Thursday, November 01, 2007

I don't get it....

Halloween, that is. I know it's an American tradition, but it's never been an Aussie one, and it's really only been in the last few years that the whole idea has grabbed a foothold here. Why, I have no idea, because--as I said in my intro--I just don't get it. Oh, I know the history behind the celebration and such--I wrote about it in one of my books--what I don't get is its relevance in today's society. Or rather, I don't get the relevance of the way it's celebrated in today's society. I mean, think about it. For three hundred and sixty four days of the year, we tell our kids not to talk to strangers, not to take candy from strangers, blah, blah, blah, but on Halloween it's suddenly okay for them to beg for candy off strangers? Am I the only one that sees the wrongness in that?

And yeah, in America it may not just be about the candy, but here in Australia, that's all the kids care about. Bugger the pumpkins, bonfires (which we're not allowed to light anyway) and the costumes, just give them the candy. We had several lots of kids knocking on our door last night (I'd actually forgotten it was Halloween until then) asking for candy, and there wasn't a parent in sight. Now, some of these kids were barely in their teens, and I'd certainly never seen them before. Yet there they were, knocking on the door of a stranger, asking for candy. Sorry, maybe I'm an overprotective parent, but there's no way on this earth I'd be letting my kid do that in this day and age. I never let Kasey do it when she was younger, and we knew just about everyone who was living in our street at the time.

Now, if Halloween was more like Christmas or Easter--a time for families getting together and having fun--that I could handle. It's just this whole walking the streets taking candy from strangers that creeps me out.


Anonymous Fran said...

Thank you Keri! I thought it was just me. Had a couple of groups knock on my door last night - most put out because I said 'no'. Again, not a parent in sight. I think the supermarket giants have some responsibility here - huge displays in my local.

10:28 AM, November 01, 2007  
Blogger Mel said...

I vaguely remember that we used to do Halloween in the tiny country town I lived in when I was little (like in the mid seventies). But yes, parents accompanied children. No way would I let kids go to strange houses and take food alone. I doubt they do that in America!!

And no bonfires etc takes the fun away. After all, aren't you meant to be keeping the evil spirits away, not developing cavities : )

8:49 PM, November 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Keri. I'm from the USA and all I can say in defense of Halloween is it's a tradition. We live in unsettled times where we repeatedly caution our children not to talk to or take things from strangers. So what makes Halloween the exception? I wish I knew. It is what it is. A night of dress up pretending to be something/someone you're really not and going door to door begging candy. I try not to put to much thought into it myself, it would make me go crazy. lol

A Keri Arthur fan,

2:13 PM, November 02, 2007  
Anonymous Gwen said...

Hi Keri - long time reader and big fan here. I want to be Riley in my next life.

I'm an American living in Texas. I'll try to give you some insight into what Halloween means to us.

It's the one day out of the whole year a kid can go to a stranger's house and GET candy and not a cold shoulder. One day they can dress up as something completely different (my daughter was Supergirl this year).

It's the one day a year a kid can walk the streets after dark and everybody is watching out for them. The one day a year you'll actually see your neighbors on their porches after sunset.

It's the one day a year a kid can get (and eat) as much candy as they can hold and nobody is telling them it will ruin their dinner (tea to you Aussies).

It's just an all around fun time for the under 15 set. I remember being a kid and just being all a-twitter as the calendar neared Oct 31st. Free Candy! Costumes! Scariness! Outside after dark! Wow!! That was big doings to me when I was a kid.

If you ever don't feel like participating, all you have to do is turn your porch/outside lights off. That's the indicator that no candy can be had at your house.

I'll tell you something, though. I had a truck-bed full of ghosts, goblins, and superheros that I carted around for a couple of hours Wednesday night and the one thing they got that excited them the most? Money. One of the houses didn't give candy - they gave quarters. The kids were ECSTATIC!

4:13 AM, November 03, 2007  

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