02 November 2013

Freddo Frogs going begging here... my thoughts on Halloween

On Thursday after school I raced into Coles and bought bags of Freddo Frogs in preparation for the onslaught of kids at my door for the evening. Halloween - it happens once a year, and while I'm not a big fan of the event, there's no denying its popularity!

Halloween or Hallowe'en, also known as All Hallows' Eve, is an annual celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It has its origins in an ancient Celtic festival at which communities in Scotland and Ireland took stock of their supplies and prepared for winter.  The custom was taken to America during the mass Irish and Scottish immigration during the nineteenth century and by the twentieth century was celebrated by people of all social, racial and religious backgrounds. The customs have spread to other countries as a result of increased American cultural influence through American television and other media.

And don't our kids love it! The dressing up, the wandering around the streets at dusk and in the dark, the knocking on doors and yelling 'trick or treat', the collection of lollies, fruit, nuts and toys - it's enough to whip any child, large or small, into a frenzy! 

I watched all the children passing down our street from our kitchen as I was preparing dinner and wondered if they had any clue what it all means.  Our teachers are reluctant to teach about Halloween - it's one of those topics that's a bit 'politically incorrect'. Some years ago a school was hung out to dry in the media because a few teachers decorated their rooms and explained the story behind the custom. Parents didn't want any learning about witches and ghouls going on in that school. And even in our school we have been taken to task about using such topics in lessons. And so, unless parents are telling their children the narrative behind Halloween, all it really is in Australia is an excuse to have a sugar high!! I mean, we can't possibly argue that we are storing up for winter!

We have quite a high wall and a gate around our house and as the evening trawled by it became obvious I would be eating the Freddo Frogs.  It was wonderful that parents wandering the streets with their kids concentrated on doorways they could see and people they knew. I could hear kids laughing and every so often someone yelling 'trick or treat'! 

So really, at the end of the day, who cares if Halloween in Australia is only a chance for parents to spend time with their kids, dressing up and collecting goodies from the neighbours. It has to beat an evening in front of the TV.

Next year I shall make sure our gate is wide open so all the little witches, ghouls, mummies and pumpkin heads know they can staunch their chocolate fix at our door! Happy Halloween!

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