few dentists have an extra appointment or three.

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10
canberracath 6:31 pm
31 Oct 13
#

I don’t think Halloween *is* terribly commercial – certainly nothing compared to Christmas these days where the whole idea seems to be to buy as much useless crap as possible! Costume parties are fun, what’s so wrong with that?

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11
arescarti42 6:49 pm
31 Oct 13
#

I was lucky enough to spend a couple of years as a kid living in Virginia, and let me tell you, from a kid’s point of view, it was awesome.

The argument that we shouldn’t observe it because it’s American or commercial or whatever is bullshit. Santa claus, X-mas presents the easter bunny and chocolate eggs, fathers/mothers day etc. are all superficial quasi religious crap designed by retailers in other countries to suck money out of people, yet we still observe the tradition anyway.

Halloween has a better community aspect and is far more fun than any of those.

In the suburb I used to live in, the rules surrounding Halloween festivities were set by the local home owners association. Participating households would leave their porch lights on, and those who didn’t want to be disturbed would leave them off. Trick or treating was reserved for kids 12 and under.

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12
Woody Mann-Caruso 7:10 pm
31 Oct 13
#

I’m confused. Is it shallow commercialisation bereft of any meaning or a rich seasonal tradition so ancient and sacred it can’t cross the equator?

I guess whiners can have their low-fat carob cake and eat it, too.

/eats more candy

PS – the Batman defence is the first thing I’ve seen to top the Chewbacca defence.

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13
PoQ 7:26 pm
31 Oct 13
#

Because its beggary. Formalised, sweet-faced, ‘innocent’, but beggary all the same. Just like the chuggers and “…spare us a dollar, mate?” you get in the bus interchange. And to make it worse, they come to your door, demand a bribe. Normally you don’t hurl abuse at kids, but for this I’ll make an exception.

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14
Golden-Alpine 7:44 pm
31 Oct 13
#

Those that use the argument “It’s not Australian” do you therefore not get involved in Octoberfest or St Patricks Day??

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15
Richard Bender 7:44 pm
31 Oct 13
#

For f***’s sake, let the kids have a bit of fun. If you don’t want people knocking on your door then buy a block of land in the middle of nowhere and live as a hermit. You can always hide in the bedroom until they’re gone.

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