In Australia, Halloween has recently become popular, at least amongst children – what’s not to like about an occasion that gives kids a socially sanctioned reason to be out at night, wear silly costumes and put pressure on their parents to eat lots of sugar?
The shops love it too. Most Australians, I think, are pretty cynical about this imported commercial event – yet another example of creeping Americanisation. My favourite example of the way the marketeers have pushed it into our consciousness was the pumpkin I saw in Woolworths a couple of years ago, printed with dotted lines to show kids how to carve it.
Yet festivals morph and merge. Before there was Halloween (31 October), there was Guy Fawkes Night (5 November). I remember bonfires and fireworks from my childhood, long, long ago. I wonder if the rise of Halloween in Australia has occurred because nature abhors a vacuum? Continue reading