Is Halloween an Australian celebration?

Ananya V (Year 12), Contributor

The end of October marks one of the few celebratory events on all our calendars: Halloween. Coupled with the “Autumn vibes,” and pumpkin spiced lattes that dominate social media feeds as much of the globe transitions to winter, our little corner of the earth celebrates Halloween differently.   

I’m sure many people drive along, seeing maybe one or two houses on the street decorated with spiderwebs and other memorabilia. Still, stores seem to be covered in orange and spooky decorations. And on the other side of the internet, we see articles about the celebrity costumes for Halloween; the best, the worst and the funniest (read Alex’s article if you are dying to know whether your Halloween costume is classic, cringy or creative). However, those who are a little older may recall that a few years ago, Halloween seemed like a distant celebration reserved for mainstream USA. Yet, now, more and more people are beginning to celebrate the spooky evening that is October 31st.   

But even with Halloween becoming increasingly significant around the world, here in Australia, many people are still against it. A study conducted by McCrindle Research showed that 41% of interviewed Australian had marked Halloween as the “least significant” special event of the year. Even stores are guilty of not embracing the significance of Halloween at times. At many shopping centres and stores, I found minimal decorations that truly embrace the spirit of the time.   

When enquiring around William Clarke, many of them said, “We don’t do anything in Australia, and it’s kind of lame,” and “It’s a mainly American event, and there isn’t much to do.” On the other hand, some students discussed going trick-or-treating with friends and having Halloween parties. The clear consensus, however, is that there isn’t much support for Halloween in our immediate community, which discourages many people from embracing the festivity.  

But not all hope is lost for October 31st. Mark McCrindle, a social researcher, conducted a study in 2012 which revealed that Halloween is getting more popular, with 25% of interviewed Australians planning to celebrate Halloween. And 79% of interviewees reported that they would support Halloween by providing lollies for trick-or-treaters to enjoy.   

On this more positive note, Kiera F, a student at William Clarke said, “Halloween has the same meaning for everyone, yet everyone celebrates it differently. My favourite part of Halloween is getting to spend one night with friends while dressing up in creative costumes. We have a good time laughing and trick-or-treating at several homes. It’s that one unique evening when you can be who you truly are anywhere you choose. So, in the end, I think of Halloween as a wonderful night of fun that also serves as a reminder to embrace our inner selves.”   

Honestly, I agree. Halloween is fun, and everyone celebrates it differently. Whether you celebrate it by having a quiet night to yourself or by decorating your house and going trick or treating, Halloween is whatever you make it to be. Halloween in Australia doesn’t have to be boring or lame; it doesn’t have to be just the 25% of Australians celebrating it. Just as you can be anything in the world that night, Halloween can too; that’s the beauty of it.   

So, if this article inspired you to take charge of your spooky season, there are many great opportunities in Sydney. One is Halloween at Luna Park, where you can enjoy the park during the day or go for Halloscream, a scarier, horror-filled event at Luna Park.  

Centennial Park is also hosting a Halloween event, where you can witness some of the nocturnal creatures that live there that evening. 

Station Street in Penrith is hosting a Halloween fair, where you can enjoy the rides, games and food trucks. 

Or, if you don’t feel like creating your own event, you could always book a Ghost tour to enjoy with friends and family. 

What are YOUR plans for Halloween?