Hallow-e'en celebrations are becoming more, and more popular for Australia's youth these days, and it's ticking off a few people here.
But I actually don't think it's all that bad, and might even be good. Here is why.
The objections I hear about celebrating Hallow e'en in Australia are:
- It's a Pagan thing, and we Christians don't like it!
- It's just American Imperialism, and this is Australia, so stop it!
- It's not even "trick or treat" anyway, it's just "treat", there are no pranks (thank goodness)!
- It's light outside, not dark, so it's not even spooky. It's just dumb!
Well, those are all true statements, I agree whole-hartedly (except with the conservative Christians).
If we wanted to celebrate Hallow-e'en in Australia (which is in the Southern hemesphere), then we should hold it at the right time of year here (which would be mid-Autumn, which is in May) and it should be when the nights are cold and dark and the Dead do indeed walk among us — if you believe in that.
But, here's the thing: We're not celebrating Old Hallow's eve'.
What we are in fact doing is dressing up with our kids, walking around the neighborhood in the mid Spring evening, when it's still light, and knocking on neighbors doors hoping to score some lollies. Like an extended street-party.
That's not Hallowe'en. That's getting to know your neighbors in a frame of fun and social gathering. And that's something that we should continue and encourage, even if we use the "American Halloween" as an excuse for it. Because kids should feel comfortable in their neighborhood, and grown-ups should get to know each other.
We should call it "Hello e'en" and go dress up in silly costumes and get out there to meet people. If we use the commercialism around October 31 as an excuse then so be it!
So tonight, I'm cellebrating "hello e'en" with my kids, in my neighborhood. I don't expect the phrase to catch on, but hopefully the spirit of social connectedness does.