Australian Non-Tradition

Halloween is a lighthearted holiday grown from fairly non-cheerful roots. Halloween is no tradition to me, or to most people who grew up in Australia. The idea of Halloween has been dotted across my childhood without making any real impression beyond Disney Channel showing spooky movies for a week.

My Dad’s a bit of an old car collector. Different cars come and go, and some sit around when they really should just keep going. It paints an unjustified image of wealth; however, these cars might’ve been valuable in one lifetime, but not in this one. They jump from paddock to paddock, to Dad’s shed, swapped for a carton of beer.

Anyway, one year Dad bought a hearse. I don’t know if it was every used to cart real coffins from their funerals to their graves, but it had a huge heavy wooden coffin resting in the back, giving it that illusion at least. We didn’t have it for very long because it was creepy and weird. But this hearse was shiny and dark and actually in good condition.

The week or two that it was in our possession happened to fall over Halloween. There was no trick-or-treating culture in our town, but driving around town in a shiny dark hearse wearing Scream masks and freaking people out is a universal good time.

Only when my grandparents moved from a property out of town, into a house in a busy neighbourhood, did Halloween become an event to mark on a calendar. The first year, when trick-or-treaters knocked on the door there was a frantic pantry search to find a treat followed by a dash to the supermarket for chocolates.

The town of ‘no trick-or-treating culture’ ravaged our lolly stash and as the hot afternoon sun melted witches makeup and sweat through mummy bandages, we became the neighborhood hotspot for a cold drink and a chocolate.

The second year it poured rain, and the witches and mummies held umbrellas and didn’t let the water stop them. We were seasoned professionals, armed and ready with our sweets.

This year was actually a bit quieter. There weren’t as many kids running around, and I’m blaming the crazy scary clowns.

We ordered a pizza, and gave the pizza guy a chocolate. I tried to dress as a bee but a yellow face of makeup didn’t look the way I envisioned. We had a chocolate feast and saw a couple of kids, but there wasn’t much going on. Still, it was fun to make the house spooky, and an excuse to sit around and drink tea and catch up never goes amiss.

Australian Halloween is a weird adapted holiday, and it runs a few steps behind American movie depictions, but it’s always a good time.

Also, we’re sort of officially on a countdown to Christmas now, so who can complain? 😉


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