Halloween – what’s not to like?

cover for HalloweenI think I’m going to put on my crusty curmudgeon hat and say “I hate Halloween”. I’m the sort of person who when kids come trick or treating says “your costumes look neat but we don’t do Halloween here”.

Why? Well let’s start with:

  • When did we start celebrating Halloween? Only in the last 10 or 15 years when the chain stores realised there was a buck to be made. Then they started promoting it like it had always been a Kiwi thing.
  • Allegedly it’s a time for kids to have fun but really it seems more like a thing for adults. They are either having Halloween parties and dressing up, or they are dressing up their kids.
  • It represents the triumph of American culture – Halloween is very much an American tradition which we have seen in films and television.
  • In many parts of the world All Saints Day is a time to remember the dead – not scary ghouls but real people you loved and who have died. The commercial takeover seems crass.
  • Halloween rituals make sense in the northern hemisphere where bonfires and lanterns are light against the encroaching darkness of the long Northern winter. Not so much in springtime New Zealand where the days are lighter and longer.

How do you feel about Halloween?

cover for Celebrating the southern seasonsAn alternative to Halloween which is green and rooted in Aotearoa’s cycle of seasons and cultural influences is suggested: National Green Day. Perfect for high spring: planting rituals like getting your tomatoes in, planting and enjoying fragrant native plants, harvesting the ti (tea tree), the return of pipiwharauroa (the shining cuckoo), enjoying the song of the riroriro (grey warbler).

Anyway grumps over – if Halloween is your bag we have lots of stuff to help celebrate the day:

7 thoughts on “Halloween – what’s not to like?

  1. linda blackwell 31 October 2013 / 9:40 am

    I don’t believe in Halloween,and I will put my Halloween free home sign on my door like I do every year.Its ok if they do it at schools,but coming around to peaples homes for sweets no way.Keep it in America.

  2. Juliet 31 October 2013 / 10:24 am

    Today I am wearing a sprig of green to celebrate Green Day, based on the old festival of Beltane. Thank you for highlighting the choices for this season. I will celebrate Halloween on April 30, in autumn.

  3. purplerulzpurplerulz 31 October 2013 / 10:30 am

    Having lived in the USA, it works really well there, rooted in generations past. So many people decorate their homes and neighbourhoods look great. But here it seems to be a fairly lack lustre thing. You get some kids trick or treating, but very few really, and it seems to be stuck in this half hearted limbo land, not gaining momentum each year, but not fading either. I think the retail stores are trying really hard to make sales and if they stopped, it would die a death. We rarely get trick or treaters at our home, so it doesn’t really bother me.

  4. Helen Palmer 31 October 2013 / 3:41 pm

    I’m thrilled to read your blog. I have tried to raise awareness for many years that celebrating Halloween at the time the Northern hemisphere does is completely inappropriate and really is a testament to commercial imperatives. Look around you, see the sap rising, feel the juices flowing, frolic round the maypole – because that is a more fitting ritual. The veils between the worlds is quickening and thickening, not shedding and thinning, which is what Halloween is all about. Beltane bonfires and fancy dress, sure, get out on the streets and party – but with ghouls and ghosties and pumpkins that aren’t in season?

  5. arijanarb 31 October 2013 / 4:46 pm

    Could not agree more, and it annoys me a bit that we have bought into it, and not the least bit because it is American, but because it does not belong to this season. It does not matter to me where the holiday comes from, I will celebrate it gladly. On that note, Christmas is a Christianised Winter Solstice, and we have it in the middle of summer…

  6. Gallivanta 31 October 2013 / 5:01 pm

    I like the idea of a Green Day and I am fine with All Saints Day but Halloween (in its commercial guise) and Guy Fawkes do seem odd things to celebrate here.

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