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It’s Halloween tonight, so stand by for trick or treaters coming to a doorbell near you.
Although weather in many parts of the country may keep little trick or treaters at bay, it probably won’t deter teenagers. We’ve had a mixed run of approaches to Halloween over the years. When the kids were really little, they would find some of the costumes frightening and we wondered the merits of tiny children roaming the streets at what should be bath and bedtime, to ask for lollies from strangers. It didn’t feel right so we said no.
Later on, as they got a bit older and more savvy that this could involve a whole bunch of stuff usually off limits - lollies, late nights, roaming the streets in costume with mates... they persuaded us the other way. But we contained it. Co-ordinated with neighbours, organised a small early trick or treat session, with neighbours knowing in advance and happy to participate, and with rules around how much sugar could really be consumed. Spoiler alert - not much.
Mean parents strike again.
But 5 kids is a lot to wrangle and get costumes on and roam around with, and there was no way when they were little that we’d let them do that on their own. So there was a small window where we would decorate the letterbox and fence, do the costumes, have their mates over, but it never felt authentically a tradition we could get behind. It just felt super American, cheesey, and over the top, not to mention unhealthy. Lollies from strangers? All that sugar? Yuk - seemed wrong on so many levels.
Once they got older - I mean like teenager stage, they wanted to go out on their own, their costumes got increasingly questionable, their motive seemed less sweet treats and more just hanging with mates. I have just never thought teenagers patrolling the streets with Scream masks on threatening to throw eggs at people’s houses is a particularly good look. Still don’t.
But I’m surprised at how much it’s caught on here, how big it seems these days in this country. People go all out – the parties are plentiful, the dress ups extravagant, the night seems to last a lot longer than one night. Many houses are already decorated, I see skeletons dangling from trees in people’s front yards, cobwebs adorning letterboxes and gates, the treats have been in supermarket aisles for a while now.
No, we’re not quite at America levels of Halloween obsession, but in some places it feels intense. I don’t mind the groups of toddlers out walking with Mum or Dad in an organised fashion, early, and causing no harm. But I do feel for those who live alone or are sick or don’t want to be bothered and have to contend with noisy teenagers late at night banging on their doors for something they surely should have grown out of by now.
In fact, in the US there's debate at the moment as to whether trick or treating should have an age limit. In some cities there, it's limited to 12 years old or younger only due to too many teenagers wreaking havoc. But no sooner do we have Halloween, than Guy Fawkes is here. A mere 5 days later we’ve got crackers and cherry bombs to deal with. That’s a tough night for the animals more than the humans I reckon.
But if we can get past monster costumes, lollies, and fireworks season, then next stop's Christmas. Next we’ll be welcoming Santa... can you believe it?
Where’s the year gone?
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