change of spirit

31 October 2009 at 16:25 (Uncategorized)

I can be a bit of a grump, especially around festivities like halloween. I didn’t know anyone who celebrated halloween when I was growing up in the 1990s and I hate seeing the Americanisation of Australian culture.

However, as Mum and I took the dog for his walk tonight I reevaluated my stance. Normally our suburb is fairly quite with the exception of the odd car hooning through the backstreets. But tonight there was life! We saw several groups of kids out with their parents stomping the footpaths. Imagine: actual people interacting with their neighbours! It was great to see.

We also commented that some of the parents and kids looked like they hadn’t walked anywhere in a while. Actually I heard one mother explaining to her daughter that she was too heavy to be carried any further and would have to walk—even if her legs were tired. Damn straight, it’s troubling enough that kids can only be lured outside by a potential sugar-high, but they should at least be required to invest a few kilojoules upfront.

So, I’ve changed my mind, I’m ok with halloween and anything else which encourages a little light exercise and discourages xenophobia in my neck of the woods.

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9 Comments

  1. avarine said,

    I didn’t observe any festivities of any sort around my part of town. Mum says last year the kids next door came around trick-or-treating, but none to be seen this year. Probably because she scared them off by giving them weird asian candy, months past its use-by date!

  2. monototo said,

    rofl, I think your mum might have the right approach.

  3. nimeton said,

    mmmm. I see where you are coming from…. and indeed it is good to see community and life on the street….. but if it takes sugar and American culture to achieve it once a year then i still don’t think its fantastic and question the benefits…. the majority of people i saw were really young kids with parents who are probably overprotective and refuse to let or encourage their kids out of the house the rest of the year anyway. Which kind of says something about the type of audience trick or treating appeals to….

    There are other events that encourage community…. street parties such as for the tour down under spring to mind and are probably much healthier and less indoctrinating….

    So, sorry but I think I’m going to continue to be a grumpy bastard on this one.

  4. monototo said,

    I wasn’t arguing that it’s the greatest community event available (and it’s a poor excuse for Guising), but it has its own unique qualities. Kids get to dress up, enter someone else’s property and then initiate a brief conversation (almost like door-to-door political campaigning really). I hope that they can gain something more worthwhile than just “candy” from the experience.

    It seems like you’re trying to shoebox the parents and suggest that they’re all overprotective. I don’t think halloween is responsible for our paranoia. Although some of the parents look overprotective the truly dedicated overprotective parent would never allow their child face such dangers. Yes it’s only one evening a year, but it’s a step in the right direction.

    Feel free to continue in your grumpiness though ^_^

  5. Kent said,

    It’s also a kind of harvest festival — think of the carved pumpkins. Do people realise that the seasons are inverted down here? Harvest isn’t for another six months. Kids should try trick-or-treating on March 30th. Makes a lot more sense to me.

  6. Ian said,

    I celebrated Halloween in England, it shouldn’t just be associated with America. To be honest, it’s pretty sad that we’ve let the Americans claim it for themselves. I say we take it back!

  7. monototo said,

  8. Kalindra Solani said,

    I’d just like to point out that hallowe’en is actually All Hallow’s Eve. That is, the night where (according to pagan celtic mythology) the walls between the spirit realm and that of the living is thinnest, thereby allowing strong spirits (faeries, newly dead people, Gods etc) to walk among the living. Gifts (treats) were offered to prevent these spirits from wreaking havoc and destruction (tricks) upon the householder’s and their livestock. Originally it was the priests and priestesses who would accept these offerings from the common folk, in form of a tithe to placate the spirits, bestowing blessings (among other things, upon the harvest) and curses along the way. Definitely not of American origin, but considering that it arises from the original English colonists, not surprising that they hijacked it in the public consciousness. After all, people focus on sugar, not history, and in America they no longer had the pagan belief system, just leftover superstitions, so the common folk took part in the collection and it stopped being a religious tithe.

  9. monototo said,

    o_O very well stated.

    Any ideas about the pagan (germanic?) practice of decorating trees with animal/enemy entrails to celebrate the winter solstice? I heard an unsubstantiated claim the other day that the glistening viscera with attached icicles may be inspiration for our red and silver tinsel.

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