Monday, 4 November 2013

I don't do Halloween


I feel asleep almost as soon as my head was on the pillow last night. No dreams and woke before the alarm. No dreams hmmm. Where are we going this morning with PiBoIdMo?
I was thinking about 'Halloween' and All Hallows Evening or All saints eve or even the other Celtic/Pagan use of the night at the end of October known as Samhain and I came up with a title.
I moved into this house three years ago in September on the same day as the neighbours moved in next door. They have four quite young children and I have two teens at home. October came around and I had the older children knock on my door chiming 'trick or treat'. I looked at the child and felt an upwelling of exasperation "We don't do Halloween." I said to the child and sent him off. I stood behind my door and heard him say to his parents "They don't do halloween." and various sounds of disappointment. Halloo-ween is an American tradition which caught on in its modern incarnation in North America between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, probably due Irish immigrants who never leave Ireland behind and dragged along traditions that combined Celtic and Christian practices, which of course included potatoes and pumpkins and sweet treats, anything that looks like feasting, music and mischief.

Jack-o'-lanterns and trick-or-treating are fixtures in North America with parts of Europe taking up the craze. However in spite of every effort by the giant supermarket chains here, its adoption by Australian's has been very slow. Thank goodness. The latest batch of children are bombarded with Halloween images and story lines in their tv shows and I am just plain annoyed that we are pressured into adopting this bizarre custom. It is like me going to America and expecting them all to celebrate ANZAC and eat Vegemite on toast. It is an acquired taste is our VEGEMITE. Which isn't ours anymore by the way because the Americans bought it out a couple of decades ago. Then they tried some pretty ridiculous campaigns to change our Vegemite habits and fell flat on their face. The attempt to get us to eat Vegemite and cheese premixed in a jar has become modern legend in advertising failure and is taught in commerce classes as a lesson in how to fail at cementing your customer base.
Which brings me back to stupid marketing and halloo-weenie(also an American term) and politics. In the earlier practices of samhain which should be Beltane her because our seasonal changes are opposite the northern hemisphere but her lets just go with it for a minute, it was the night when disembodied souls could walk abroad and anyone out at night was fair game to be possessed. It was the night when demons were said to walk the earth and it was the time when the barrier between the dead and the living was at its thinnest. So I got to thinking, if generations of parents send their kids out on that night and those children are encouraged to be out dressed as ghouls and demons, devils and sprites, then surely it is asking for trouble. Did little Nancy have a personality change? Did young Ronald and Kim become the vessels for possession? Did they grow up to become politicians and celebrities possessed by demons taking over the world? moohahahahaha ha ha ha hack cough. Let me just line my window sills and door frames with silver and lead thanks and I shall stay indoors and read a good book and owe betide any little monster who comes to my door trying to change us into a place unfamiliar.

Hallooween will probably catch on eventually but for now I DON'T DO HALLOWEEN.