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Zombies taking over our neighbourhoods this Halloween

By Rebecca Vassarotti - 26 October 2017 7
child holing a pumpkin in front of her face

Spookyville: Halloween takes over Canberra’s suburbs, but do we love it or hate it?

If you have kids or have been to any local shopping center recently, you might be aware that Halloween is a thing these days in Canberra.

Halloween hit my radar a couple of years ago when my children somehow found out about this American holiday and started pestering me that it was something that we should celebrate. I was at best skeptical, and at worst hostile. I wasn’t keen at all to get involved in a celebration that seemed outside our culture and seemed to be a religious festival that had been co-opted by capitalism. I wasn’t keen to get involved in something that needed money, time and resources – more often than not on a school night in the middle of a busy period for family life. I was more than a little disconcerted about an activity that seemed to celebrate the macabre and the gruesome.

Having said this, it’s hard to disappoint kids. My children’s desires coincided with moving into a neighbourhood that seemed to embrace this event. One day, some fliers magically appeared that suggested if we wanted to partake, it was as easy as sticking the flier on the letterbox to enable kids to know they would be welcome to knock on doors and be greeted with friendly faces and lollies and sweets. Some whispered conversations on the playground with parents who were similarly being pressured resulted in bringing us to a consensus that we would give it a go and see what the fuss was all about.

Well, let’s just say one trip out and I was convinced! Overlooking the over-indulgence of sweet things, I am charmed by the opportunity that Halloween provides us to connect with neighbours in a way that we rarely get to do as part of our busy everyday lives. At a time of the year where we are still relishing the beginning of daylight saving and warmer weather, I thoroughly enjoy being out engaging with my neighbours and friends. It is wonderful to see the streets filled with children and young people having fun and exploring their neighbourhood. It is lovely to see neighbours who have moved past the child-rearing stage go out of their way to treat our children. It is always a pleasant surprise to knock on a door and discover an old friend or colleague who you didn’t know has moved into the neighborhood.

Since our first trip out, I have discovered that the fliers don’t magically appear but the unspoken handing of the baton happens smoothly as one family’s kids are more ‘in the zone’ of Halloween. I have discovered tricks like pre-trick-or-treat dinner can mitigate some of the excesses. I have discovered it’s much better when the parents wear costumes as well. Most of all I have discovered that sometimes it’s OK to embrace a manufactured holiday, as community connection can be created from the most surprising places.

Halloween – do you love it, hate it or feel something between?  What has been your experience of Halloween in Canberra? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below. 

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7 Responses to
Zombies taking over our neighbourhoods this Halloween
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bikhet 11:25 am 27 Oct 17

BlowMeDown said :

So far my experience of Halloween has been zip and that’s how I want It to stay. Don’t understand the attraction or the point of it.

In Australia the whole point of it is to sell stuff. In the USA it may have had some other significance years ago, but sales are now the driving force there too.

Shanemac01 said :

Halloween is not an American tradition. It is an ancient European tradition that pre-dates Christianity. Are you kill-joys anti Christmas tree because that’s a German tradition?

Maybe so, but we were infected with it from the USA – and after it was commercialised there.

dungfungus 11:09 am 27 Oct 17

Shanemac01 said :

Halloween is not an American tradition. It is an ancient European tradition that pre-dates Christianity. Are you kill-joys anti Christmas tree because that’s a German tradition?

Well Christmas carols have all but got the flick and that has nothing to with the Germans. Christmas trees are offending certain people so they are for the high jump too.
Next thing you will be claiming Coca Cola invented Santa Claus.

Rollersk8r 10:24 am 27 Oct 17

Fair enough if there’s lots of small kids in your neighbourhood and it’s well organised. However it just turns into an annual argument with our two primary school aged kids. They don’t understand it at all, apart from the bit about going around asking for lollies. Which I might add is no different to my (lack of) understanding as a kid. It’s just not something we do; for the simple fact there are very few kids in our neighbourhood and 99% of households would be unprepared for strange kids lobbing up on their doorsteps…

Rollersk8r 10:13 am 27 Oct 17

Shanemac01 said :

Halloween is not an American tradition. It is an ancient European tradition that pre-dates Christianity. Are you kill-joys anti Christmas tree because that’s a German tradition?

I hear the lollies weren’t quite so good Before Christ though…

Shanemac01 8:40 am 27 Oct 17

Halloween is not an American tradition. It is an ancient European tradition that pre-dates Christianity. Are you kill-joys anti Christmas tree because that’s a German tradition?

dungfungus 7:46 am 27 Oct 17

Millions starving in the world and some people waste a pumpkin to look even more stupid, all for what?

This nonsense didn’t happen when I was a young person. Who is responsible? I want names.

BlowMeDown 8:20 pm 26 Oct 17

So far my experience of Halloween has been zip and that’s how I want It to stay. Don’t understand the attraction or the point of it.

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