Pumpkins and sugar (HLD 223)

31 Oct 2020

So Halloween has rolled around once again. Like Easter, it seems to be a golden opportunity for shops to sell gratuitous amounts of chocolate. And lollies (non Australians or NZers, we are talking about sweets or candy).

Up until the last 20 years or so, Halloween was something Americans did. We saw about it on television shows, but it was written off as something typically American and nothing to do with us.

Until, of course, the indoctrination of TV shows was met by the supermarkets desire to flog a lot of treats that would not otherwise be purchased in the month of October. It became the thing to do to buy a lot of chocolate or bagged sweets ready to hand out to all the innocent neighbourly children who had no idea they were doing something the adults derided as American as assault weapons.

It’s a difficult time for parents who are happy for their kids to go and receive free sugar from neighbours, while also being very aware of the ‘stranger danger’ world we live in. In our local neighbourhood the children are usually accompanied by a couple of parents who hover by the letterbox, trusting their children to be polite enough in their begging for chocolate, but not trusting enough of the neighbours who may take exception to the askers.

When we lived in the US for a while, it was quite eye opening to see how much opportunity there is for purchasing stuff for Halloween – not just the candy you need to have on hand for the beggars. Sorry – sweet innocent children. Who beg for candy.

Whether it’s the whole costume saga, or the decorating your house with all things horror related, the build up to Halloween is lengthy and very well promoted. There were pop up shops selling everything from coffins and animated zombies to decorate your front yard, to all the costumes you could possibly imagine. We did note that a lot of the costumes designed specifically for adult females were of the rather skimpy variety, and obviously not intended for neighbourhood trick or treating with the kiddies.

We haven’t got that far in Australia yet, although some shops have a selection of dress up outfits for the kids available, in amongst the catering size bags of chocolate and other treats. We have also noted that some shops sell the American style pumpkins specifically for people who want to carve them, although quite frankly we don’t see many homes decorated with carved pumpkins. It has to be the American pumpkins you carve, apparently – Queensland Blue and Butternut pumpkins just don’t look as interesting carved.

Possibly Halloween doesn’t attract as much attention in Australia because we are just heading into summer weather, and we have better things to do than wander the streets in dress up outfits begging for chocolate.

We have bags and bags of it at home anyway – just in case someone dressed in a slutty nurse outfit knocks on our door.

Or a cute little kid dressed as a zombie.

Whichever. I have enough chocolate for both.

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