OK, so today is Halloween. (I’m a couple of days behind, OK?). I am completely and utterly bah humbug about Halloween. It’s not something we have ever done in NZ except for being used as an excuse for varsity students to get dressed up and pissed up and head out on the town. When I was a kid we used to mark All Saints Day and All Souls Day by going to church with school but I really and truly don’t remember ever dressing up or knowing anyone who did. And that’s great. It’s not part of our culture to celebrate Halloween. Generally speaking, it’s not in our makeup as Kiwis to knock on a stranger’s door and ask for something. We just don’t do it.
Something has changed. And I know where the change has come from. It’s not because there has been a huge influx of Americans who have brought their grand traditions of Halloweeen with them; I’d be OK with that. It’s because it’s a convenient sales opportunity in between Father’s Day and Christmas. If Halloween costumes, sweets and decorations were not currently festooning the shops, all that the retail sector would have to look forward to is Christmas. Currently there are pumpkin heads and devil horns the aisle over from the tinsel and Christmas paper. It’s enough to strike terror into the heart of even the most hardy shopper. The fact that there’s been Christmas stuff in the shops for about two months already is bad enough. My kids have been talking about Father Christmas and presents since August. Now I have Halloween to contend with as well. Today the eldest threw a strop because we weren’t going trick or treating. Like hell we are going trick or treating. We’re not even opening the door to other people trick or treating, let alone heading out to irritate our lovely neighbours with our own kids.
My daughter tells me I am ‘so mean’ because I haven’t whipped up a costume and sent her out to plead for lollies. Well, so be it. Mean it is. And the local trick or treaters best learn that too, because there is not a Halloween lolly in sight in this house today and there’s not likely to be one next year either. Bah Humbug.