Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hallow-mean Is For The Haters


Hallow-mean: A word I coined to describe the mean things (some) Australians say about Halloween that are mostly baseless and have a bit of Ebenezer Scrooge to them. Every year of the thirteen years I've been here I hear some horrible things said about this really fun holiday. I'm sure there's enough material out there for someone other than Charles Dickens (God rest his soul) to write an Aussie prequel to A Christmas Carol, entitled A Halloween Pumpkin. (I better copyright that title before you do, because it's one of the better ideas I've ever had).

So what is it about Halloween that has some Aussies twisting their knickers and firing off bah-humbug sentiments? Short answer: America, and strangers. 


My Canadian friend Sage and her friends this Halloween
Why do we hate on America? Tall poppy syndrome. It's the only reason I can think of that Australians would get so upset over a fun, dress-up, and stuff your face with lollies' holiday for the whole family. I get it guys. I'm a mishmash of awesome when it comes to citizenship's (see About Me section) but I spent most of my childhood as a Canadian. If anyone has a reason to have tall poppy syndrome next to America it's an over-apologising, humble, agreeable Canadian. Right?
Well, here's where the haters are wrong. Canadians don't think Halloween is American. (However, they'd probably agree that the over-commercialisation of this Celtic holiday is primarily due to opportunistic American corporations but that's another post). Canadians fracking love Halloween. They go ape-sh*t for it. Everyone is out in the streets, lot's of houses are decorated, and those that don't go crazy decorating with tombstones and spiderwebs at least put out a carved pumpkin or two. Even the christian kids, whose parents aren't into blood, witches and vampires, will celebrate at church parties or shopping mall trick-or-treating. There's something for everyone, including costume parties for the adults. There's this magical, community vibe going on when everyone is out  and the footpaths are absolutely littered with families dressed up and walking together, or teenagers milking the last years of trick-or-treating before it becomes socially unacceptable for them to do so. 
My Canadian friend's Canadian friend has a haunted house beside her this year. There were 350 kids in 2 hours! You get the picture because you've seen it on TV.
Gordon Manor (mentioned above)
My Canadian pal Ty, and his mates dressed up at school
Okay, okay. But you want to keep going down the hate America track. Alright. I'm with you. Let's just get this out of our systems. But we'll have to do it in the dark because we hate light bulbs, right? They are so American, guys. Yuck. Yeah, invented by an American. So gross. I'm totally lighting my candles right now, don't worry... What was that? Sorry, I didn't hear you. I was just cancelling my movie date to watch the American film The Martian tomorrow night. Wah, too much NASA. Okay, I can hear you now because I've just removed that horrible American masking tape from your mouth.
Now let's re-heat our dinner on the stove and continue this conversation because we don't microwave anymore. (Yup, microwaves are American).
Ty and his friends out in the dark on Halloween
Tell me more about your new car's safety features that were made safer using a crash test dummy (also invented in America), or write it down on this post-it note. Wait scratch that. We hate post-its too. Write it on Facebook instead, but don't use your keyboard because the key layout was invented by an American too. I'd suggest using crayons but they aren't computer equipped yet, and oh - American, never mind. Maybe use your iphone instead. Nope American. Actually, forget Facebook because that was invented by an American too. I hope your new car doesn't come with a GPS because that's American. That's alright, let's bring paper-maps back. It's, like, so vintage of us which = cool. When our maps rip we can just put them back together with super-glue anyway. Oh wait, no we can't, American. ARGH! This is getting frustrating, but watch out for that snazzy 3 way signal ahead. Actually. Ignore it because it's from America too. I need some stuff from the shops but now I have to boycott them too 'cause - bar codes. American. Damn it.
Okay, so we scrap this car and get a Zamboni. Wait, never mind, American. We definitely don't need those ice rink re-surfacing machines here. I'm getting stressed so hand me a beer, but make sure it's in a can because I don't want to use a bottle with an American invented crown bottle top on it. Oh, gosh. We're screwed. But we hate screws. Why, because they were invented by Henry Philips and he's American.

Wow, glad we got that out of our systems, although I'm not sure I feel better. Probably because beer from a can is shite, and I no longer have a car and neither do you, and it turns out candles make terrible headlights. But now we've cleared the way to talk about hallow-mean and strangers. Oooooooh strangers. Apparently they are the scariest part of Hallow-mean. I've heard two mum's this last week say they aren't letting their kids trick or treat because they don't feel comfortable knocking on a stranger's door and asking for lollies.

My Canadian friends, the Lims, make door trick-or-treating a family affair each year
First of all, you don't have to ask for lollies. They are given. That's why all the grocery stores stock pre-made packages made up of tiny little bags of the stuff for the whole month of October. People know it's Halloween and give out lollies. Don't ask, just yell TRICK-OR-TREAT! You're allowed.

Secondly, the stranger who answered the door is only a stranger because you haven't gotten to know them yet. Besides all the sweet-junk and the fun costumes, this is what's so great about Halloween, the community spirit and together-ness. Knock on that neighbour's door you haven't met and say hello. Then take their candy, and waddle away and enjoy yourself. Halloween is meant to be fun. It's not oppressive. If you are scared about what lollies your kids are getting from strangers then dump the whole *pillowcase out on the table when you get home, and tell your kids no one eats until you've checked every goody. Throw away the homemade stuff that came from a stranger or the neighbour who can't get it together. ( Tip: Pillowcases are the ultimate way to collect as much candy as possible. Plus, no bag breakage).

Cinderella, Elijah and Hook Lim-b
Thirdly, walk with your child to each door and have 0-0-0 (9-1-1) on standby if you feel nervous. If you are wealthy and nervous then hire a personal security guard. Nothing tells your neighbour you're friendly and approachable than your own bodyguard. Honestly though, they'll probably just think the bodyguard is your husband dressed in costume. That's okay. You're still safe.

Lastly, and this has nothing to do with strangers or America, I'd like to end with a
public service announcement
for any Australian who has been swayed by this post to celebrate Halloween next year.
Any costume will do. There tends to be an Aussie lean towards scary costumes, but anything goes. You can dress like a baby, or a baby can dress like you. You can be an M&M, a bunch of grapes or a piece of bacon. Really any food will do. If you get over your fear of being too American then you can even be a crash test dummy or a Post-it note. The choices are endless. Next year, choose joy, sugar meltdowns, community, fun and leave the Hallow-mean in your witches cauldron at home. Snap!
My vegetarian Australian friend in Canada this Halloween as bacon

PS. If you are still hating on America after reading this post get off the Internet. Why? American.


*Linked up with Essentially Jess for I Blog on Tuesdays

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