SIMON WALKER: The trick is to just loosen up

admin | 杭州桑拿
8 Sep 2019

Not everyone loves Halloween, but to polar bears, natives of the northern hemisphere, it’s a cultural thing. SIMON WALKER: That’s Life archive
Shanghai night field

JEEPERS Creepers, Herald reader Kent Gray’s letter last week about hating Halloween really got the social media pumpkin rolling.

In terms of issues that spark online venting, this was right up there with kids at cafes, banning the burqa and anything to do with dogs.

Kent, to summarise, basically can’t stand kids coming round to his house uninvited looking for lollies on Halloween.

He reckons it’s an abuse of his privacy, un-Australian, a ploy by business to fleece the “sheeple” and bad parenting that puts kids at risk of something nasty, possibly wearing a “Scream” mask and wielding a cleaver.

And I have to say, I sympathise with Kent, because I’m no real Halloween fan either.

One code-breaker in the cyber community suggested Kent’s name was actually a word-play wind-up – Kent being a variety of pumpkin and gray being, well, a colour, possibly of some pumpkins.

But Kent is a real person and certainly wound up as he responded robustly online to all the “social creative” types who concurred, almost to an avatar, that he was a Grinch.

Got to love diversity of opinion on the internet.

But again, I have to say I agreed wholeheartedly with Kent last Friday when I drove home from work.

I was hot, I was bothered and I was not looking forward to Halloween. In fact, I forgot it was on. I was looking forward to beer.

And so, as I wove through an army of what looked like mini-Harry Potters in my street, I thought “who was that middle- age blonde waving to me out the front of Deidre’s house?” (Names have been changed to protect the innocents in my street, whom I nearly ran over.)

Then it dawned. Halloween.

Alas, as fate would have it, HSC ended that week in our house too, and a party to end all parties (or begin, depending on how you look at finishing the HSC) was planned in town that night, which my daughter and half the student cohort of the region would be attending, with me the designated delivery and possible retrieval man.

Like Halloween, I’d forgotten about that too.

The moment I arrived home my eldest demanded we drive immediately to someone’s house to pick up shoes and a hair straightener for the colossal letting down of HSC straight hair.

The only upside to this delay in getting beer seemed I wouldn’t have to hide in the house away from the Halloweeners.

Like Kent, I don’t dig having to answer the door and be nice, particularly on a Friday afternoon tonguing for a coldie. And not just because I don’t have any lollies ready. Although that may have helped.

Door to door salesmen, Mormons or Jehovahs get the same reception. Talk to the hand.

Anyhow, without further ado I was back out in Friday afternoon traffic, consoled by the fact I wasn’t at home sneering at kids allegedly having fun, but behind a wheel doing so.

Kent is indeed right that someone is making money out of the adoption, right or wrong, of this tradition – American, Celtic or otherwise. Probably the confectionary and daggy costumes business.

There was a lot of talk online about where Halloween originated and whether we should ban similar foreign cultural incursions like Valentine’s Day, Christmas and KFC. For the record, I’m partial to the idea of brushing Christmas come November. I’m a little less stressed about it by February.

But Australia is open for business, right?

And I’m open to Australia. So long as it doesn’t block my path back to the house for beer after picking up hair straighteners. Which happened at least once on Friday.

I swear Halloween this year was the biggest manifestation I’ve witnessed yet. Kids and parents everywhere.

Australia is obviously embracing it.

But did it mean I had to? No, it meant I had to drop one of my kids off to the big party in town, and then go pick up another from, of all things, a Halloween party.

Yes, my youngest, like so many, recognises there is nothing to hate about getting dressed up and door knocking for lollies.

She also realises that time marches on and next year she may well be mistaken for a parent. So she took up the offer to hit the streets with her mates.

Regardless of whether I liked Halloween or not, I helped perpetrate it.

And when I got to the designated pick-up house, it was clear that everyone who had participated in the event had had a great time too.

Even the hoons that yelled offensive things at my daughter’s gang.

So, suitably enlightened, I accepted an offer to have that beer on the designated pick-up parents’ back verandah and ponder how it doesn’t hurt to loosen up.

It’s a funny old world when you can’t tell the diff between a trick and a treat, but in the end the trick about Halloween is to treat it for what it is, a bit of fun, until someone gets a sugar headache.

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