I get the Bah-Humbuggers about Halloween where Aussies are concerned. Heck, I used to be one of them.
Until we moved to Canada, that is.
As part of our “let’s hurl ourselves into this new culture with the passion of a hormonal woman discovering free samples at a chocolate factory”, we embarked on our first Halloween. And loved it.
Since returning to Oz, we’ve tried to keep our Canadian traditions going, not in a massive way, but just, you know…making a Canadian flag cake for my Canadian-born 2-year-old’s birthday, shaking a snowglobe on Christmas eve (even when it’s stinking hot over here), honouring Canada Day by eating a donut and drinking a hot chocolate (pretending both are from Tim Horton’s) and yes, when it comes to Halloween, doing SOMETHING Halloween-ish. Our kids, you see, have already experienced a real bonafide North American Halloween. If any child can do that and then proceed to life as normal, I’d sure as heck like to know how.
The first year we were back in Oz we made some treats and gave them gross names (chocolate marshmallows became “snow-poos” and so on) and invited our cousins over to bob for apples in the wading pool. The second year we made the same and invited some friends over for a brief but surprisingly welcoming trick-or-treat in our neighbourhood. Which the kids loved, but I must admit, it made me feel a bit uncomfortable.
And here lies the difference.
Trick-or-treating in Australia is NOT like trick-or-treating in Canada (and I presume, the USA). Because in Canada/America, where it is a big deal, the community gets into it. There are neighbourhoods where only the minority DON’T decorate their houses and/or put their lights on and have preparations made for the pint-sized trick-or-treaters (on another note, I was very surprised over there that dressing up has very little indeed to do with ghosts, gouls and scary stuff. Most of the kids I saw went as superheroes, animals, heck, anything!). My point is, it felt like a community event.
In Oz, trick-or-treating feels like imposing on people who don’t particularly wish to celebrate it.
Does that make sense?
So last night, we decided to do things a little differently. The kids were bummed when we told them we weren’t trick or treating. They cheered up somewhat when I produced face paint. And we got cracking.
We then asked them to go to the end of the house, count to 30 and then come knock on our door.
When they opened it I seriously thought somebody was going to leave their own snow poos all over the floor. Hubby and I took turns playing different characters, from okel to hip-hop to crazy old ladies and back again, each time throwing sugar their way.
In Miss 9’s words: “This is the best Halloween ever!”
I should state for the record, this was followed promptly by: “Now can we go trick-or-treating?”