Catherine StewartSPOOKY-OOKY!


 I use to rail against Halloween but now I love it. I’ve realised it’s the only time that pedestrians – and particularly kids – can now claim the streets as their own. 

In towns, cities and suburbs everywhere, the car reigns supreme on our roads, making them foreign places for those on foot. Even walking out to the front of your house can make you feel a bit odd, like you need to have some reason for being there, like getting in the bins/trash cans, or the mail. Or maybe you pretend to garden a bit, so you’ve got a purpose.

Try it – go and just stand outside your house and see how it feels.

Before cars ruled the world and most people walked places, it used to be that neighbours just stood sometimes, at their front gates, and chatted to each other. Or called out a friendly ‘hello’ as people walked past, without fearing they’d be taken as some kind of weirdo.

So let Halloween be your excuse to engage. Dress up your house and welcome the ghostly and ghoulish trick-or-treaters when they arrive for their choc-fest!

front yard graves

Halloween spider web

Halloween spider

skull gravestone

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Catherine Stewart

About Catherine Stewart

Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of 'Waterwise Gardening'; landscape designer turned landscape design judge and critic; compulsive networker and lover of generally putting fingers in lots of pies. Particularly mud pies. Original creator of GardenDrum. South Coast NSW.

5 thoughts on “SPOOKY-OOKY!

  1. I have to disagree with the community support for this fad. My mother, who was about 88 when it happened, was very frightened and confused when bright red jam was left on the white tops of her fence supports, an egg thrown at the front verandah of her house which oozed all over the painted brickwork, and screaming children rattling the front screen door. My house has also been assaulted with stink bombs because we chose not to participate in the event. I cannot approve of parents letting their children, particularly young ones at primary school, being encouraged to beg for the worst type of food. It is enough to endure the supermarket screaming tantrums of children denied a treat, without having the very same children being encouraged to be totally obnoxious for an event in which they have no belief or respect: it is a US import which is no doubt supported by every candy maker in the world. So, one minute everyone says we are gaining weight coupled with all the health issues that are involved with that state, and the next we have weeks of advertising pushing youngsters to abuse privacy, manners and property in the pursuit of the fattiest products available. I suppose the message will sink in when a defenceless door knocking child disappears into the waiting arms of an unknown paedophile.

    • Halloween is not a US import. It is a Scottish festival going back several centuries, spread around the world by the Scots diaspora, including the infamous ‘trick or treat’. Of course the treats used to be apples and homemade biscuits and shortbread rather than chocolates and lollies, and the more recent commercialisation of the festival has come from America. But then Christmas and Easter are no less commercialised and both descended into festivals of obscene indulgence and excess many decades ago, so singling out Halloween for that criticism is unreasonable.
      I have never seen a child, even mid-teens, out on the street at Halloween without a parent hovering close by so I also doubt your dire predictions will come true.

      • Well, I guess if there were hovering parents as you say, then they must have approved of their children vandalising others’ property. I was not aware Halloween was a Scottish tradition, I have never seen any association between the event and the country so that’s a real surprise. I know that Christmas and Easter are now regarded as a time for full on indulgence, but during that time I have never experienced vandalism of mine or my mother’s property. Pleased that Glenice had a good time, sort of makes up for others who didn’t!

  2. I just went to my first Halloween party in NYC – Arriving in the states on the 31st October I was greeted by my friends in full Halloween gear at JFK airport. No one even took a second glance at them as it is Halloween. Even the QANTAS flight attendants from LA had dressed up. Arriving at my friend’s apartment in Brooklyn I had my own Halloween costume awaiting me. We then went out to dinner in full costume, everyone was dressed up. Kids and adults wandered the chilly streets of Brooklyn trick or treating we then went to an amazing party where everyone had fully embraced the holiday. I loved it and it was so good to see everyone making such a big effort. Next year its a Halloween party at my place!

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